Tuesday, September 01, 2009

How To Lose The House

Go back and look at the midterm tsunami that swept the Democrats out of office the last time. The turnout for that wave was just 36 percent. Moderate, fence sitting independents don’t vote in midterm elections with a 36 percent turn out.

What really happened back in 1994? The Republican base — jubilant, mobilized and angry — turned out. The Democratic base — dispirited, disenchanted and demobilized — stayed home. As Democrats ponder which way to go in this latest round, they ought to read the political lessons more carefully: Short-term electoral success rests with the base, the people who got excited about “change we can believe in.” Long-term electoral success rests in designing and pushing through a program that then grows very popular.

In fact, Medicare passed with only 10 Republican votes in the House and quickly grew extremely popular; Democrats began warning voters about the nefarious Republican plans to scuttle Medicare so often that a new word slipped into the American political lexicon: Medagogue, verb, to demagogue the health care issue. Somehow, the Republicans have managed to steal the Democrats signature move.

Read it all at Suburban Guerrilla

I really hope that some in the Democratic leadership are reading voices like this and paying attention to the wisdom of folks like Bill Moyers.

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