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Thu Nov 6, 2014, 01:55 AM

The Unicorn and Contradiction of Dean's 50 State Strategy

I am a supporter of Howard Dean's 50 State Strategy, but some of the loudest current proponents of it, may not actually support the reality of what it entailed.

Yes, it helped lead to Democratic control of Congress. Yet, in the early years of the Obama Presidency, I recall many of the more outspoken folks on this Board attacking Dean's 50 State strategy because it entailed recruiting non-traditional Democrats. For example, I remember the complaints about how the 50 State strategy lead to Jim Webb in Virginia or Claire McCaskill in Missouri who hardly anyone would consider liberal. The strategy worked by recruiting candidates who might be more ideologically consistent with the State's electorate even if this meant that they were noticeably to the right of most Democrats, particularly on issues such a gun control and military spending.

Yet, in the aftermath of the 2014 elections I see threads arguing that the key to winning back Congress is to, "Bring Back the 50 State Strategy" and to insist on supporting candidates who will vigorously fight for a progressive agenda. This is the unicorn of Howard Dean's 50 State strategy. These are two competing goals. If you recruit candidates who can win in purple or red areas like McCaskill or Jim Webb, then you are compromising on ideological purity.

My take is that I support the idea of a big tent, particularly if it leads to control of Congress. However, this means that you have to ac accept candidates who might be more attuned to the interests of the electorate in purple or red states. You have to be flexible to accommodate the diverse and sometimes conflicting views of a diverse electorate.

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Reply The Unicorn and Contradiction of Dean's 50 State Strategy (Original post)
TomCADem Nov 2014 OP
TreasonousBastard Nov 2014 #1
LeftInTX Nov 2014 #2
aspirant Nov 2014 #3
Myrina Nov 2014 #4
TomCADem Nov 2014 #6
aspirant Nov 2014 #7
TomCADem Nov 2014 #8
Blaukraut Nov 2014 #5
hedgehog Nov 2014 #9

Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Nov 6, 2014, 02:01 AM

1. Dean understood that the point of a representative democracy...

is to actually represent the people you are representing, and not to try to convert them.

You can represent them the Republican way or the Democratic way, but your job isn't to fight them.

Even if your goal is to convert them, you have to get them to listen, first.



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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Nov 6, 2014, 02:11 AM

2. I agree with you

However, there were some problems with the messaging in the campaigns. Alison sounds like a Republican in this ad. She never should have mentioned Obama in this ad. It just isn't right. It's moving too far to the right.


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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Nov 6, 2014, 03:29 AM

3. problematic

The 50 state strategy is problematic if you want to produce a democratic platform of our bill of rights. The generic way will work if you focus on representing we the people and not a mouthpiece for the corporate masters. By pointing out the number of months of vacation time our reps enjoy on our nickel and almost complete avoidance of we the people after elections can unite us.This is 2014, not 1890, so their is no reason our reps must travel back and forth to D.C. using our dollars for travel food and rent. We have video conferencing, Skype and other modes of communication where our reps can vote, attend meetings and committee hearings. We need our reps responsive to us and not lobbyists. They are our employees and should be in their state offices M-F, 9-5 for our comments and direction. Why can't we hear a senator say that on any issue I will vote as the majority of my constitutes demand. Would any of this work in republican states?

My opinion, the answer is in the states. How many times have we heard that this or that politician has a excellent ground game only to come up empty on election day. Instead of giving mega millions to media corps why not fund hundreds or thousands of jobs in local and county progressive groups as info contact employees. I listened to battleground Texas info where it seems at least 2 election cycles are needed. Can anyone tell me the % of paid employees versus volunteers that this organization has? It seems like every time I turn around I find 5-10 paid employees with hundred if not thousands unpaid volunteers. Invest in grassroots local, possible coops and force our politicians to respond to the people.

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Nov 6, 2014, 10:07 AM

4. I have no problem with candidates "attuned to interests of electorate in purple or red" ...

.... but I do have a problem with candidates who blatantly represent corporations or anti-social families like the Kochs and Waltons, exclusively, to the detriment of their electorate.

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Response to Myrina (Reply #4)

Thu Nov 6, 2014, 03:39 PM

6. Yet, Democrats Like Landrieu in Louisiana and Begich in Alaska...

...will likely be pro-oil company. Also, in West Virginia, anyone coming from there is going to be pro-coal, yet it is not uncommon for such Democrats to be heavily attacked for such stances, as well as their willingness to reach deals with Republicans, by some of the very same folks who are now waxing poetic over the 50 State strategy. The 50 State strategy never entailed trying to run a Henry Waxman type in the deep South any more than a Jim DeMint would fly in Massachusetts.

When a thread is run with the title "Bring Back Howard Dean and the 50 State Strategy" you get a lot of folks recommending the thread. But, if you head the thread, recruit more Claire McCaskills and Jim Webb type Democrats to be competitive in the red and purple states, then you will get a lot of "Down with the DLC" type responses.

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Response to TomCADem (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 6, 2014, 05:41 PM

7. computer politicians


My thought is is still a constituent focus. How can we be true to our progressive principles if we vote for environmentally damaging dirty oil and coal? If we keep a moral focus and vote for what "we the people" want in our state, one can still walk the high ground and gently introduce facts for the people's consideration. It should never be what a representative wants. He is only the people's voice. Why should it be the politicians stance on issues and not responding to questions with its your choice, you are leading me. In principle, a factual, people counting computer could be elected as our senator.

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Response to aspirant (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 6, 2014, 07:01 PM

8. To Pursue a 50 State Strategy...

... in a representative democracy may entail recruiting a candidate in West Virginia who is protective of its coal industry, but who is not going to try to thwart efforts to promote clean energy such as tax credits for solar panel use. Look at Oklahoma where Koch backed politicians passed a tax on solar generated electricity.

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Nov 6, 2014, 11:52 AM

5. Democrats could even field somewhat more progressive candidates in purple states

If Democratic voters could be counted on to not just turn out in presidential election years. As I said in another post: Democratic candidates in purple states have to tread a careful line, so as not to offend the older, more conservative voters who vote in every election, from local on up.

A 50 State strategy must encompass local elections, and educating the every-4-year voters that they have a stake in midterms, as well.

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Nov 6, 2014, 07:44 PM

9. If we could find the willing bodies, the thing to do would be to set a limit on how far to the right

we are willing to go as a national party. Set the limit according to the numbers needed to govern. Then, send some sacrificial lambs out to the Red states to fight the good fight - and maybe win.

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