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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Bloggers Illuminate Dem Strategy in Hump Day Wrap-up

The web yields a hearty handful of articles relevant to Democratic political strategy for your hump-day reading. We’ll start with Kos, who has a brassy pair on today, with “How Democrats Can Utilize the Nine Principles of War” by a poster called The Angry Rakkasan and another by BentLiberal entitled “Dems Must Counter GOP Strategy of Bashing Bush.” Rakkasan may make antimilitarist Dems wince with his uncritical embrace of military terminology, but others may admire the economy of language. In any case Rakkasan offers some good insights, such as the following, under ‘principle 8: Strike the enemy at a time or place or in a manner for which he is unprepared.’:

See Jim Webb for this one. Do you think the Republicans were prepared for the news that a freshman Senator had just refused to shake the hand of the President? I don’t. And that’s why it made the news. By rebuffing the President less than a month after being elected, Senator Webb put both the President and the Republicans on notice—and he also solidified his base of support in the blogoshpere. The act served to galvanize Democrats.

Wondering if McCain, who just trashed Rumsfeld, is starting to run against the Bush Administration, BentLiberal’s Kos post offers this nugget of instructive advice:

We do a pretty good job of branding this as Bush’s war. But we can’t let the GOP use the same tactic to the extent that they extricate themselves from responsibility. They are going to try to shift blame on this war to Democrats after the next election. But before they can do that, they may try to couch it as Bush’s mistakes, but not the party’s. The truth is they’ve had the power to reshape it, to fix it, to stop it for 3 years now. And they haven’t. They are just as culpable as the administration….Our job is not to let the public forget it.

R. Neal’s “More prominent role for the South in presidential primaries?” at Facing South mulls over the heavy front-loading of southern presidential primaries, and offers the following numbers, which should make John Edwards smile:

The Democrats will have a total of 4370 delegates with 2186 needed to nominate, and Republicans will have 2517 delegates, with 1259 needed to nominate. If my arithmetic is right, Southern states with primaries in February plus South Carolina in January represent 44% of the delegates needed to nominate for Democrats, and 49% needed for Republicans.

Thomas Schaller points to what he believes may be the coming loss of Louisiana to the solid red state column in his Salon post, “Losing Louisiana to the GOP.” Schaller and others believe that Dems may lose the Gov and Senate races in ’08 and maybe one house of the state legislature, unless John Breaux runs for Governor. Schaller notes an interesting paradox in the south, which cries out for further explanation.

Louisiana is, at last, about to look a lot more like its Deep South neighbors politically. There has been something of an inverse relationship in recent presidential elections between the share of black voters and Republican performance. That is, the blacker the state, the bigger the Republican margins. Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina are all states with black populations close to or above a third, the highest percentage in the nation — and not a Democratic senator, governor or, since 1992, Democratic electoral vote among them.

Schaller is right about the above factoids. But will somebody — anybody — please explain why, if the south is so hopeless, Democrats currently hold majorities of both houses of the state legislatures in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina and West Virginia (and one House in TN and KY), as well as the governorships of Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee, two U.S. Senate seats in both Arkansas and West Virginia, and one each in Virginia, Florida and Louisiana.
Lastly, we encourage all Dems to check out Chris Bowers’ MyDD post “Primary Season Polling Wishlist,” which makes some excellent suggestions for pollsters conducting horse-race surveys: For example:

Stop pushing undecideds to make up their minds. I am looking in your direction, Gallup. To produce a poll that shows only 3% of the Democratic electorate as undecided at this point is obviously absurd to the point of shameful. Support for all candidates right now is extremely soft, and as such there should be no attempts whatsoever to force the people who respond to your poll to choose a candidate at this time. If you want to provide an accurate snapshot of current public opinion, you simply can’t push undecideds at this point.


Include all candidates who are running. I am looking at you, Survey USA and Siena. Leaving announced candidates out of your questions is basically an in-kind contribution to the candidates you included in the poll. Why should some candidates, and not others, receive free polling information? This also distorts public opinion, in that voters will see all names on the ballot when they go to vote, and in that it artificially inflates the results for the candidates who are included in the polls. This is really bad stuff.

It’s good to see that progressive bloggers are bringing fresh and creative analysis to important stories missed by print and TV.

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