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NYT: Montana Democrats Reflect on Success (how Red State Dems did it)

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:15 AM
Original message
NYT: Montana Democrats Reflect on Success (how Red State Dems did it)
Montana Democrats Reflect on Success
By TIMOTHY EGAN

Published: November 14, 2004


....On election night, as President Bush was winning all but a half-dozen of Montana's 56 counties, the Democrats took every statewide office but one. They gained control of the governor's office and the State Senate and came within a single legislative victory of sharing control of the State House. They did it with the kind of candidates who may offer some hint as to how the party can find its way in the vast inland sea of Republican red...

***

Democrats themselves said their success came from their choice of close-to the-ground candidates, their efforts to make sure people knew they stood with the state's majority on social matters like same-sex marriages or guns, and their decision to turn to economic issues.

"We defined ourselves before the other party could," said Brad Martin, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. "And then we ran on things like the fact that we lead the nation in percentage of households where people have to work two jobs, and we're at the bottom for average wages."...

***

Democrats say their success came from concentrating on kitchen-table economic issues in a state with a history of scrappy class warfare.

They hammered away at utility deregulation, which has led to higher power bills in a state that once had some of the nation's cheapest electrical costs. They criticized tax breaks given to large corporations, even as good jobs continued to disappear....

***

Opposing gay marriage and adding a (moderate) Republican to the top of the ticket upset some of the Democratic faithful, leaders said. But the Democrats have been out of power for so long - it has been 20 years since they last elected a Democratic governor - that it forced a unified message, with tight discipline....


http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/14/politics/14montana.ht...
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PROGRESSIVE1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:23 AM
Response to Original message
1. kick
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flygal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #1
43. Oh - and Schweitzer's running mate is Repug!
which made a few repugs vote for him. And I agree with the poster below that a few Kerry ads would have garnered him some more support. But too many MT's only have the cable news for their info -and we all know how that turns out...
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DBoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:29 AM
Response to Original message
2. Good for them
We need to make ourselves a "big tent" to win these elections. Let the Republicans kills each other over ideological purity. We need to defuse the non-issues our opponents use to define us and address the real issues of what working people need to survive.

We are after all the "reality-based" party.
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Ediacara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:31 AM
Response to Original message
3. I've been saying this on DU for 2 years
You wanna know how to win in the mountain west? GUNS and JOBS. The Republicans here are more of a libertarian mindset and not a fundy mindset, so they can be won over with logic and sanity.

That's how Freudenthal won in Cheney's home state. That's how Baucus continues to be re-elected by huge margins, and that's how Schweitzer won decisively despite pathetic attack ads from the GOP in the last weeks ok the campaign.

The mountain west is more economically depressed than most of the rest of the country, and a strong focus on jobs and money will make us winners every single time.

Schweitzer won with a lot of real "duh" issues like:

1) lets build ethanol plants in state and make some money from that.
2) Montana is the windiest state in the US, yet is 49th in the number of electrical windmills, let's correct that.
3) We're on the border with Canada, let's get Canadian drugs until a perminent solution can be found.

Etc....

For the short term, the states in the mountain west may be an easier target than a lot of states in the south, as Montana, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico are clearly open to the Dem's message.
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stevedeshazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #3
26. And I will vouch for you
You said that many times. It needs to be repeated throughout the rural West.

My experiences in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming just being on the road, talking to people, and reading small town newspapers bear this out.

Schweitzer walked right up to my wife and me in August 2002, stuck out his hand, and said, "Hi, I'm Brian Schweitzer and I'm running for Governor, I'd sure like to have your vote."

We don't live in Montana, but I was sure that he would win at that moment. He is proof that getting out and meeting people is what works for Democrats in red states turning blue.

GUNS and JOBS, plus AGRICULTURE. :thumbsup:
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GoreDean2008 Donating Member (74 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #3
27. Utah and Salt Lake County
"You wanna know how to win in the mountain west? GUNS and JOBS. The Republicans here are more of a libertarian mindset and not a fundy mindset, so they can be won over with logic and sanity."

This may be true in most of the mountain west with the exception of Utah. Utah Republicans have a very strong fundamentalist mindset. Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County, however, are very liberal. The city mayor Rocky Anderson is a highly principled member of the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party. And the county mayor-elect, Peter Corroon, is Howard Dean's first cousin.
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SharonAnn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #3
29. It also helped that the state was in really bad shape, really hurting
and they could see that the Republicans had done nothing for them.

