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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

CAF Conference Charts Progressive Course

The Campaign for America’s Future will celebrate St. Patty’s Day soberly (at least until nightfall) by opening it’s annual 3-day conference, ‘Take Back America 2008.” The Conference will address five themes: Economic Strategy for America in the Global Economy; Green Jobs for a Sustainable Energy Future; Quality, Affordable Health Care for All; Out of Iraq to Real Security; and The New Social Justice Agenda.
The conference will feature presentations by a number of progressive leaders, activists and media figures, including: Chris Bowers; Digby; Mark Green; Naomi Klein; Robert Kuttner; Celinda Lake; Van Jones; Eli Pariser; Tom Matzzie; Rep. Jan Schakowski; David Sirota; Stewart Acuff; Majora Carter; Rep. David Bonior; Drew Westen; Ezra Klein; Senator James Webb; Arianna Huffington; Robert Creamer; Amy Sullivan; Roger Hickey; Jane Hamsher; Matt Stoller; Donna Edwards; Rick Perlstein; Jesse Jackson; Norman Lear; Barbara Ehrenreich; Anna Greenberg; Roger Wilkins; Phil Donahue and Kathleen Turner. Presenters will address the themes through program workshops on such diverse topics as ‘Building our Own Media,’ ‘The Emerging New Progressive Majority,’ ‘Global Warming: The National Security Imperative,’ ‘The Politics of Health Care’ and ‘The Strategy to End the War,’ to name a few.
“Take Back America 2008” participants will find encouragement in a new report “The Decline of Conservatism” by Stan Greenberg for Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. The report provides a series of charts graphically documenting a rising tide of progressive ideals and new strength for the Democratic Party. Greenberg reports, for example that 41 percent of respondents affirmed that they “now think of yourself” as a Democrat, compared to 33 percent who chose Republican. The report addressed changing public attitudes on a range of critical issues, finding for example, that 54 percent of the public now favors repealing the federal income tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2002 and using the money to pay for new health care programs, with 41 percent opposed.
In light of the trends cited in Greenberg’s report, CAF Co-Chair Robert Borosage believes a “sea-change election” is in the making:

Today progressives are on the march, driving the Democratic presidential candidates to bolder positions on the war in Iraq, for universal health care, for investment in new energy, against corporate trade and tax strategies. MoveOn.org and the blogosphere have brought new energy, resources and volunteers into the political process. An embattled and divided labor movement has revitalized its political program. An array of liberal thinktanks and campaign organizations has driven the debate against Bush’s debacles. New voters—including youth and Latinos—are mobilizing through the Democratic primaries.
….Like 1980, 2008 is likely to be a close, bitterly contested presidential election. The objective conditions are present for a sea-change election, one that launches a new era of progressive reform. Conservatism is bankrupt. The economy is a mess. Our security has been eroding abroad. Americans are looking for change in large numbers. A new majority coalition for reform is emerging. If the election were held today, Democrats would pick up new majorities in both houses of Congress and take the White House.

The critical importance of the ’08 elections notwithstanding, the CAF confab is addressing something even more important, the foundation for a more effective progressive movement which can endure — and prevail — in the decades ahead.

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