STATE WIDE–Many political scientists believe that the best political system is one with two healthy parties. In Indiana the Democratic Party has not had much success recently in state-wide elections, and outside of urban areas like Indianapolis, Ft. Wayne, Bloomington or South Bend, has not had a lot of success running local candidates.
With training, the party hopes to turn that around.
“Indiana is not gonna turn blue overnight,” said Kelly Dietrich, Chairman and CEO of the National Democratic Training Committee, an organization that trains Democratic candidates on how to run for office.
Dietrich tells IndyPolitics he believes that success of a political party shouldn’t be measured so much on the success of the last election, but rather on the five-year plan that includes building relationships with people in the community and making sure that Democrats know the people who may potentially be running for office.
“If Democrats are going to create long-term change, we need to empower the people at the local level who are willing to do the work, who are willing to go door to door in their communities and run for school board, run for city council, run for state rep.”
Dietrich said those races may not be the “sexy” state-wide ones, but long-term success means reaching short-term goals first of having more Democrats in those local offices.
“It’s traditionally a very red state, with pockets of blue, that is changing,” said Dietrich. “You have, like the rest of the country, a Republican Party that has absolutely transformed the past five or six years, that has completely left anything close to moderation, or I would say common sense, behind.”
Dietrich said he believes the state Democratic Party can sway moderate Republicans and at the same time reach timid Democrats, by building relationships.
“We all know that the Republican Party is gonna attack us. They’re gonna call us socialists and fascists without even realizing those are two separate things. They’re gonna say we kick puppies,” he said. “They’re gonna try to make this image of elite, coastal liberals who want to come in and take your money and give it to people who don’t look like you. That image is much more difficult to create when you have someone from your community who knocks on your door.”
Dietrich believes that as many as three or four people out of ten, even in rural areas in Indiana, or “the reddest counties”, share ideals with Democrats.