If the U.S. gets to be in that kind of crisi across the country, maybe people will open their eyes, realize the Republicans have done nothing for them, and start to consider voting for something different.
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umtalal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #29
36. In an election cycle the people in 2008 would want to vote for someone
who will offer something George W. Busd did not offer. The list is long but let gather thoughts here.

Peace and a good economy.
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DinahMoeHum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #3
39. Bingo! Don't forget to tie sporting guns/fishing with environmental
issues.

Hunters and fishermen may not see themselves as environmentalists (for fear of being called "tree-huggers"). Same thing for ranchers and farmers.

But if they can be taught to see that industrial pollution from mining/timber firms affects their environment to the point that there will be neither habitat nor game or fish in the next generation, well, they can be won over.

Call it a "Western strategy" in contrast to the 'Pukes' "Southern strategy"

:kick:
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #39
47. But they do
Many of them see themselves as environmentalists. They are highly annoyed when some environmentalist who knows absolutely nothing about the state jumps down their throat because there'd be nothing to protect if farmers and ranchers and hunters and fishermen hadn't been looking out for the land all these years. The problem in Montana is that half the forests are still virgin. So they don't understand what all the hoopla about logging is. If we can just get in there and show them some of the new sustainable forests that are being managed elsewhere, alot of them will be more than happy to change their practices. And all we have to do on guns is appeal to their sense of responsibility to the country as a whole. Negotiate in a common sense fashion, most would be more than happy to make some changes to stop senseless killings. The militia is another matter, we need to isolate militia mentality from the rest of the population. We just haven't tried hard enough in western states, imho.
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BeyondGeography Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:36 AM
Response to Original message
4. Proof that the center is wide open
Edited on Sun Nov-14-04 10:37 AM by BeyondGeography
The Republicans have moved to the extreme right, and they avoid scrutiny by waving pseudo-political social issues like gay marriage and partial-birth abortion in our face. Take those issues off the table, as was done in Montana, and the discussion turns to economics, where we win.
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OutsourceBush Donating Member (860 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:40 PM
Response to Reply #4
32. You are correct, but it seems many on DU can't hear what you just said
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RogueTrooper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #32
35. Two of the most popular Democrats at DU
Dean and Clark have exactly this message. I am not sure what you mean.
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mckara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:41 AM
Response to Original message
5. Montana Is Great!
I graduated from the University of Montana many moons ago, but I've never forgotten the wonderful people of that state. They embody the values of the Great American West where fairness and reasoned thought determine the direction of governance. Now, democrats around the country can learn from their political pragmatism.
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
6. A good post for the rural issues forum.
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Lefty48197 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
7. Sounds like a blueprint for Democratic victory
nationwide...
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:56 AM
Response to Original message
8. Congratulations MT DEMS. You got it so right!
I remember a post from a WI DUer saying that Kerry had it all wrong in WI by not focusing on populist themes. He could not, of course, do that or chose not to because of his strong free trade record. The WI DUer said that the state and region would go very strong for Kerry if he would just speak to their economic needs. Now I hear about the great Democrats in MT. As far as I'm concerned, this is the model. I'm in VA so we didn't have many visits here (except the primary). These themes would have resonated here too in parts of the state that cost us the Presidential election. Our Gov, Warner, has stressed economic opportunity and acted on it in the hard-hit sections of the state. This accounted for his election and his ongoing popularity.

In the reflection and reaction to the election, the MT model is key.
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Moonbeam_Starlight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:01 AM
Response to Original message
9. Uh
so they won by being republican lite?

What kind of victory is that? So yeah, they are in office, that's good, now are they still going to be republican-lite or are they going to be real Dems?

:shrug:
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Prodemsouth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. No they didn't run as Republican lite- you didn't read. They spoke to
people about their economic needs and alot of Duh issues like the other poster said. They were more conservative on social issues which is what you don't like, but that does not make them Republican lite.
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crispini Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. EXACTLY.
There are so many people on this forum who seem to confuse what I think of as "populism" with being Republican Lite.

I love this bit!

"I'm just a dirt farmer, but I know rural Montana is hurting big-time, and the Republicans weren't doing anything to help it," Mr. Tester said. He grows barley, peas and lentils on the family farm near the little town of Big Sandy (population: 710).

