Leaked Emails: Dem State Leaders Think Obama’s New Organizing Army is ‘Grade A Bullshit’
For anyone who thinks Paul Sperry's "OFA is Obama's Shadow Government" spiel is paranoid lunacy, well, here's how the DNC feels about OFA:
It is difficult to overstate just how enraged state Democratic activists and leaders are with Organizing for Action (OFA), the political and community-organizing army that grew out of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.
The nonprofit, which functions as a sort of parallel-Democratic National Committee, was founded to mobilize Democratic voters and supporters in defense of President Obama’s, and the Democratic Party’s, agenda.
Instead, the organization has drawn the intense ire, both public and private, of grassroots organizers and state parties that are convinced that OFA inadvertently helped decimate Democrats at the state and local level, while Republicans cemented historic levels of power and Donald J. Trump actually became leader of the free world.
These intra-party tensions aren’t going away, especially now that OFA “relaunched” itself last week to protect the Affordable Care Act, boost turnout at congressional townhalls, and train grassroots organizers gearing up for the Trump era.
“This is some GRADE A Bullshit right here,” Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party, wrote in a private Democratic-listserv email obtained by The Daily Beast. Handwerk was reacting to news of OFA’s post-election retooling, which was shared “without comment” to the group of state-level Dems by Crystal Kay Perkins, executive director for Texas Democrats.
“It also to me seems TONE DEAF—we have lost over 1,000 seats in the past 8 years… all because of this crap,” Handwerk continued. “Let’s get through the next two weeks—but then we gotta figure this out and keep the pressure on. WOW.” Others on the thread shared these sentiments.
“Yes, it sure is,” Katie Mae Simpson, executive director for the Maine Democratic Party, replied. “OFA showed up in Maine, organized a press conference on saving [Obamacare], with one of our Dem legislative leaders speaking, all without ever mentioning that they were in state and organizing. They hired someone I know, which is somewhat helpful, but my god, they don’t have a very good alliance-building process.”
Such grievances, though expressed privately, are nothing new among state Democratic Party leadership. “[With] all due respect to President Obama, OFA was created as a shadow party because Obama operatives had no faith in state parties,” Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb told Politico last week.