In this time of disillusionment, deadlock, and despair, it is tempting for many to do something quickly and angrily – to defect from the democratic process, demonstrate in the streets, and topple our institutions. Others have started papering over our problems, pretending that "This is fine," as if wishing could make it so. We believe in a middle path between Denial and Revolution. We believe in Reform. Through the careful, planned, and judicious exercise of power, we can revive in our institutions that spirit of tolerance, fairness, and wisdom that saw us strive together for an ever more perfect union.
The Reform Democrats believe that our institutions need to be rethought and revitalized for a new, complex, and uncertain world. We founded the Bard Democrats following a model of democracy, pluralism, tolerance, and frank discourse. We will fight every day to defend these values in our party and republic.
At a glance
Equality: Our guiding star
Free society is founded on the principle that all people are created equal. We fight for equal access to democracy, justice, opportunity, speech, and happiness. We believe that nobody should be submitted to a double standard, and that we should all be judged based our merits, actions, and ideas – not on who we happen to be.
- Leadership for tomorrow: We believe in involving as many voices as possible. We weigh individual candidates based on their competences and ability to contribute to the team. Reform is proud that this policy produced a cabinet that was equal along gender lines and home to great diversity. We look forward to involving even more people next semester.
Engagement: how we can exercise real power
We believe that the only way politicians will listen to us is if we use our untapped political power wisely and judiciously. We are 2,371 students in a town where votes are won and lost by a margin as low as 300. At the county level, that number is 2,000. In our Congressional District, 20,000. We are in a highly competitive part of the country. If we organize, network, and mobilize to turn out the college vote for Democratic candidates at the local, state, and federal level, we can lobby these officials to respond to our concerns and priorities. They'll listen to us if we're the reason they got elected.
- Professional organizing: Our leaders are veteran political organizers, bringing experience and professionalism to our operation. We believe that the Bard Democrats must speak from its heart, but fight with its head. With a clear understanding of the political map, experience in the mechanics of organizing, a clear strategy, and a willingness to compromise, we can achieve real progressive change.
- Alliances with local Democrats: During the Spring 2017 cabinet, Reform established warm and reciprocal relationships with the Red Hook and Dutchess County Democratic Committees. They have been very willing to help us lobby local leaders on issues we care about, and have even voted a Bard Democrat onto their committee. Reform would continue these alliances as key to obtaining the change we seek.
- Home of the Revolution: The Bard Democrats represent a revolution in how college Democrat chapters are organized and led. Reform would take this revolution a step further and export it to other college campuses and high schools. This would allow the Bard Democrats to take a leading role among college chapters in the East Region, and multiply the number of voters and organizers we can mobilize.
pluralism: this is how we lead
Diversity of all kinds makes the Democratic Party stronger, including in the realm of ideas and ideology. We founded the Bard Democrats based on an ethic of pluralism, frank discourse, and tolerance of difference. Getting more voices involved from all walks of life can only help us – increasing our reach, our numbers, and the quality of our ideas. We believe in persuasion, not coercion; in unite and lead, not divide and conquer; in harnessing the incredible power of difference, not in enforcing ideological purity. We lead based on what unites us and seek equitable compromises wherever possible.
- Coalition leadership: We lead through the assembling of coalitions rather than the spoils system. Rather than governing from a single point of view, we will actively seek out the ideas, advice, and concerns of the whole organization. Our goal is to govern in collaboration with others, not in opposition.
reform: the way forward
In this time of disillusionment, deadlock, and despair, it is tempting for many to do something quickly and angrily – to defect from the democratic process, demonstrate in the streets, and topple our institutions. Others have started papering over our problems, pretending that "This is fine," as if wishing could make it so. We believe in a middle path between Denial and Revolution. We believe in Reform. Through the careful, planned, and judicious exercise of power, we can revive in our institutions that spirit of tolerance, fairness, and wisdom that saw us strive together for an ever more perfect union for centuries.
- A Polling Place at Bard: For years, Dutchess County Republicans have stonewalled the addition of a polling place on campus for one obvious reason: Bard students have a tendency to vote Democrat. Reform would make it a priority to make it easier for Bard students to vote, including by lobbying for a polling place on campus.
- Make Election Day a school holiday: It is absurd that Americans should have to choose between exercising their civic duty and losing their jobs, between exerting agency over the destiny of their society and failing a class. Reform intends to pressure the administration to make election day a school holiday where no classes are to be held.
- CDNY Reform: The College Democrats of New York (CDNY) is the official college youth branch of the Democratic Party. It was founded in 1932 to support FDR's first campaign for President and has served as a vessel for youth energy and activism ever since. In order to ensure that it can continue in this role in a new age dominated by grassroots politics, we will seek reforms which will make the organization more transparent, accessible, democratic, accountable, inclusive, and dynamic.