"I bought a new pickup on Sept. 1, and between then and Election Day I put 8,500 miles on it talking about the same thing: how to help small businesses and farmers," he said. "Not one person asked me about gay marriage."
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mitchtv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #10
18.  I agree they are not gop lite
but they better have a decent platform, cause. unless there is a "solid" plank on choice & equality for gays,(notice I didn't say marriage) I start looking for another option. Guns are a dead issue in MT, where you might have to wait 45 min for a sheriff.That however is a different story in LA SF NO, NYC and many smaller cities. Muncipalities must have the right to control firearms. A final thought. I have a real problem designationg civil rights to the states.
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Nimrod Donating Member (999 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. The lines are still well-defined, trust me
They're a bit less blatantly liberal than some, but I wouldn't call them "Republican Lite". Gay marriage is about the only issue I can think of they leaned clearly to right on, and the prospect of full civil unions (marriages that aren't called "Marriages") is still very much alive.

Civil unions would be fine with me. I don't give a screaming crap about marriage in the Christian sense - the reconstructionists have stolen that term almost as completely as they've stolen the term "Moral Values". I just want my partner to be able to go to the doctor and have a prayer of paying for it.
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #11
24. I think this approach is a good basis and good object lesson
I don't know a damned thing about Montana local politics or the local cultural mindset, so I will accept at face value what's been said here.

These folks won by having the right issues on which to win. They had a position on gay marriage, for example. No doubt many here see it as a compromise or worse, but it is NOT an "Anti" position. It is a compromise. And it got them elected.

For me, if I were to project this out to the national level, I would be okay with this sort of thing. I would trust that they wouldn't work to have an outright ban on gay marriage or any lesser flavor of it. If anything, if it came to a vote, they'd push for some step **towards** gay marriage - civil unions. Once these are accepted, I see no reason why, when everyone finally sees there is no inherent evil in "Adam and Steve" the issue could be again advanced with legal civil unions as the starting point and baseline. That's a shitload better than where we are now. And a double shitload better than where it appears we're headed.

For me, personally, I see women's choice as the bigger issue, but what I said about gay marriage, above, would apply there too.
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. Us Montana voters also voted for legalizing medical marijuana!
Sometimes you just have to be practical.

Gun control is another issue where the big urban mind set just doesn't apply. I live a long way from much in the way of law enforcement. The ranchers live even further. We have a 3 man Sheriff's dept. That is it, 3 guys to cover a geographically large county 24/7/365. If there is an accident in one end of the county and someone needs protection in another, that call to 911 is pointless. There is law and order so far as any of us can command it near our person. Oh, large carnivorous critters too. So when you talk gun control, most folks hit the mute button and you are SOL reaching them.

Insurance costs are an issue, but not as serious as just trying to find a doctor when you need one. But then there was that organized bus tour to Canada for flu shots: $40 included the bus trip, the shot AND lunch! We will find practical solutions to problems around here.

Speak logically to westerners. Listen and apply some empathy. The problems are a bit different here where water is rare and there are lots of miles to traverse to get anything done.

Don't assume you understand westerners by reading about the demographics. There are some pretty liberal folks who live conservatively and vice versa. This wasn't the first state to give women the vote, but one of the early ones. Then they sent a woman to Congress, and she was GOP. She was also a pacifist who voted against US entry into WWI.

There aren't many of us here and it is a big place. We have to give and take to get along and it takes helping your neighbor when times are toughest. THAT is not being DEM LITE. That is being reasonable and shrewd. Maybe if BOTH parties (admittedly, it is more a problem with the GOP, and assuredly with the neocons) remembered that we are one nation and there are solutions which can be win-win, we all could avoid the not-so-civil war that threatens.

Reach out to your neighbor. Learn about them and let them get to know you. Do not let the neocon propagandists stir the divisions for their own ends; don't let them define you and thereby villianize you; do not roll over and play dead when neocons attack. Be a light in dark times. Work toward common ground. It doesn't mean selling out your principles. It does mean realizing and accepting that we can't have everything our way right now.

The neocons have spent decades getting their ducks in line and trying to make us look like we are not America. It will take a few years and a few steps to get back to where we can really make some progressive progress.

There are some wily old coots in these parts. Might not hurt to pay attention. ;)

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flygal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #16
38. Well said - from another Mt voter!
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mitchtv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #9
17. well, they're close to Canada
Gays can leave and leave their so called Dem allies behind. The weather certainly is no worse than MT. If they don't support us, don't ask for my vote. Gays will be welcome in California, too.
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flygal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
12. Well, even the most repuggy repugs I know hated Judy Martz...
Edited on Sun Nov-14-04 11:35 AM by flygal
And Bob Brown was attached to her. But, when Marc Racicot was governor, he had to walk a pretty moderate line and he remained very well liked. Montanans are gun-republicans and labor-democrats. They don't identify with the southern baptists or the peace protesters. I think they voted * because of the war and the war alone. Even people I knew who had voted Clinton switched to * b/c they thought Kerry wouldn't finish the job.

