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Observations on No Labels launch event from Debilyn Molineaux

I asked Debilyn Molineaux if I could share her write-up about Monday’s No Labels Launch Event with NCDDers.  Debilyn attended NCDD’s regional gathering in Portland this fall, and is co-founder of Changing the Game.

Download her 5-page pdf report here. You can also download the packet of materials from the event here.

Those of you in Portland may want to note that Debilyn is hosting a meet-up on January 13th in Portland and has been contacted by Sue Castner, who is the Oregon organizer for No Labels. Castner is politically connected in Oregon with U.S. Senator Wyden and Governor-elect Kitzhaber.

Here’s some text from Debilyn’s conclusion:

I believe the No Label founders are sincere in their efforts to move our country forward, past hyper-partisanship towards solutions. There were many references to the not-so-distant past when politicians would debate and fight during the day, yet dine together or be collegial after work. When the focus was on serving the American people instead of the party agenda and winning meant doing the right thing instead of blocking the other side.

Without slipping into nostalgia, the speakers of the day tapped into the frustration and hope of the people who traveled to New York and told their stories. They asked for help and assistance. Everyone admitted they don’t have the answers by themselves.

The No Labels main solution was simple. Mobilize everyone who would prefer solutions to stonewalling.  Ask them/us to support elected officials who collaborate, find common ground and act with civility with votes, phone calls, meetings and money. Be visible. Meet-up with each other so no one feels alone. The challenge is that those in attendance did not hear this solution or call to action. I suspect most everyone in the room is already politically active and meeting with people, so there was a sense of “I’m already doing my part” and “this isn’t the solution or silver bullet we want.”

What gave great energy to the Tea Party was the Tea Party message spoke to those who had never been active before. It caused them to set aside their lives and move together to make their voices heard. If the No Labels movement is taken up by the inactive or disenfranchised who want political civility and are willing to stand for it, then No Labels has a chance of going viral. Our support at this point is crucial. Sitting back to see if they are successful will insure the failure. Even with the support of the existing transpartisan and bridge building community, success is not assured.

Other proposed solutions were more ornery. Reform our electoral process through “fair” redistricting and get a handle on money in politics. The challenge of hyper-partisan media was left as an unsolvable problem. (Although I might suggest that if we all stopped watching, it would go away.)

What would make No Label great?

  • Participation and support by existing bridge building organizations, groups and individuals.
  • Broad-based support from social, political, and pragmatic groups or people who want solutions in government.
  • Obvious, recognizable and effective leadership style.
  • Guidelines for meet-ups to download, if wanted by local organizers [Changing the Game ready to provide this and reaching out to No Labels]
  • Provide space to connect. This may be happening online, in which case invitations to the website need to be sent out OFTEN, to remind people to connect.
  • Person-Person connections through conference calls, organization sponsored meet-ups to continue building of the movement in key areas.
  • Transparency of finances rumored $1.000,000 raised to date. Known contributors are: Loews Corp. co-chair Andrew Tisch, Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich. and ex-Facebook executive Dave Morin. Amounts contributed are undisclosed.
  • System of measurement and broadcast to members towards stated goals. [may be in works, not clear]
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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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