Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin is set to take a leadership position with the House Democrats’ campaign arm, becoming the first organizing chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Raskin, a progressive who represents suburban Maryland and served as lead prosecutor in President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, will help shape the party’s terrain and digital organizing strategies as Democrats attempt to turn history around and retain a slim majority of the House through the 2022 mid-term.
The DCCC is partnering with Raskin to massively expand its summer democracy program, as part of a reorganization of the committee’s organizational efforts. Its goals include integrating traditional fieldwork with digital campaign lessons learned from the 2020 cycle when COVID-19 restricted in-person campaigning, as well as focusing on long-term goals rather than electoral victories. short term.
“I sort of make a distinction between organizing and mobilizing,” Raskin told HuffPost in an interview. “I think the party has been successful in getting people to vote, but organizing is more of a long-term, sustainable community engagement that builds great power over a period of time.
As part of this plan, the DCCC is transferring all of its field staff, mobilization staff and parts of its digital and voter protection teams under the aegis of a new organization department, led by the veteran of the Pavitra Abraham committee. The goal is to make the committee – which has traditionally focused first and foremost on fundraising and broadcast TV ads – more involved in building the ranks and skills of Democratic organizers.
“We’re taking a much more holistic approach,” Abraham said. “We are talking about strengthening long-term infrastructure, building skills, building pipelines. We are trying to be less siled and more integrated. ”
I think the party has been successful in getting people to vote, but the organization is more of a lasting, long-term community engagement that builds great power over a period of time.
Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Md.)
The Democracy Summer Program, which Raskin has run as part of his own campaign since he was in the state legislature, combines educational sessions on the history of social change in America with two days a week organizational work in the field in the home states of the fellows. or districts. (A letter Raskin wrote to his colleagues in the House inviting them to participate indicated that the fellows would receive a “modest stipend.”)
More than 1,000 high school and college students in the mid-Atlantic region have participated in Raskin’s program, and the DCCC said several campaigns have already expressed interest in the national version.
“It turned into something huge,” Raskin said. “It speaks to people’s desire to make politics a much more thoughtful and educational thing.”
Some Democrats questioned the party’s decision to drop the organization in person during the pandemic, arguing that the lack of direct contact with voters inhibited the party and contributed to Democratic losses in multiple House contests.
“COVID-19 has definitely hampered the Democratic Party’s efforts because we are a party that thrives on face-to-face contact,” Raskin said, while noting that it is uncertain whether specific losses could be attributed to the decision to limit canvassing. “It was difficult for us.”
Raskin joins Texas Representative Vice Chairs Marc Veasey and California Representatives Ami Bera and Linda Sanchez, and New York Representative Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney on the committee leadership team .
Democrats have a slim 219-211 majority in the House, and while the political battlefield is not set until states draw district lines later this year, the party that has lost power in Washington, DC, has historically won dozens of seats in the midterm elections.
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