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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Tom Schaller’s Question for Team Obama

Others may dither, but Thomas Schaller cuts to the chase today over at FiveThirtyEight.com with his post “The Big 2010 Question“:

…The big question for both parties–and particularly the Democrats–is one I raised this morning on MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan show: How replicable is Barack Obama’s precedent-setting presidential coalition in an off-year election?
It’s easy to just say, well, it’s not replicable. Of course it isn’t exactly replicable. The so-called “Obama surge” voters clearly will not turn out at the same rates, and thus not constitute the same proportion of the electorate a year from now that they did a year ago. So the question really is, To what degree, along some continuum between the 2008 presidential electorate and the ones from the 2009 elections this week, will 2010 look like one or other other? And looking backward may provide poor guidance: Because there’s never been an electorate assembled like the one Obama did in 2008, we’ve also never had a post-Obama midterm cycle.

Schaller then asks what may be an even bigger question, this one directed at Team Obama:

…I want to start this series of posts with a very simple question that is, more or less, directed at the Obama White House political operation, and can be rather simply stated: One year out, what are you planning to do in order to safeguard your newly-acquired congressional, gubernatorial and even state legislative majorities?

Schaller continues with a series of thought-provoking ‘sub-questions’ regarding: agenda-setting; candidates; contacting and turnout; and messaging, followed by a lengthening list of reader comments, some of which are equally perceptive. This one’s a must-read.

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