50 years ago, Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party challenged the Democratic Party to embrace people of color as a core component of its electoral coalition. 50 years later, significant progress has been made, but there remains no institutional mechanism within the Party to monitor, review and recommend additional efforts.
The need for such a mechanism is particularly urgent today given both the country’s rapidly changing demographics (people of color comprised 45% of the Democratic voters in 2012) and the opportunity to forge a virtually insurmountable progressive majority that could enact the sweeping legislation and policy changes that the voters seek. Such change is not inevitable, even in light of the demographic shifts. Only with a disciplined and focused effort can Democrats ensure success at the ballot box. In fact, the election of a Black President may have lulled some Democrats into complacency about the Party’s vulnerabilities. Now is no time for self-congratulation.
If Democrats are to build a lasting progressive majority in America, we must rigorously review all of our practices and policies, honestly assess the nature of our investments, and put in place plans and procedures to harness the energy of the new American majority of people of color and progressive Whites. This report is a first step in that direction. It is inspired by the spirit of Fannie Lou Hamer and her compatriots, and reflects the widely-shared commitment of Democrats to carry on that work and create a Democratic Party and country we can all be proud of.
Founder & Chair of PowerPAC+