Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Can it be done?

My husband emailed an article from The Nation to me this morning. It's called "The Way Down South" and it is about the Democrats finding a strategy to win votes in the South during the Presidential election and future Congressional elections. If you are a Democrat and interested in how this can be accomplished, the whole article is worth a read.

The article makes an excellent point about the need to differentiate from the opposition:
[Harold] Ford's loss was widely chalked up to race-baiting attack ads run by the Republican National Committee. But his defeat--like those of all but one of the Democrats' chosen candidates in the South last year--can also be viewed as a lesson in the limitations of Clintonian compromise. So can the results from the border South state of Kentucky, where self-described "liberal" John Yarmuth--whose pleas for national funds fell on deaf ears--pulled off a startling upset in the state's 3rd Congressional District by running a campaign that was the antithesis of Ford's. "The mistake Democrats have made here over the years is that they never provided a sharp contrast," says Yarmuth, who bested five-term Republican incumbent Anne Northup. "I said from day one, 'Anne and I are 180 degrees apart. If she believes something, I don't.' I was that clear. I wanted the voters to have a real choice and see where they'd go." They went with the frank-talking, antiwar, labor-loving candidate his own party considered too "liberal" to win.
The point of having two parties is to give voters a choice. When the choices are practically the same, apathy prevails.

There was really only one statement in the whole article that just struck me as stupid:
While no President had ever been elected without winning a sizable chunk of Dixie
That's funny, I don't remember President Lincoln taking "a sizable chunk of Dixie." He may possibly be the only exception, but it has obviously happened. Maybe they mean the modern United States with its current 50 state configuration, but that is not what it said. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

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