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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Three Keys to Dem Success in ’10

TDS contributor Mike Lux’s post “Winning the 2010 Elections” at Open Left offers three challenges he believes Dems will have to meet to do well next November:

…There is a strategy that can turn the 2010 election around. That strategy needs to be built around health care, jobs, and taking on the big banks. None of these things are easy, but I am convinced that they are by far the best hope Democrats have.

First, with respect to health care reform:

On health care, they simply have to pass a strong bill where at least some important and tangible benefits kick in right away. They just have to if there is any hope in the 2010 elections….

Emphasis on ‘right away’ — not a lot of wiggle room here.
To address rising joblessness, Lux has three “don’t”s:

Don’t brag about how the GDP is growing, the recession is over, but jobs are a lagging indicator and the job situation will eventually get better.
Don’t say “well, we know things are bad, but without us it would have been a lot worse”.
Don’t talk about how great it is that the banking sector is healthy again, because soon they will be lending money to businesses, and at some point that will mean some of those businesses will start hiring again.

Making excuses for failure and advocating ‘top-down’ job-creation are “political death” in Lux’s view. On the contrary,

…What Democrats should be doing is …Show that they are moving on this urgent need: get a new jobs bill passed, get a roads/infrastructure bill passed. Show more toughness when the most protectionist country on earth, China, lectures us on being protectionists (they liked us being saps for all those years.) Fight like crazy for new jobs in every venue, every forum, every chance you get- and tell people no matter how many jobs you produce that it is never enough, that you will keep fighting for more…Voters understand the deep hole our economy is in, and that things won’t be solved overnight, but they want to know that their political leaders are as passionate about solving unemployment problems as the people struggling are to find jobs.

Lastly, Lux supports a bill to “break up the big banks,” sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT), adding “about 85% of the American public would agree with Bernie’s statement that if you are too big to fail, you are too big to exist.”
Lux concludes with a warning and a vision for victory:

If Democrats follow the safe conventional wisdom formula in the 2010 elections, they will get their butts handed to them. Voters are not happy with incumbents, base Democratic voters feel like no one is fighting for them, independents feel like nobody cares what they think. But if Democrats shed their caution and become fighters, for jobs and health care and the middle class and against insurers and Wall Street, they can pull off the same kind of surprise in 2010 that we pulled off in 1998.

A formidable challenge indeed, but one which can light the way forward to the best possible outcome in the 2010 elections.

2 comments on “Three Keys to Dem Success in ’10

  1. Basilisc on

    On The Daily Show on Tue night, Biden committed all three of Lux’s “Don’ts”. He also missed an easy chance to characterize Republicans as the party of obstruction, no ideas, only filibusters etc.

    Reply
  2. pjcamp on

    Yeah, this all sounds like Nelson* in a nutshell.
    *Or insert Lincoln, Lieberman, Baye, Nelson or any other number of “centrists” who seem to have found the center in the boardroom of Goldman Sachs.

    Reply

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