Tuesday, November 25, 2014

50 state strategy

Once upon a time there was a man named Howard Dean who had this idea that in order for Democrats to be competitive nationally, they should put a genuine effort to... compete nationally.
The D.N.C. created his job — along with a position for a communications director — last year as part of Dean’s signature program, known as the 50-state strategy. Under this program, the national party is paying for hundreds of new organizers and press aides for the state parties, many of which have been operating on the edge of insolvency. The idea is to hire mostly young, ambitious activists who will go out and build county and precinct organizations to rival Republican machines in every state in the country. “We’re going to be in places where the Democratic Party hasn’t been in 25 years,” Dean likes to say. “If you don’t show up in 60 percent of the country, you don’t win, and that’s not going to happen anymore.”
And it worked.  It worked because it was the right thing to do, not just strategically, but also morally. If you believe in your party's message, then you take that message out where people need to hear it.  It requires also that you believe in the local people and invest in them.  And that you don't just abandon places where you aren't currently doing well.   Here's Dean talking about this in Salon today.
I believe in the South the Democrats will come back, but you can’t do it if you don’t pay attention. I went down to Mississippi to a dinner when I was chairman. A guy gets up, he must have been born in 1920. A wizened old guy with a deep Southern accent. And I’m thinking oh boy. The next thing I know, he introduces the chairman of Ways and Means, which is one of the most powerful, and the guy’s a young black guy. What it said to me was, the Democratic Party is a big tent, and all we have to do is fund this stuff and we can make some inroads. And I think we can. Alabama is going to change because of all the car plants coming in. When you raise the standard of living, and education gets better, you get more competitive. We had two great candidates in Georgia this year, for governor and Senate. It was a terrible year for us, but what if that would happen in a presidential year that pulls out the people that Obama pulled out?

The point is that if you give up before you start, then you give up. The 50-state strategy was never about giving the same amount of money to Alabama as you give to Colorado. Never about that. But it was about giving everybody a base, and some competence level to work off, and then they were on their own. And it’s amazing what people will do if you give them a chance. Especially people who have been beaten down for years by the national party, who feel that nobody cares about them. The DCCC and DSCC wouldn’t put any money into these places for years, they didn’t care. And anybody who could self-fund, they became the candidate. That’s no way to run a party.
This was, as much as the candidate himself, what got Obama elected in the "wave" election of 2008.  After that happened, Obama hired his cynical piece of shit friend Rahm Emmanuel to run the White House and they fired Dean from the DNC.

And that's how that story ended.  Oh well.  

1 comment:

hopitoulas said...

I didn't know the Republican Party had exterminated the Tea Party.