Monday, February 14, 2005

Changes in Store for the DNC?

Despite all efforts of the DNC leadership to install someone nonthreatening in the post, Howard Dean was elected its head last Saturday.

I supported Dean's election and applaud his confirmation to the post. Many Republicans are applauding it as well, claiming that it is just proof that the DNC plans to continue its connection with liberal ties. I think, as time goes on, they will be less happy with the outcome.

Why? Three reasons:

1) The Democratic Party has moved steadily to the right for the last decade or so, hoping to capture the elusive 'swing voter'. They have also steadily lost seats in Congress, too. Why? It's a matter of math. Various studies I have seen identify voters as 40% 'conservative', 40% 'liberal', and 20% in the 'swing' category. Trying to reach the 20% with what you hope is a 'centrist' message while alienating the 40% that supported you initially is a bad idea.

Dean is a social progressive. Sadly, he is not really a supporter of same-sex marriage, but he supports gay couples receiving all the legal benefits that married couples receive. He has also demonstrated a real learning curve, something most politicians direly need.

2) Dean plans to invest national money in the state parties. The DNC has mostly spent its money in the 18 'blue' and 'swing' states, leaving the Democratic parties in the 'red' states to come up with their own funds for campaigns, including the presidential campaign. We in Kentucky, a state with a strapped-for-cash Democratic Party, had to buy our own Kerry yard signs, bumper stickers, and handouts. There were nearly no commercials for Kerry aired in our state.

Dean believes that campaigns should be run in all 50 states, and has already agreed to direct funds into the state parties. He also hopes to make each state directorship a DNC-paid position, which will save the state parties funds and will also open the position up to dedicated folks who could not quit their day job.

3) Despite the presidential campaign that crashed, despite the repeated playing of the 'Dean Scream' video, despite the depressing election returns, Dean has developed and kept an active and dedicated base of supporters. When he dropped out of the race, he reinvented his campaign as Democracy For America, which chose progressive candidates across the country and supported their races.

It already looks like Dean has hit the ground running. He has sent his extensive contact list his plan for the party, which is also already on the Democratic Party official site. Could we be entering the 21st century at last?

Sarah G


At 7:17 AM, Blogger Frank Glenn said...

The first thing to do on our part (not Howard's) is to show our financial support. I sent in $100 as soon as the ink was dry on Howard's election as I feel this is the best way to assure that his "gravitas" is recognized by the "DLC/Bush-lite" faction. (They spent a decade touting how much $$ McAuliffe brought in and so this is the measuring stick for now - until we have some successful elections.)

That said, my suggestion for a second activity is being "loud and proud" in local Democratic meetings. Join them even if you have to hire a private detective to find them.

Frank Glenn
Sarah's Dad

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Sarah G said...

Well, we practically had to do that here when we first got involved. Deaniacs weren't welcome initially, but the locals became friendlier when they discovered that we weren't just there to 'take over', but began volunteering as canvassers and event sponsors. I discovered that my time was worth more than the money I could afford to give. Now, if I'd been Bill Gates, maybe things would have been different... :)

Sarah G


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