At Down Home, creating a political platform is absolutely central to our organizing. Why? Because our local platforms are what guide our day to day work.
Our platforms help us decide what campaigns we need to run, what local issues we need to be responded to, what political actions we need to take, and, ultimately, what local candidates we will or will not endorse.
Working on your local chapter’s platform is a significant member activity. Down Home members research, debate, create, write and ratify the platform for their local chapter. Our members know well what their communities need, have important ideas about what needs to change in their hometowns, and most importantly can represent their community values through this process.
Creating a platform takes a long time, but it’s worth it! Here are five steps we take to create our local platform, like the one you are reading today:
- Down Home members identify and research community issues. Local chapter members who live locally are the people who are best equipped to know what their communities need. Members meet to discuss what local issues are most pressing as well as use information gathered from community surveys and door knocking.
- Members research the issues and their solutions. Once the main issues are identified, local chapter members divide up the issues and each take one to research. Sometimes this is done in teams and sometimes local chapters will connect with other Down Home chapters to share their research and findings. Members research not only the problems but also potential solutions to these problems.
- Chapter members reconvene to create platform planks. Each plank is a separate issue that they need to identify. Chapter members work together to write up their issue based planks.
- Once the planks are written, the members bring the platform back to the larger chapter for a vote.
- Once ratified, Down Home members use their local platform to guide their work and decisions for the year. The platform is distributed to the local community and to candidates seeking Down Home’s endorsement in local elections.