Mike Lux’s HuffPo post, “The Re-Positioning Tango,” which makes a good companion piece to Ed Kilgore’s “Matt Bai’s False Choices” at TDS, offers useful insights for Democrats in developing a sound strategy to rebuild our congressional majorities. Rather than cave on progressive principles to appease political moderates/centrists, Lux argues for helping specific groups in the Democratic base whose participation in the midterms declined, as did their support for Democratic candidates, including:
* Voters under 30 were 11% of the electorate in 2010 compared to 18% in 2008, and their margin shrunk from +29 D to +17 D.
* Unmarried women had about the same % of the electorate as in 2008, but their margin slid from +40 to +16. White unmarried women actually voted Republican for the first time since I’ve been reading exit poll data.
* Although their loyalty to Democrats only dropped slightly, African-Americans dropped from 13% of the electorate down to 10%
* Union households’ Democratic margin dropped 8 points, but even more importantly their share of the electorate dropped 6 in comparison to 2006.
So before you accept the Third Way/Matt Bai argument that the base doesn’t matter much because they voted for us anyway, be extremely careful. The kind of numbers sited in the 4 bullets above, with both smaller shares of the electorate and a smaller % for Democrats in some of the most loyally Democratic demographic groups, is exactly the kind of shift that will cost you elections…this ain’t about positioning, folks, this is about giving all those folks — base and swing voters alike — some solutions on this economy. With the fiscal stimulus being politically dead as a doorknob, that solution is gone. We are going to have to come up with other approaches to help the middle class and those struggling to get into it
Lux, author of “The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be,” goes on to discuss substantive reforms to protect jobs and stabilize the housing market, which is causing so much insecurity. He concludes, “Democrats can win the next election, but it won’t be by engaging the same stale debates about positioning ourselves in the middle, whatever that means. The way we do it is pretty straightforward: deliver real economic benefits to the working and middle class voters hardest hit by this economy. ”