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Fri Aug 5, 2016, 12:47 AM

Democrats are losing to Republicans at the state level, and badly. Here's why.

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez and Theda Skocpol on August 3, 2016, 1:30 p.m. ET
http://www.vox.com/2016/8/3/12368070/democrats-losing-state-level

Koch network-backed groups, above all the huge advocacy federation called Americans for Prosperity, have scored major victories over the past decade — working closely with already established cross-state political networks like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN).

These conservative cross-state networks have blocked the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, challenged efforts by the Obama administration to deal with climate change, derailed proposals to increase the minimum wage and enact paid sick leave, and weakened union and voting rights. Unless liberals and progressives find ways to counter conservatives across most US states, both Obama’s legacies and future liberal gains are likely to remain limited.

How have right-wing political networks achieved such striking victories? Our ongoing research on the shifting US political terrain shows that the right’s subnational success relies on complementary and reinforcing efforts by three key cross-state networks. These networks end up setting public agendas and shaping legislative choices:
....
THE RIGHT-WING NETWORKS ARE A WELL-OILED MACHINE: ALEC PUSHES PROPOSALS WITHIN STATE LEGISLATURES; THE STATE POLICY NETWORK BUILDS THE INTELLECTUAL AND POLICY CASE FOR THOSE BILLS; AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY THEN GENERATES OUTSIDE POLITICAL PRESSURE, THROUGH ADS AND GRASSROOTS ORGANIZING
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The article then goes on to explain that the two older progressive networks are weak, overlap, are generally not focused on economics, too many splinter issue specific groups, and are mostly in blue states. The consequences are that the GOP will control the state and local level and of course that will mean they get to keep Congress after the next Census. They call on the American left to organize in a serious coordinated way on the local level.

So perhaps, DUers can get involved with the progressive networks: State Innovation Exchange, State Priorities Partnership and the Economic Analysis and Research Network. Instead of just chatting about the Presidential election for example, there is a real opportunity to do something useful, especially if one has time for research, fundraising, or outreach. Or better yet running for office.

Another possibility is that Bernie Sander's new progressive Berniecrat network might provide new hope, but progressives still need to coordinate and put in some real effort.

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Reply Democrats are losing to Republicans at the state level, and badly. Here's why. (Original post)
andym Aug 2016 OP
TreasonousBastard Aug 2016 #1
andym Aug 2016 #5
yurbud Aug 2016 #9
riversedge Aug 2016 #2
Freddie Aug 2016 #3
freebrew Aug 2016 #4
andym Aug 2016 #7
Euphoria Aug 2016 #6
yurbud Aug 2016 #8
The Stranger Aug 2016 #10

Response to andym (Original post)

Fri Aug 5, 2016, 01:18 AM

1. It's a lot more complicated than just networks...

After all, we've had respected major environmental and rights groups fighting for years, and often getting results.

And its not simply disinformation, although there's far too much of that.

I've seen Democrats fall into a fatal syndrome-- we don't like something, so we'll start a new group to fight it. Makes no difference how many other groups are out there already fighting, we're going to do it better and ger something done. Turns out that 6 people in a basement gets nothing done, but that doesn't stop 'em.

Try to get the local Democratic committee to agree on a platform about highway maintenance or school curricula. The new 7-11 plans or how to manage the deer will get the crowds out, with no end of debate. We have serious water problems here, like many areas-- our groundwater is being depleted and contaminated. Agricultural solutions end up with the Farm Bureau warning that all the farms will close down. then, just try to get malls, developments, and homeowners to stop watering their lawns or adding fertilizer and weedkillers.

Algae blooms that kill fish, stink, close beaches and otherwise cause damage are directly related to nitrate runoff, but try to get anyone to agree on what to do.

Republicans have a lot of these problems, too, but are are far more formally organized and willingly follow orders. No fooling around with silly ego trips and hundreds of "coalitions for..." just wasting time. And, they are too often perfectly happy to ignore the problems, hoping they will go away.

Dinner's ready, gotta run, but we do have work to do...

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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 5, 2016, 01:12 PM

5. Too many issues

From the article:
"Building a more nation-spanning progressive federation would not be easy. Architects would need to deal with the perennial left-wing issue of too many advocacy groups and donors pushing dozens of issues and causes"

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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #1)

Mon Aug 8, 2016, 11:06 AM

9. Deeper problem: Dems who want rich people's money too

so they don't fight the right TOO hard. Just enough to keep the lefties on the reservation and the donations of the rich in their bank accounts.

In addition to campaign finance reform, we need to weld the revolving door shut.

If you want to run as a Democrat, you can't work as a corporate lobbyist, lawyer, executive, or do-nothing board member when you leave office for the rest of your life.

And this business of presidents trolling for dollars for foundations and presidential libraries after they leave office needs to stop as well too.

At the national level, we give these guys a decent pension. If it's enough for them to be comfortable, raise it. But that should be their only source of income. If they want to speak somewhere, consult, or whatever, fine--do it on their own dime, and don't let them take a penny from anyone.

At a minimum, their should be a "cooling off" period at least equal to the amount of time they were in office before they go to K street.

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Response to andym (Original post)

Fri Aug 5, 2016, 03:41 AM

2. K and R.

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Response to andym (Original post)

Fri Aug 5, 2016, 05:35 AM

3. Local legislators get entrenched

By doing favors for constituents ("he helped Grandpa get his veterans benefits" and appearing at all kinds of local events like community days and school concerts. Everybody knows somebody that Rep. X helped and he's such a great guy. He came to Junior's little league game. So people will split their ticket to vote for Rep. X. And no one notices (or thinks to look) that he goes back to Harrisburg and voted in lockstep with the extreme-right crap and the rest of his party.
This is really hard to fight. My area votes blue for Pres. and Gov. and I thought there was some hope we could finally get a Dem in the state house since our own Rep. X retired in 2014. Nope. A pal of his ran on being just as great a guy as Rep. X and won, in the same election that saw Tom Wolf, a Dem, win the Gov. race in a landslide.

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Response to andym (Original post)

Fri Aug 5, 2016, 10:28 AM

4. Really bad here...

in central MO. The Dems are trying to run from liberals because they think
the 'conservative' meme can't be fought.

Crikes, all they have to do is look next door to the west and see how that
'conservatism' affects the lives of everyone but the rich.

Even they seem to have rejected the idiocy.(a little bit anyway)

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Response to freebrew (Reply #4)

Sat Aug 6, 2016, 06:42 PM

7. It's very tricky because the Right has created a lot of potential third rail issues

that they would like to use against the Democrats: raising taxes, free stuff etc, that does appeal to many voters. So the arguments for progressivism have to be smart, emphasizing that progressive programs can save money in the long term, benefit the middel class and that helping you neighbor is American as apple pie etc.

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Response to andym (Original post)

Sat Aug 6, 2016, 05:38 AM

6. K and R! nt

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Response to andym (Original post)

Mon Aug 8, 2016, 11:00 AM

8. Remember the 50 state strategy? It was important in more ways than one.

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Response to andym (Original post)

Mon Aug 8, 2016, 11:16 AM

10. They have money. We don't.

With money, you can employ people. You can employ many people. Pay someone full time to work full time setting up networks, going out to meet the electorate, meeting with others, and setting up email list serves.

Here's how it works: When something comes up you don't like, you tell the key State representatives that if they don't vote the way you want, you're going to send an email out on their list serve defaming them.

They immediately comply.

The Democrats and Progressives have to try to work on things at night, for no pay, when they can. We don't have the money to pay enough people full time to do this work.

This is why they win.

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