And speaking of Martz - the Great Falls Tribune nailed her on her not cooperating with Schweitzer with his transition.

http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?...

snip*


In the waning days of Republican Gov. Judy Martz's term, there's clearly no love lost between her and her Democratic successor, Brian Schweitzer.

He took plenty of swipes at her during the campaign. She responded in kind before and after the election.

OK, let's get over it.

Montanans have had it up to here with partisan bickering.

ETA - I also can't help but think my $50 contribution to the MT Dems had a "little" something to do with it :)

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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:35 AM
Response to Original message
13. To me, this basically shows that you can argue about fascist economics
and win.

Democrats could have done this nationwide, but Iraq was a distraction.
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Robert Oak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:55 AM
Response to Original message
14. More states rights and regional values
I've been to Montana and frankly it is a nation onto itself,
so to me, these dems did it right, addressed their culture and their issues.

Look at the gun issue, damn straight the Republicans have ruined environmental laws and hunting rights and so forth...

they took the issue head on to their audience, ranchers, farmers,
people living on the land and bam, they won.

On the other hand, I've lived in San Francisco, where clearly gay marriage should be the way, that is the cultural value of most and
that is the society, it's ready for it, can handle it and really is the regional cultural value.

what kills me is this is what Kerry basically said...he supported
state laws, which enables different regions of the country to
do what they want.

the repukes made it an issue with a stereotype.

Make the states more like the EU...you can go to Amsterdam which is
extremely liberal or go to Rome, where it is not...yet stay in "Europe" and move around the borders.
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0007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 03:40 PM
Response to Original message
19. Miles City was nice when the girls were running wild.
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President Jesus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
20. But nationally, they are fighting a culture war against blue states
I have long beleived that Dems should just absolutely abandon the south and concentrate on midwestern, southwestern, and western mountain states (in that order) because these are reasonable people and would help us form a real and lasting coalition.

But we have to overcome one very important thing that this article does not mention...many, many voters in these states vote nationally on their gut, and their gut has them in a culture war against New York and California. This is not the same culture war that the fundies are fighting, but the enemy is the same. You can't tell me that throngs of voters in these states do not have an irrational disslike for national Dems, and I don't know how we address this.

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The Blue Knight Donating Member (555 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
21. Awesome news. I'm looking at attending University of Montana.
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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:31 PM
Response to Reply #21
31. Missoula??? It's great. Gorgeous town, quite Dem. n/t
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C.C.D. Donating Member (101 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #31
46. and one of the few areas that went for Kerry. (nt)
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #21
41. Go Griz! We would love to have you!
What field you looking to study?

Be warned, many who go to UM for school fall in love with the state. So long as $$ is not your prime motivator, it can be a very real life up here. ;)
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ibegurpard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 04:52 PM
Response to Original message
22. The ONLY top state race not won by a Democrat was Secretary of State
Which I thought was kind of odd... The Democrat was from Yellowstone County (Billings), which usually tends to be more conservative than the other larger cities in the state, and was a fairly well-known and popular county commissioner...so he should have had an advantage other statewide Democrats didn't. Yet, he didn't win. That sticks in my craw. The only Democrat NOT to win statewide was the one in charge of elections.
Something to keep in mind for people looking for election anomalies.
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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 04:57 PM
Response to Original message
23. Another factor occurred to me -- these state Dems don't have media...
propaganda constantly undermining, and demonizing, them. Maybe that's one reason we can win local and statewide races more easily than Presidential elections, even in Red states. Circumventing the national media any way we can helps us -- we've had to use the internet, books, films, etc., nationally, because the TV media especially, where most people get their news, is aligned against us, and set on destroying any candidate we nominate for President.

Still, the success of Montana Dems provides much food for thought -- certainly in local and state races, and possibly in national elections in this divided country.



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snippy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:09 PM
Response to Original message
25. There is a lot to be learned from the Montana democrats.
Edited on Sun Nov-14-04 06:15 PM by snippy
The most important might be this:
"We defined ourselves before the other party could"

For over twenty years Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay and GOPAC have been defining the democratic party as monolithically liberal, liberal, and more liberal.

Republicans have successfully driven many democrats away from the democratic party and persuaded them to vote republican despite the fact that it was against their own economic interests. All because the democratic party was too liberal. Not that a given democratic candidate was too liberal, but that the entire party was too liberal.

