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The Dayton Process- is anyone else doing this?

A local power broker called me the other day to tell me he liked my “Dayton Process” [1] idea a lot. Then he asked “is anyone else doing this?”

Hmmmm. Do I go to the patent office to check? Or Google? What do I search for? I wouldn’t even know where to begin?

Such is the nature of original thinking. Did the Wright Brothers have to have an example of man flying to try?

Seth Godin talks about asking for analogies and examples today:

I was talking to someone about a complex and specialized issue. It’s quite possible that this was the first and only time in the history of the world that this precise set of circumstances had ever occurred. He said, “do you have an example of how this has worked before for you?”

I was puzzled. I mean, not only hadn’t I ever had this precise problem, but no one in the world had…By the time there is a case study in your specific industry, it’s going to be way too late for you to catch up.

via Learning by analogy. [2]

Does someone else doing something first legitimize the idea? Is it only viable if it’s worked before? Go down this path and you are doomed to the status quo.

The Montgomery County Democratic Party runs a “candidates’ school” which is more about the process of getting elected the conventional way with fund raising, sound-bite campaigns and party machinery. There are even pay schools like this one in Virginia [3] where they talk about their success rate.

If you search for “level playing field elections” on Google, [4] all you find is examples of how the playing field is far from level anymore.

In some ways elections have become more akin to popularity contests, with our winners having to come out of central casting, in others- it’s just plain simple, we’ve got the best politicians money can buy.

There is a good possibility that by putting six well prepared candidates on the primary ballot in two years with the Dayton Process, plus the two incumbents (who are welcome to participate) could easily knock me out of the running in the primary (as well as the incumbents since only 4 candidate advance). It’s a risk that I’m fully aware of, but isn’t that the nature of innovation?

At this point, the process is still just an idea, I haven’t started setting a meeting schedule, or training programs. I’ve met with a volunteer who wants to help work with the CRM software and discussed it with the Mayor Elect.

I’m still looking for candidates, my list has grown since the first post. As part of the process, we’ll be keeping a “scorecard” of attendance, speaking engagements, blog posts, voter contacts made and recorded- so at the end of two years, voters will have an idea of how motivated candidates have been. There will be no more “claims” of service to the community that are undocumented, it will all be measured.

Each candidate will have to formulate their own platform and strategy for differentiating their candidacy. There could be a consensus among the candidates that some are better suited to run than others- and people step down. It could turn into reality TV with people scheming to work together- I don’t know all the answers.  There could also be some major divisions among the candidates- making things a little more difficult- but all this will depend on the people involved and the way we work together.

The goal is better leadership for a better community through a new democratic process- not, to do something that people have done before.

The old way hasn’t been working too well, so it’s time to try something new. If it’s been done before, great. If not, what will it hurt?

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Will Brooks

Keep the sunshine pouring in. People may squint a little at first but then their vision becomes focused.

Gary Staiger

Again, on what set of political principles and or goals are you basing this “Dayton Process? And if there is none, as you seem to indicate,

Each candidate will have to formulate their own platform and strategy for differentiating their candidacy.

then what differentiates your Idea from either the Dems or that school in Va??

Jeff Wellbaum

I will ensure the Montgomery Co. GOP has reform one way or another. Stay Tuned!

Gary Staiger

Your answer then is that there is no difference from the Dems school or the pay to play one in Va???
It’s Mechanics 101. Do you have a syllabus?
What are you going to do when someone with politics to the Right of the Mayor elect wants in?? Where  and when will your principles cause you to draw the line you don’t cross…politically speaking that is?
Are you trying reform the MCDP or start another party? I’m getting confused…

David Lauri

David, I’m glad you’re against having agreement with any particular political platform as a requirement for participation in The Dayton Process™ will teach its participants is that they should be open about what they believe so that voters can make informed choices amongst candidates.
Gary, frankly it’d be better for progressive voters if more conservative candidates were encouraged to run. Split the vote kinda thing such as happened in NY23.

David Lauri

Wow, that was a really ugly paste from Microsoft Word just to get a TM symbol.  Sorry about that.

Gary Staiger

[email protected]

“I don’t care what anyone’s politics are- it’s a non-partisan election, and a non-partisan process.”

Bad news, David, Cinderella doesn’t live here anymore.
Taking your comment literally means you would accept a Tea party type anti-choice home schooler who admires iconic conservatives like Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan into your program??? OMG, you already did !!!
How about the ones who come to you with their hoods  and robes neatly ironed, crosses in hand, ready to learn the Dayton Process?? After all, you say you don’t care what their politics are…

You are living in a fantasy world where words like non partisan seemingly  overwhelm reality. The truth, which you seem eager to avoid, is that people have strong opinions about matters of a  political nature. It makes a difference how you view tax policies, it matters whether  a candidate is pro choice or anti-choice, it matters whether or not someone is a racist. Views on health care matter. I could go on and on in this direction, but I’ll just say it again:

Political ideology matters, it is central to any electoral process; voters make choices based on a candidates presentation of his or her views, not whether they graduated from some “good government process” .

