Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Magic Formula For '06

OK, I don't really believe there is some magical formula for Dems electoral chances in '06. The country doesn't want a GOP Congress anymore and are significantly favoring Democrats over Republicans (though I've seen no poll to indicate a majority are prepared to vote Democrat yet).

The conventional wisdom is that the Democrats need to raise a lot of money and field good candidates. Some, particular the "left-wing" of the Party, say that Democrats need to develop a grand, all-encompassing message. I agree that Dems need money and candidates. I'm a little skeptical that the country will want to go from one homogeneous group of leaders to another set of homogeneous leaders. I think the Democrats benefit a lot from a diversity of views. Yes, even from a Lieberman or two. If the GOP weren't so homogeneous, we wouldn't have a government that is so out of control. But that's another, more philosophical discussion.

What is rarely talked about is the institutional infrastructure and volunteer organization that is needed. I do think Dean is doing a good job of trying to build up the infrastructure. But I find the volunteer organization to be lacking, and that's to say nothing of the "outreach" activities to minority constituencies. Granted, things may have changed since last year when I was less than impressed with what the DNC was doing after meeting with some higher ups. (To their credit, they were rebuilding from scratch. But it was still scary to see the lack of significant progress.)

There are literally hundreds of thousands of potential Democratic volunteers (or more) in "red", "blue" and "purple" states who are not being utilized. Unfortunately, these people have no easy way to get involved. The DNC has not given me any reason to think that they are going to do much to change this in '06. With a Republican base that's less than entusiastic for the midterms, the Democrats need volunteers to make sure that our base gets involved and gets to the polls. Plus, a long term movement is going to require a more dedicated and active base. Dems should do something to encourage those not already "in the loop" to get involved. Our prosprects require as much.


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