Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Colorado as a lesson for Demos?

This Washington Post article (only two pages) is worth a look because it claims to report on how Salazar’s victory (and the Demos also picked up one House seat) in Colorado may well become the
model for the national Party.
"We campaigned on pragmatism," state Democratic Chairman Christopher Gates said. "We set ourselves up as the problem solvers, while the Republicans were hung up on a bunch of fringe social issues like gay marriage and the Pledge of Allegiance.

"The notion that moral issues won the 2004 election was disproven in Colorado," Gates continued. "We offered solutions, not ideology, and won almost everything." Well, maybe this will work, maybe it won’t. But it is worth keeping on eye on because Salazar did (by and large) run as a moderate, and the GOP in Colorado does seem to be in dissaray.
If I were advising the Dems I would say that you should, now, begin a large term strategy to build your party from the ground-up. This will take about twenty years, but it may be your only shot at becoming the majority party again. They could look at states like Ohio, Virginia, Missouri, Florida. But, this will be a long haul, and will seem easier at first because they will be in opposition to long-standing rule to the GOP and their policies, but harder as they have to begin to stand for something and pragmatism will not do it. So-called competence is not enough. But the Dems have to get beyond statements like this: John
Kerry
blames the Osama bin Laden tape for his loss. And, more fundamentally, the Dems have to get over their haughty attitude toward ordinary that George Will outlines. This will be no small task, I think.

Discussions - 2 Comments

Running as the pragmatic technocratic candidate worked SO well for Michael Dukakis after all. :) You’re right -- they need to engage in real party building efforts. Their main problem is that there is little these days to unify the patchwork of interest groups their party has become, and it will be stressed further as the President pursues ownership society programs that reduce the importance of government, not to mention policies such as government outsourcing of work at DoD, TSA, and Homeland Security (thereby robbing the Dems of new members in an important constituency, govt union workers).

I also agree that the dems need to engage in real party building efforts and that the results of this past election emphasize that long term strategies are where dems should focus. George Will’s article, and the point you make in bringing it up is actually a good one. I am actually a democrat and the real effect of this election for me has been that I need to do a better job understanding what folks are thinking on the other side of the isle and not just assume that people don’t vote like me because they don’t know better (I’m actually a bit embarassed to say how many times my friends and I exchange comments along this line of reasoning!). Anyway, I figured a first step might be seeing what I can learn from web sites like this one.

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