Gary Staiger

@David Lauri

Gary, frankly it’d be better for progressive voters if more conservative candidates were encouraged to run. Split the vote kinda thing such as happened in NY23.

Not true. The right wing has plenty of opportunity to push their viewpoint without progressives giving them any assistance or encouragement to run. And the final result for NY 23  remains up in the air with a recount still in process,  Bill Owens may yet be unseated


What is a progressive? Someone who wants to tax you because you produce and give that tax money to those who do not produce?

The right wing loves to spend money just like the liberals. I say we get rid of both parties and promote the libertarian party.

Gary Staiger

@David E.
Your comment about lipstick and a  democratic pig was pretty snarky coming from someone who both knows me and knows better than to paint me with that rhetorical brush. I’ve no personal interest in elected office but I do  have an interest in better candidates and and a better educated voter.
The apparent difference here is that I would  proceed from a Progressive “liberal” perspective with defined political  principles while you seem willing to accept all comers regardless of their views.

That is a recipe for disaster that will doom your Dayton Process .

Gary Staiger



Gary Staiger

First I’m not sure just how it is that you extrapolate that I do not have faith in the electorate out of what I have written, quite the opposite is true. And,  really, could we please dispense with the snarky comments about the election,  McLin et al.? They do nothing to advance your arguments and trivialize what salient points you have to make.
I also had the apparently mistaken idea that one of your purposes was to “reform” the MCDP. Is that no longer part of your agenda?


What is so progressive about being liberal? Taxing to the point of death? Taxing to the point of being financially ruined, like every other president?
David has a legitimate idea, and Gary wants no opposing views. He is so successful that he think his opinion is the only one that matters.
Bullshit is what you spew Gary. And you can cry all you want but you are the one that sells stuff to people who can least afford it. But that is OK in your world.

Gary Staiger



What is BS? You selling non-essential items to poor people?

Wake up and smell the coffee. You are a part of the problem. You need to pay more in taxes and leave other productive people alone with all your tax loving policies…..

David Lauri

How about the ones who come to you with their hoods  and robes neatly ironed, crosses in hand
Bless your heart, Gary, but that’s a straw man argument if ever there was one.  David says anyone’s welcome to participate in the Dayton Process ™ and that means he must be ready to cozy up with the KKK and the Nazis?
Do you really suppose neo-Nazis and folks from the Klan are going to be lining up on Bonner Street to get into the Dayton Process ™ sessions?
And so what if they do?  If we have any integrity, we’ll let them participate in the process like anyone else, listen to what they say, criticize it if necessary, and let people make up their minds.


DL, now that is “liberal” talk I like to hear.

Everyone is welcome. We know who the “players” are, and a Nazi/KKK representation is far fetched at best. But EVERYONE should be “somewhat” welcome.

I actually like Dayton Progress. Especially is Gary hates it….

Gary Staiger

@David L
There is no way that integrity  can be defined as allowing Klansmen and Nazi’s to “participate in the process like anyone else, listen to what they say, criticize it if necessary, and let people make up their minds.”
That’s sinking way down to gene’s level of inanity.
My point, my straw man argument is simple. Why should people who have a progressive/liberal viewpoint want to encourage, help, aid and abet people on the other side of the political spectrum when those folks already have their own process? Vetting by Rush and Glenn Beck, the  rah rah from the Faux News network, money, and lots of  it,  from  right wing think tanks and philanthropists.
I agree with the idea that we need to be  thinking  outside the box. But, and it a big one,  that also has to  mean not reaching for the political  rubbish that may have gotten dumped out in the process of overturning that box, and that is exactly what it sounds like the Dayton Process is willing to do.


In other words Gary is not open minded, he misrepresents himself as someone who includes different viewpoints, and is basically a hypocrite.

No one wants Nazis or the KKK involved. Lets not blow this out of proportion. But if you want progress you must allow varying opinions, and whoever shows up is allowed to express their opinion, regardless of how disgusting that opinion may be, so long as they do it peacefully and within the law.

We basically have TWO parties – 300 million people, I think we can all agree that there are more than two opinions (and “party” ideas) so we need people to participate. Thy problem is these two parties have all the power. We actually need more parties and broader thinking, not a two party “I am against whatever the other one says” mentality. That is why a modified libertarian stand points needs to be represented. Among other ideas…

Jennifer Alexander

well boys…don’t mean to interupt, although you were providing this bored housewife an interesting afternoon…below is how the “progressives”  do it….worth looking at to expand on


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Gary Staiger

Now the ego comes out.

The MCDP will either adapt- or die- thanks to this process.
That’s how I plan on leading the reformation.

Answer the question, David, are you trying to “reform”,  work within,  or, are you planning a coup d’etat on the MCDP?  Do you have a plan to address the reduction of seats of the MCDP  Central Committee/precinct captains? Which offices are you going to encourage your acolytes to run for? Precinct captains in a gubernatorial year? Priority boards?