The republican party also has focused their redistricting efforts on eliminating moderate democrats and creating safe seats for liberal democrats. Tom DeLay likes to say that by the time he is done the democratic party will consist only of blacks, homosexuals, and environmentalist extremists. If DeLay is allowed to continue to define the democratic party republican dominance will continue.

Democrats have a golden opportunity to use the republican strategy against them and start defining the republican party as extremist in its fundamentalist obssession on controlling more and more aspects of people's lives. But democrats also need to define themselves in terms of the issues that affect most Americans. They seem to have done exactly that in Montana. The same thing may work in other states, with the emphasis varying on different issues from state to state. State races are becoming particularly important as the next census and subsequent redistricting approach.
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #25
44. Bingo! As a liberal in a VERY GOP county, I have a lot of fun
giggling and pointing out to neighbors that I am their worst nightmare: a liberal with a gun!

I am a newcomer to a town that hasn't had many outsiders move in in 3 generations. I just let them see me as me. I am decent, keep my nose outta other people's business and am reliable, resourceful and caring.
I do not attend church or school meetings (no kids for the latter) yet I think people recognize me as a very moral person.

When they hear me say I am a liberal, it gives them something to think about. Maybe liberals aren't all blue nosed, east coast snobs. Many come and ask questions about life outside this little area. Many just don't wanna know about life outside this little area. We can win over many of the former and just not worry too much about the latter.

The way you win in MT is to go out, shake hands, flash a big smile, say your name and ask folks if they would talk to you. Then, LISTEN, find the common ground and build on it. There is nothing tricky about that.

You wanna win nationally? You gotta neutralize Newt and all his propaganda teaching. Let people know who you are and show the similarities between you and the people. Then start offering the win-win solutions to problems.

The students of Newt do not solve problems, they just play blaming games. Make that known. Be known as the people with solutions instead of hate. Stop letting the Newt-tonites define what and who we are!
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goforit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:16 PM
Response to Original message
28. How in the hell can Montana vote straight Democrat and vote Bush???
Sounds like more voting fraud!!!!
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Merlin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:12 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. Try gay marriage.
Edited on Sun Nov-14-04 08:13 PM by Merlin
Sure Kerry was "against" it. In a subtle way. Way too subtle.
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OutsourceBush Donating Member (860 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #30
33. I agree
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #30
49. Try environment and regulation
and jobs. Their jobs depend on mining, logging, ranching. Things they see Democratic environmentalism and regulation hurting.
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Ediacara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #28
34. Had Kerry spent $10 in ads in Montana...
Montana might have gone blue. He didn't spend money on ads here, so people didn't change their collective minds about Bush.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #34
51. If he hadn't gone so bonkers on gun control he might have won, also. (nt)
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C.C.D. Donating Member (101 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #28
45. Montana historically votes splits, I don't think it was fraud up here (m)
I am personally surprised (yet pleased!) that we got the Dem. Gov. but I believe people were ready for a change. We have had almost two decades of poor R leadership here and deregulation has hit us SO hard. This is an area where you HAVE to have heat at least 8 months of the year and our energy costs have more than quadrupled in the past few years...people blame the R Gov. who made that decision.

Also, the R candidate this year ran some really ugly ads and I think locals frown on that a little more than folks in other states.

I'm praying that our new Gov. does a good job. If he does not, we may never get another Dem. Gov.

I only know 4 other Democrats in my whole county. Seriously. And the awful thing of it is, the R's up here do not like Bush either, don't think he is doing a good job, etc but they still support him...ugh!!!

I think guns were a bigger issue than the gay marriage, fwiw. They circulated Kerry's "anti-gun" BS pretty hard up here.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #28
48. Trust
They trust local people that they know. Plus, the Republicans have just trashed the place. They're wising up, this could be the beginning of a major turning of the tide. And I personally wouldn't put alot of weight in gay marriage, I would bet you could pass a civil unions bill in Montana too. If you've ever survived a 40 below winter, you know you can't be too judgmental because you never know who's going to be there when your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere.
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patcox2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
37. They won by being dems, de-emphasizing special interests.
Nothing earth-shattering about that. The problem with our party is that there is truth to the republican charge that we are the party of special interest groups. We get highjacked by the most polarizing and controversial members of our coalition (polarizing and controversial to the middle of the roaders without whom we will never win an election). We are painted by the right and the racists as the party of the lesbians and feminists and blacks and gays. And they are able to do this because to a certain extent the democratic party does define itself as a coalition of all these various, but narrow, interests.

