Building A Blue America

Cross Posted From Article of Faith:

Cocky Democrats and others on the left/liberal/progressive side of the fence should read this NYT book review of Washington Post political reporter Thomas B. Edsall’s new book Building Red America.

The Republican Party holds a set of advantages, some substantial and some marginal, that have enabled it to eke out victory by slim margins in a majority of closely contested elections and that will probably give it an edge in the foreseeable future. Unless the Democratic Party makes fundamental changes in its structure, tactical operations and long-range strategic planning, he writes, the odds are that the Republicans will continue to maintain, over the long term, a thin but durable margin of victory.”

The review goes on to say, of course, that Edsall has been infamously wrong in his predictions in the past, not to mention his book paints a vision of the Democratic Party that seems dated by at least a couple of years.

But after reading yesterday that Democrats may not be doing as well in New York as predicted, and with the Republican Noise Machine already dominating the past several news cycles, those on the left should take heed: We have a lot of work to do to take back the House, and the Senate is going to take an extraordinary effort.

I mentioned in a previous post I worked on a local campaign this summer, knocking on doors, pounding yard signs, phone banking, etc. And if I discovered any truth to the political process, it’s that people are famously unaware of what is really going on in politics, even in such polarized times. But all they’re looking for is someone to reach out, to talk to them, to answer their questions…to knock on their doors.

It’s not enough for liberals and progressives to blog about taking back Congress or even write checks from the comfort of our living rooms. Despite the presence of the all-knowing, ever-reaching media, you still win elections the old fashioned way: by talking to people…on the phone, at their doors, at community events, and so forth.

Everyone needs to get involved this fall.

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8 Responses to Building A Blue America

  1. KJ says:

    Todd, I’ve already made connections for on-the-ground work in our new/old town. Bless the staunch Democratic Party here in Missouri; Claire McCaskill has an office in every single county in the state. We’re not giving inch (or just giving the rural to the ‘wingers). My kind of people… bone-tired of losing, but still fighters with plenty of spirit.

    My mother-in-law’s ex-boss has a massive “Talent” sign a few blocks from here. Our house straddles the point of a triangle on the very south edge of town… and two massive “McCaskill” signs will be set up here next week. (Hey, it’s that or deface the Talent sign, and I really am too mature to do that.
    Really. 😉

  2. KJ says:

    BTW, if by any chance any JK staffers read this; there is still grumbling re: the campaign pulling out of Missouri in October of 2004. They feel the pull-out hurt everyone on the ticket, and most especially dissed the hard work done by the people in rural areas. (Where I worked as well.) People who lost their jobs by the pull-out are also not real happy with the Kerry decision-making staff.

    And it’s a point their making when campaigning for Claire… that she will be everywhere, talking to every voter in every country, rural as well as urban, because “as goes Missouri, so goes the nation.”

    Just thought you might want to know. 🙂

  3. KJ says:

    “they’re” not “their” sheesh!

  4. KJ says:


    It’s not just that we’re tired (in rural Missouri) of losing… it’s that we’re so unbelievably outnumbered. There’s an entire ritual of shorthand just to find a fellow blue voter. It’s mindblowing, really.

    So, while I salute the efforts of people who get out and canvass and work in blue areas, my friend Marjorie comes to mind, people who don’t sit on their sure outcomes and do the work to GOTV and educate the voters… I have a special place in my heart for those who work day-in and day-out right, and usually alone, in the face the ugliness that is so readily apparent in the rural red (and just plain red) areas of this country.

    Go get ’em.

  5. KJ writes: “I have a special place in my heart for those who work day-in and day-out right, and usually alone, in the face the ugliness that is so readily apparent in the rural red (and just plain red) areas of this country.”

    So do I. I hadn’t worked on a campaign since college until this summer, and had forgotten the dedication and, frankly, courage it takes to run for office, work on a campaign, put yourself out there, and subject yourself to the occasional abuse. I admire anyone who throws his hat in the ring, who knocks on people’s doors, who puts themselves out there for what they believe.

  6. KJ says:

    Todd, exactly. Several months back, a group of us attempted to talk a judge into running (again) for state rep, but he just wouldn’t bite. Of course, in that town and county, he would have been eaten alive.

    At least here, there is a fighting chance. In my thinking, these people running for local positions are truly walking the hero’s journey. The very least I can do is help with the scut work, you know?

    I thoroughly enjoyed the phone banking for Kerry in the Iowa causas. It was so cold, we’d just had a couple of major snow storms, and yet these people were going out to do their civic duty. So some people hung up on me, big deal. It wasn’t an actual punch in the nose. LOL

  7. Ginny in CO says:

    This is the big reason in my mind for being respectful to anyone who has run for office and won. Disagree with what they have done, cite your reasons. DO NOT assume their motives, attack the individual or otherwise make life in the fishbowl any worse than it already is.

    I think this should apply as much to most Republicans, or any elected official, if we aren’t having to overwhelm the s**t throwing. That calls for a little different response, but it doesn’t have to stoop to outright assumptions or accusations. Clear indicators of unethical or illegal behaviors simply need to be brought up clearly and repeated over and over, and over.

    There are good people who would make good Republican legislators that aren’t willing to run also. Much of that is due to what is going on in the GOP. If more moderate Rebublican voters would get out and help those candidates, it would be good for all of us.

  8. KJ says:

    The huge, blinking SOS sign of the times is the million spent by the GOP on Lincoln Chaffee’s campaign. Chaffee, who didn’t vote for his party’s nominee in 2004!

    If moderates on the Republican side could take that too heart, and take back their party, I too would welcome the debate.