With the elections behind the Democratic Party, both nationally and in Maine, it is now time to build our operational capability, add understandable structure to our core beliefs and philosophy, and enhance our ability to communicate effectively with voters. Yes, we won a significant electoral sweep, especially in Maine. However, in addition to the excellent ground work that made it possible, candidates who carried the day on issues, and leadership focused on taking back the Maine legislature, we need to assume that some part of our victory was based on a reaction to Republican overreach and that party’s current inability to connect on matters of issue currency within the 2012 public’s mind in this past election. We ought not to assume our accomplishment is trend or permanent.
The determination to press on with party building for future success is essential. We need to in particular create a conscious public association directly with Democratic Party identity. We should focus on connections not only regarding specific issues but especially developing a trust to reliably govern well in the best interests of Maine citizens. And we must understand that we will not know we have accomplished that task until the public tells us the trust exists. Elections are one measure of trust but we need to pursue a common agreement with the general public that we carry that trust everyday. Becoming “of the people” to reinforce “for the people” is key.
The effort to become a reliable spokesperson for the interests of Maine people and develop a public conviction that our approaches to issues that exist now, those unspoken, and ones that will arise ought to be a central goal. While I believe our core approach to governance connects well to the aspirations of Maine citizens, that understanding needs to flow both ways. Striving between elections to achieve the objective of having voters, far more than activists and issue focused groups but yet including all, being able to articulate an understanding of what the Democratic Party stands for in the context of a positive embrace of the future should be the measurement of our goal. I want to sit in that coffee shop, walk on our Main Streets, and work beside people who can easily define us in straightforward terms and most of all answer that “yes of course” they trust us.
With that accomplished, we might once again see campaign signs that say “_________, Democrat for” Governor, Senator, Legislature because we will have transformed the Democratic Party into an emblem of aspiration and a badge of trust.