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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

“Lessons” of History

As a total political history junkie, I love strolling down memory lanes for precedents that might offer insights as to how contemporary political developments might unfold. But for that very reason, one of my pet peeves is the use of half-baked or outdated “lessons of political history” that get cited in the chattering classes as though they came down from Mount Sinai on stone tablets.
Over at fivethirtyeight.com a couple weeks ago, I challenged one of the most settled “lessons of political history,” that the party controlling the White House might as well forget about winning the governorships of New Jersey or Virginia. And yesterday I took on a much-cited “rule” in my home state of Georgia suggesting that former governors can’t win “comebacks.”
I’m always on the lookout for such “lessons of political history” to examine, so any readers with some examples, either national in nature or from your own neck of the woods, please feel free to post them as a comment.

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