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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.
“This is some GRADE A Bull# 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.”
“If we were having a conversation about state parties, I would say OFA hurt state parties badly,” Handwerk told The Daily Beast, elaborating on his leaked email. “It certainly had an undercutting effort. And there is a lot of work state parties do that isn’t very sexy… and that becomes incredibly difficult when budgets are cut in half because people are trying to curry favor with the president and his allies.”
Handwerk, who has worked in the red state for years, says his personal experiences with OFA weren’t bad, per se—it’s that they were nonexistent.
“Supposedly, Louisiana has had, on paper, a state director for OFA who has been in the role for what I’m told is multiple years—none of us know who she is,” he said. “She only just followed me on Twitter [four] days ago. That’s how I know who she is.”
This OFA state lead is Carolyn Sawyer, who told The Daily Beast that “I really have not talked with [Handwerk]. I’m sure he’s aware of us. I’m sure they’re aware of what we’re doing but there doesn’t seem to be an interest to come together on what we’re working [on].”
Sawyer, who says she has been in the position since as early as 2013, contended that “we have reached out to the Louisiana Democrat Party [and] would be more than happy to come together to work on issues… But [as to] why he doesn’t know what we’re doing, we haven’t been secret. I can’t speak to that.”
After Obama handily won re-election in 2012, Handwerk says that OFA came to town to present Louisiana Dems with a gameplan. The outside group was purportedly ready to send organizers down south, to help prop up and “like-minded people” in deep-red areas.
“They told us this, so many of us didn’t see them as a threat,” Handwerk said.
Obama’s second term passed, and Louisiana Democrats say they saw promises unfulfilled.
“Nothing has really been done here,” the executive director lamented. “I have not seen any real evidence of OFA doing any real work, certainly not here in Louisiana.”
Talk to Democrats across state lines, and you hear similar stories. “I was never a fan of OFA,” Marcel Groen, chairman for Pennsylvania Democrats said, tersely.
Members of OFA would, of course, strongly disagree with such assessments, and are quick to point to their track record during presidential races.
“OFA is focused on investing in grassroots organizing nationwide—we’re engaging people who have never been involved before, connecting them to others in their communities, and empowering them to realize their own ability to enact change,” Jesse Lehrich, OFA communications director, told The Daily Beast in an email. “Building this kind of well-trained network of volunteers who can mobilize to win fights on key issues boosts the progressive movement in both the short and long term. Just look at Obamacare: OFA volunteers are organizing with their fellow constituents to ensure lawmakers hear exactly what’s at stake for them if the law is repealed, and the tide is rapidly turning.”
OFA isn't a traditional political model. They're not about getting out the vote like a party apparatus is. They're about getting out the protest.
Instead, the North Texas Tea Party advocate will run communications for America First Policies, a pro-Trump non-profit that will “support key initiatives and policies of the White House.” The group’s launch was made official on Monday.
The non-profit, which is modeled after the pro-Obama group Organizing for Action, aims to raise millions to assist in Trump’s reelection — along with taking on the media.
“The organization will promote policy, support leaders, coalitions, and other organizations who back America First policies, and communicate directly to citizens – directly challenging the agenda of the liberal and biased media,” America First said in a press release.
originally posted by: neo96
a reply to: theantediluvian
Why the red herring eh?
The topic aint about Trump.
It's about OFA. That 501c4 using conintelpro to keep Obama's legacy intact.
originally posted by: GreyScale
Because theantediluvian is still in the closet about it's true feelings about Trump. I mean, look at it's posting history... it's a whole thesis about self-denial. An interesting read though!