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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Southern Bellwether, 2nd Tier Troopers, Blue Ideopolis

The Atlanta Journal Constitution‘s Aaron Gould Shenin reports on a bellwether county in Georgia that has picked 28 winners out of 29 contests in primaries since 1996 (The tally includes state-wide, as well as presidential candidates). Muscogee County, which includes the city of Columbus, is diverse, but with a larger proportion of African Americans (about half) than the state as a whole (about 30 percent). The only miss was Muscogee’s pick for state Labor Commish back in ’88. Says Shenin, “If the Democratic candidates for president want to win the Feb. 5 Georgia primary, they best win Muscogee County.”
Scott Martelle has an L.A. Times update on the tenacity of “second tier” presidential candidates Richardson, Biden and Dodd. What keeps them going, you wonder? Martelle quotes Senator Dodd’s answer:

Iowa’s always about expectations. . . On the night of Jan. 3, the results come in, and if all of a sudden I’m in third or fourth place here, you’re going to have two candidates ahead of me whose campaigns may be over with because they failed expectations. . . . So all of a sudden this changes.

Adds Drake University political analyst Dennis Goldford, “The old rule of thumb is that there are three tickets out of Iowa. Nobody who has ever finished worse than third has gotten the nomination.” According to Martelle, Senator Biden will stay if he finishes “a close fourth.”
The article underscores what an outstanding field we have, especially in comparison to the opposition. Might be a good thing for the Democratic Party if one of these guys makes the cut and becomes a serious player on 2/5.
New Republic Senior Editor John Judis and TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira have a WaPo op-ed “Get Ready for a Democratic Era” featuring an informative look at key constituencies now leaning Democratic, including single women, professionals, Independents and white working-class males. They also discuss the growth of the ‘ideopolis’ as an influential Democratic stronghold, nation-wide, and have an optimistic vision for Dems, both short and long-term:

In 2006, the new Democratic coalition — women, professionals and minorities, augmented by disillusioned Reagan Democrats — retook Congress. In 2008, it’s poised to do even better….Republicans, who grew fat and happy during Bush’s first term, anticipating decades of rule, face some lean years ahead.

Teixeira and Judis do wave one flag, noting that the tilt to Dems among key groups “doesn’t necessarily translate into voter registration.” Notwithstanding inadequate voter turnout efforts, they believe Dems can expect “a striking political advantage over the next decade, and perhaps longer.”

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