washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Pleased to meet you

Welcome to The Daily Strategist, the blog of our new magazine. I’m Scott Winship, managing editor of The Democratic Strategist and blogger-in-chief. I will typically be posting once a day in the late evening. Why only once a day you ask? Well, in addition to running the magazine, I am (in theory) writing a dissertation in social policy. I’m also involved in a couple of other outside projects which you can easily find if you google me and have too much time on your hands. Which you don’t because you haven’t read the whole premiere issue yet, have you?
In The Daily Strategist — I lobbied to call it The Strat-o-caster but wiser heads prevailed — I hope to augment the monthly publication cycle of the magazine with information relevant to Democratic national political strategy. Some days that will mean highlighting news from other outlets. Other days it will mean provoking other bloggers or responding to their provocations. Still other days I will summarize academic and think tank research. And Fridays I will likely make unconvincing attempts to pass off reviews of VH1’s evening schedule as relevant to political strategy.
In a very real way, you (dear reader) can help make this a better blog by passing along links to articles or studies that I can deconstruct. I know that sounds like I’m pushing my work off on you, but hey, Josh Marshall does it so why can’t I? (Incidentally, if anyone out there knows Stata, I’d love to push my dissertation work off onto you too. And if you live in D.C., let me know if you’re interested in doing my laundry.)
Before I sign off, you deserve to know a bit about my own ideological predispositions. First and foremost, I am an empiricist, so I try to the extent possible to rely on evidence, data. My read of 20th-century American political history and the analysis I’ve done of electoral data lead me to believe that, unfortunately, there are not enough voters out there who are as secular or fiscally progressive as I am. And there are not enough who are as anti-nationalist as many of you are. As such, I am of the view that Democrats must make (modest) efforts to accomodate those who are to the right of progressives.
At the same time, I part ways with most progressives in a number of policy and political debates. I am essentially a chastened Peter Beinart hawk. I believe in a social policy that both promotes opportunity but demands responsibility. I’m sympathetic toward market-based policies. The point is, in some regards I have a real affinity for moderate Democrats rather than simply being pragmatic.
Can I win you back if I say that in my perfect world we’d have universal health care, a higher minimum wage, gay marriage, more progressive taxes, no creationism in schools, more generous family leave, more legal immigration, preschool for all, tougher fair housing laws, and – uh – polar ice caps?
Stripped of blind ideology, policy — and political strategy — is complicated. The trick is to always treat one’s views as provisional, grapple with evidence, and let the chips fall where they may. We all have to be prepared to say we were wrong, myself included. I’d like to think that’s the spirit that will guide The Democratic Strategist as we collectively search for the keys to building an enduring Democratic majority.
Talk to you Monday!

4 comments on “Pleased to meet you

  1. Ben Tremblay on

    Pass along links to articles or studies for you to deconstruct? Sure! Sounds like a fine idea … a variation on what Jon Udell is calling “reader-generated material”.

  2. Non-partisanship for a better America on

    I find it heartening to find a vehicle for sensible, open discussion. I look forward to reading and, on occasion, commenting on issues relevant to most of the American population. Thanks!

  3. write2bheard on

    Agree 100% with the 50 state strategy and it starts at the grassroots level. What I’m finding is that when I approach Democratic voters about organizing at the precinct level they immediately “get it”. It just takes one or two of us activists in every County/Parish/or whatever your state calls it to take over the PARTY Machine. You can’t change things from the outside, you have to become an insider to effect change. Since joining the local Dem Club a year ago, we’ve changed their entire approach. We’ve recruited coordinators for every voting district (we don’t have precincts), increased our membership by 30%, and have recruited candidates for every election. All this was done in a rural, allegedly Republican area. There is no better time than the present to move on this approach. People are agitated with the way things are going. Look at how much money the GOP had to pour in the CA 50th against a candidate with no real support from the DCCC. Imagine if she had some solid campaign expertise and a precinct-by-precinct GOTV effort what we could have accomplished.


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