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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Into the Post-Election “Struggle For the Soul” Period

It’s traditional in our system that once the votes are counted and the winners and losers announced, we enter a period where analysis of what happened quickly gives way to ax-grinding and elbowing for position among factions in the losing party, and sometimes the winning party. This happened quickly, but not very deeply, in the GOP, as I’ve written about extensively at Washington Monthly.
By and large Republicans have “searched” for the factors that left them without the White House or control of the Senate in places that are not threatening to their basic conservative ideology. That’s exactly what they did after their 2008 defeat, which made it easy for the GOP to go on a right-wing ideology bender soon afterwards. Don’t be too sure the same thing won’t happen again.
Another familiar meme from the not–too-distant past has been the claim that an exciting new cadre of Republican leaders are rising up from the states, where they are solving problems and promoting “new ideas.” That’s precisely the meme that led to the nomination of George W. “Reformer with Results” Bush in 2000.
Meanwhile, Democrats are at the moment maintaining their impressive level of pre-election unity. But it may not last, given the long-simmering differences of opinion over domestic and foreign policies that go back to the Clinton administration, and could even re-emerge quickly if the Obama administration makes what progressives consider excessive or principle-violating concessions during the upcoming fiscal negotiations.

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