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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Should Dems Emulate FDR’s Big Tent Strategy?

Williams College proffs James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn have a provocatively-titled op-ed in the L.A. Times, “How to win elections, FDR style.” Burns and Dunn argue that front-runner Hillary Clinton is on the right track in emulating FDR’s strategy — “he purposefully sought to be elusive, vague and to appear to be all things to all people.” The authors say her critics complaint that she should be “more candid and genuine” is “a sensible and astute formula — for losing elections.” Although demographics have changed somewhat since FDR’s day, say Dunn and Burns, the Dems’ winning formula still requires a ‘big tent’ perspective. An interesting article, and one sure to generate a healthy measure of disagreement.

One comment on “Should Dems Emulate FDR’s Big Tent Strategy?

  1. Dan Ancona on

    It’s fine to avoid specifics, but you have to answer questions in ways that make sense to people. You talk about principles, you talk about what you would do if not that, you pivot to something compelling, whatever. I’m not familiar with the specific corpus of FDR’s run but I’d wager if you look back at it, he knew how to answer a question. Hillary does sometimes but on so many topics she has this vague miasma thing going on. It may not be a big problem in the primary, but it will most definitely be a big problem in the general.


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