Local Democratic parties are confronting a problem in the Trump era that is as confounding as it is unexpected: space.
All across the country, party meetings that had once been sleepy affairs, dominated by Robert’s Rules of Order and a handful of graying activists, have become standing room only. The overflowing crowds have sent stunned party regulars scrambling to find new venues, while the surge in interest, and the coinciding fundraising boost, is enabling local chapters to hire staff and build infrastructure in previously unthinkable ways. On the national level, Democratic politicians have been rushing to respond to the sudden outpouring.
“I’m as busy this year as I was at any time last year in the heat of a huge election,” said Mark Fraley, chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Party in Indiana.
WFHB: Election Day 2016 has come and gone! As we are still sorting through the impact of the results, many (not just in the African American community) have been left with a feeling of bewilderment with the national and statewide outcomes. On this episode of Bring It On, We have invited Monroe County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Fraley to come on and help us with the recap of that day’s results.Read more
Herald-Times: There was not a seat to be had as dozens of people gathered at the Monroe County Courthouse at noon Sunday for the swearing-in ceremony for elected officials who took office the first day of 2017.Read more
Herald-Times: Monroe County political party leaders won’t be taking the year off, despite there being no elections in 2017.Read more
Herald Times: Though voter turnout this fall didn’t break records from 2008, local party leaders said it still was good.Read more
Indiana Business Journal: Did Indiana Democrats get caught up in a Donald Trump tsunami in this election or did they simply fail to pick progressive candidates who could tap into the frustrations of working-class voters?Read more
Like many of you, I’m still trying to process what happened last night. Those of us who spent months and years fighting for an inclusive America were met with a moment that most of us found implausible and unpalatable. Today, we are in mourning. There is an undeniable dint of desperation in the hearts of those who have otherwise been energized and inspired by the promise of a more just, equitable world.
Searching for a silver lining in the midst of all this insanity seems like an insufferable task. Yet, if there is one to be found, we need to look no further than our own community. Despite the onslaught of indecency we’ve endured from the state and national electorate, Monroe County remains a community committed to care. At the leadership of the Mayor, City Council, and common citizens, the City of Bloomington is welcoming refugees from a war-torn nation into our Indiana home. Elected leaders on the local level have worked diligently to create and enact laws protecting its citizens from discrimination. We have a network of non-profits, churches, and public institutions that build sanctuaries of kindness in a world that confuses bigotry for greatness.
These are some of the many reasons why Democrats won every single one of our local elections last night. Our newly elected and re-elected leaders deserve credit for their hard work and sacrifice and congratulations on their victories. We wish them well as they bear the burdens of governing in an environment that is defined by division.
So as we grieve for our state and nation, we can take some solace in what we have accomplished as a community. It is clear that too many of our fellow countrymen have become dislocated from that sense of community. The result of that dislocation is anger, disorientation, and retrenchment into the false comforts of identity.
As tough as it might be, communities like ours have to turn our anguish into action. We have to build out from our own local example so that aspiring citizens are not denied a place in Donald Trump’s America; to empower victims of sexual assault whose abusers are emboldened by a braggart in the oval office; to stand by every unquestionably qualified woman whose flaws are embellished for the benefit of a man whose defects are diminished.
For now, we can take a moment for reflection, to get a deeper understanding of the currents of resentment that have gripped our nation. But then, we need to double down on organization and mobilization. We have a country to reclaim.
Mark Fraley, Democratic Party Chair
Herald Times: With several county offices on the ballot this election, some local races are less predictable than others as Election Day nears, according to party chairmen.Read more
Indiana Daily Student: With the election quickly approaching Tuesday, local campaigning has not slowed down.Read more
Herald Times: With three more days of early voting to go, Monroe County already has eclipsed its previous record for early ballots cast in person.Read more