McLins’ defeat, and the usually dismal performance of the Democrats here, shows how weak this county is for the party, that the trend seems more towards the GOP as the Dem’s traditional power base of labor and minorities has weakened, and a notional new base in the “New Class/Creative Class” is unlikely, since this base in Dayton is actually more oriented toward various strands of conservatism than it is toward progessive/liberal politics.  That’s one thing that sets Dayton apart from other places I’ve lived in.
You have the opposite trend in a city like Columbus, where the Democratic party is becoming stronger as it attracts more and more college educated professionals, or in Louisville, where the “Gary Leitzels”, the neighborhood activists and house restorers, tend to be left/liberals who, in some cases (like their current Congressman John Yarmuth), have moved away from the GOP.
I don’t see much long term future for the Democrats here.  Most of the people who would be Democrats are leaving town, either because they can’t find work, or they don’t like living in this conservative sociopolitical environment (and, yes,I know there is Yellow Springs) and head out of Dodge as soon as they get their college degree.

Gary Staiger

McLins’ defeat, and the usually dismal performance of the Democrats here, shows how weak this county is for the party,

What  is this statement based on? Gary Leitzel beat McLin by less than 900 votes. Democrats hold virtually every other elected office in Dayton &  the County  and, many seats in the ‘burbs.Your phrase  “usually dismal performance” sounds rather  hyperbolic as well, as it is not supported in your post by either facts or anecdotal evidence. I  would dispute your characterization of what you call New Class/Creative Class [whatever that means] as trending toward conservatism. What empirical evidence is this statement based on, or is it simply your own personal observations?

Most of the people who would be Democrats are leaving town, either because they can’t find work, or they don’t like living in this conservative sociopolitical environment

Another hyperbolic statement. What evidence do you have of this besides your own observations? Also, when  did Dayton become  your  “conservative sociopolitical environment” ? I’ve contacted the Board of Electiosn for specific numbers of gains or losses for both parties over the last 5 years and the total registered with each party which I will post as soon as received.


What evidence do you have of this besides your own observations?
Because the Democrats can’t win in suburban areas that don’t have substantial black populations, which tells me that this county is, at heart, a Republican one.  This is quit different from a city like Louisville, where Democrats hold metro council seats and state rep and state senate seats in suburban areas that are also majority white.  The only time the Democrats are competetive in these suburban areas in Dayton are when there is enough of a minority population to provide skew the voting.    Otherwise the Democrats are not competetive in suburbia (one would expect to see more Democrats from places like, say, Huber Heights, but they seem to elect right wingers and Republicans to local and state office).
This would work countywide, since the minority voting bloc combined with union and union retiree support allows the Dems to barely control the countywide offices (and win by a few % points in Presidential elections).  It’s pretty well known that union affliation skews voter preference to the Democrats.
You could say the same thing for the city, too, since Daytonians elected and re-elected a conservative Republican as mayor and apparently have done so again (though Leitzel has eschewed party labels).  I think this is maybe an “Ohio Thang”, where big citys elect Republicans as mayors (like Voinovich in Cleveland) .  Fairly rare in California or places like Chicago or Milwaulkee or Detroit.
Also, when  did Dayton become  your  “conservative sociopolitical environment”
When? Ever since I moved here from California.

Jennifer Alexander

@Gary,  need to take into consideration the “Limbaugh effect” with those that switched parties during the primaries in 2008, when you get those #’s from BOE

@Jeff, 2008 Montgomery County, Obama 146,000  McCain 128,681   I don’t think that supports your theory this county is “at heart, a Republican one”


Look at the point spread of Obama vs McCain compared to other counties with central cities in both Ohio and reigonally and you will see, by comparison, how GOP Montgomery County really is, even if Obama won.  Graphs can be found here:

Gary Staiger

To make your graph more relevant the numbers need be compared with the last 30-40 years of elections to see whether this is a + or – trend. Stand alone numbers don’t do that.
It’s that context thing again…


Excellent point.  It would be fascinating to do an time series starting with, say, the Kennedy/Nixon election for all those counties and then check if there are any trends or divergences.

Will Brooks

Why are you guys so caught up in political parties?


Because “parties” come with representative democracy.   There was maybe one period in our history that didn’t have partisan politics, the “Era of Good Feelings”after the War of 1812.  Even in times and places of supposedly one party rule, like the “Solid South” of the Jim Crow era there was political conflict between two factions of the Democratic Party down there, between the  elite “Bourbon Democrats” and the populist Democrats (the movie Oh Brother Where Art Thou has this as one of it’s themes).
So its part of our political culture.  “Democrat” and “Republican” are just labels for something that has been going on since the time of Jefferson and the first Adams.

Jeff Wellbaum

There were no political parties until the 1790’s. The political parties developed around Jefferson and Madison-the Democratic Republicans and around Hamilton-the Federalists. They began to form even before that during the debate over the ratification of the Constitution (1787-1789) between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists.

Will Brooks

I agree with ideals from both prominent parties and disagree with others. I can say that I feel that both parties have failed the people they claim to represent. Also, just because political parties seem to come with the territory that doesn’t meant that they should not be questioned, exposed, and called on the carpet when they FAIL.