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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Some Lessons from ’05 Elections

by Pete Ross
The Donkey romped yesterday, and the results suggest some lessons for political strategists:
1. Dems can win in the South.

Virginia has two Republican Senators, but it is officially purple, having now elected two consecutive Democratic Governors. Tim Kaine’s win is all the more impressive, considering Virginia’s large evangelical community. It may have helped that he spoke sincerely about his faith (Catholic), and perhaps southern Dem candidates ought to study his balanced handling of religion as a possible template.

2. Tip was right…sort of

O’Neill’s dictum “All politics is local” held up nicely, as meddlesome W discovered. However Bush’s support for loser Kilgore in Virginia indicates that national leaders interfering in local races can have a negative impact. In St. Paul, Democratic Mayor Randy Kelly, a Bush supporter also went down.

3. Don’t even mention your opponent’s family.

Republican Forrester’s disgusting attempt to use Corzine’s divorce against him backfired big time, although Corzine may have won NJ anyway.

4. Arrogance doesn’t sell.

Arnold’s powerplay to reshape California politics flunked in a huge (zero for four) way. Voters also rejected reapportionment reform in Ohio, another indication that the public may prefer to leave the issue to the state Legs.

All in all, a great day for Dems, and the scope of Dem victories bodes well for ’06 elections — less than a year from today.