Electoral Committee

aBOUT THE eLECTORAL cOMMITTEE

Louisville DSA has a standing electoral committee to build a working class, socialist political organization which can contest and win elections in the Louisville area. The committee researches which elections to contest, recruits members to run for office and work on campaigns, and organizes an annual Louisville DSA Campaign Academy to train prospective candidates and staff. Endorsements from Louisville DSA come with a commitment to engage in concerted field organizing, communications, and coalition building on behalf of our chosen candidates.

Electoral Strategy

Strategically Chosen Contests

We study the electoral terrain to choose whether a contest is strategic to engage in during a particular election cycle. Whether we are encouraging a dedicated DSA member to run or deliberating an endorsement request, we recognize our resources are limited and should be allocated strategically. We do not typically issue endorsements in contests we don't think are strategically useful at the time.

Class Struggle Elections

DSA embraces a model of class struggle elections. A class struggle election is a campaign that clearly and unequivocally draws the line between the working class and the capitalist class. A candidate running a campaign consistent with the class struggle election strategy will not hesitate to identify themselves as a worker and their supporters as workers organized and advocating for ourselves. Our campaigns make clear the class enemies who finance and support the political establishment in our city and beyond. Candidates endorsed by LDSA reject donations from real estate developers and other business interests, and make clear that their opponents are financed by and therefore beholden to ruling class forces. It is common to see socialist candidates for office organizing alongside workers in the community and you will often see DSA members linking electoral campaigns with other elements of class struggle such as strikes, union organizing efforts, and issue campaigns for working class demands. Elected DSA officeholders are encouraged to use the position to aid workers organizing in their workplaces and help build worker power independent of the Democratic Party and the ruling class.

Building a Workers' Party

Louisville DSA is building towards a party for the working class, but any such formation cannot be built overnight. In the short term we are building a surrogate structure (or a Pre-Party Organization) to act as a vehicle for the working class socialist organizing that is historically done by a workers' party. We are building a working class organization that is independent of other classes and run democratically by its members. We do not take donations from businesses, foundations, or other elements of the ruling class, we are funded by our members and accountable to nobody but ourselves. In the long term our goal is to form an independent working-class party, but in the short term we do not rule out supporting socialist candidates running tactically on the Democratic ballot line. Our candidates for office are socialists who are committed to our platform and accountable to the membership of the organization. We work with other DSA chapters and the DSA National Electoral Committee to provide the support and volunteer base necessary to contest and win our chosen electoral campaigns.

Endorsement Process

  1. The candidate requests our endorsement. We do not pursue local or state candidates who do not seek our chapter’s endorsement, or federal candidates who do not seek the endorsement of DSA nationally.

  2. The candidate is sent our endorsement questionnaire, along with an overview of our endorsement criteria and process. The candidate returns the questionnaire, to be reviewed by the Electoral Committee. The committee may then use the questionnaire in preparation for an interview where we can seek elaboration on responses, campaign plans, intentions in office, and other important questions.

  3. The Electoral Committee votes to either recommend the candidate for an endorsement vote by the membership at the next General Meeting or decline to endorse. Committee votes for endorsement shall be reserved to those who have been members of Louisville DSA for at least two months or have attended an Electoral Committee meeting previous to this vote.

  4. In the event that the Electoral Committee recommends endorsement, the committee would then present a report to the membership at the General Meeting to discuss a final endorsement vote. A 60.0% majority vote by a General Meeting shall be required to secure endorsement. Further, the general membership can bypass or overrule the Electoral Committee and bring a proposal to consider a candidate who was rejected by the committee to the floor by the same 60.0% vote.

Endorsement Criteria

  1. Candidates must be socialists—the best assurance being DSA membership.

  2. Candidates must be willing to say publicly that they are socialists.

  3. Candidates must be in agreement with our platform.

  4. Candidates must be commensurate partners to our organization, running fully developed campaigns with planning, strategy and fundraising potential appropriate for the races they've entered.

Request an Endorsement

Candidates for office in the Louisville area may request an endorsement from Louisville DSA by emailing electoral@dsalouisville.org