The fundamental and primary defining characteristic of the democratic party is almost completely lost among the colors of our "rainbow." We are the party of economic justice. Levelling the playing field between the corporations and the average person. Fighting excessive corporate power for the little guy. Ensuring a living wage, a quality education, health care, and social security for all americans. (Social security simply meaning that we take care of the poor, noone should ever starve in the streets in america and they shouldn't have to go beg charity from a church to get aid, either.)

Thats our big picture, and we have become shy about presenting our big picture because whenever we do, the republicans start screaming "class war," and instead we devote too much emphasis on our individual interest groups and get ridiculed, effectively, as the party of the feminazis and enviro-terrorists and etc. Its astonishing to think that the republicans have made it taboo to say what my father told me: "vote democrat because they are for the little guy, the republicans are for the rich and want to screw the little guy." Thats what this party is about, but the republicans have, with this "class war" charge, made so many democrats so shy of saying it, that instead we advertise ourselves as anything but, instead, we are the party of women who want abortions and gays who want to get married and etc. and etc. of narrow interests. We don't present our broad, universal and unifying purpose anymore, the forest has become invisible for all the trees.

Brutal but true. I believe passionately in the causes of all the groups I have mentioned, by the way, including ensuring civil rights for all genders, races, orientations. I am more than passionate about the environment, and about reproductive freedom. I am not suggesting that the party is wrong to champion civil rights for everyone, or equality for women, or protecting the environment, and I would not support this party if it did not do all these things.

But this party should put more emphasis on the interests we all share, the interest in economic and social justice, and less public emphasis on the individual interests of the various members of our coalition. Thats seems to have been what happened in Montana, and it worked.

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snippy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #37
50. Excellent post. n/t
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Qutzupalotl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 12:46 PM
Response to Original message
40. A safe red state not targeted for BBV rigging.
Don't get me wrong...the Montana Democrats are doing a lot right, and have big gains to show for it. But I wonder how much harder it would have been if Montana were a swing state getting national attention. Wouldn't we be seeing a lot of voting irregularities and questions? Maybe the Democrats got their gains in under the radar. Next time might be harder.
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420inTN Donating Member (803 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
42. Sounds kinda like TN...
Sends Republicans to Washington, keeps Democrats in the State Capitol.
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 05:10 PM
Response to Original message
52. So economic populism does work
Wellstone had it right. The Democratic party has been running away from our economic issue based core values for too long. We need to cast off the DLC and corporate money ties that keep us from making our strongest arguments.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 05:42 PM
Response to Original message
53. Wedge issues and economic populism
It's all framing.

One reason that the Republicanites have been so successful in demonizing GLBT Americans is that rural and working class voters are struggling economically. They don't really understand the complexities of why they are struggling after having "done everything right," according to conventional wisdom, and they don't see the Democrats as helping them out in any way. In fact, they see the Democrats as hurting them through such measures as NAFTA. Their perception may not be true, but it doesn't make it any less their perception.

For the past twenty or more years, the Republicanites' underlying message in rural and working class areas has been, "The Democrats care about everyone EXCEPT you: blacks, Latinos, environmentalists, gays, foreigners, even spotted owls. Everyone except good hard-working white middle class Americans."

After this unrelenting barrage of propaganda, red state voters are half-convinced that gays are the source of their problems. It doesn't make sense, but with their lives out of control and buffetted by multinational corporations and other forces they don't understand, they want to at least control who can get legally married in their state.

The way to de-fuse this is neither to jettison gay rights nor to put them as item #1 on the agenda. Gay rights should be on the agenda, but not out front. Instead, the Dems need to go on the offensive with their economic agenda, targeting the areas in which local residents are really hurting. Get those issues out on the table before the Republicanites know what has hit them, because this is where they are most vulnerable.

If asked about gay rights or abortion, the candidate should say, "My position is X, but I'd really rather talk about something that's more important for your everyday life, attracting jobs to this community..." Depending on the audience and/or the personality of the candidate, you can even make a joke of it, "I promise that no one will be forced to marry a person of the same gender." Or if a man starts railing about abortion, "I know that you're doing all you can to prevent unwanted pregnancies, aren't you?"

In the more libertarian-leaning parts of the West, especially in secularized Oregon and Washington, abortion and drugs may not even be a concern (Oregon has consistently vote for choice and takes a lenient view toward marijuana), and anti-gay sentiment is probably based more on cowboy/lumberjack machismo than on fundamentalism.
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