06 January 2008

Rejecting The Conventional Wisdom Of "Electability"

The Dems are The Three Stooges when it comes to organizing their electorate. But the fundamental problem they have from an ideological standpoint is the things they stand for work against the mechanics of building an efficient vote producing formula. Having to serve so many diverse interests makes it that much harder to create a simple playbook their troops can follow.

We talk a lot about the white vote, the black vote, the woman vote, the AARP vote - what about the "other" vote - the naturalized immigrant and first generation voters from Asia, India, Mexico, the Carribean isles? What about the Western Europe transplants with populist roots?

If Obama can sidestep the "left wing liberal" label I see sprouting from conservative political websites, and position himself, a la Bill Clinton, as a moderate centrist, he has a fighting chance. Ross Perot was crazy and he got almost 20% of the vote when he ran - 19 million people, most of whom were NOT new voters who were tired of the same old shit.

I don't know where the Republican machine is these days - no idea whether they still have it in them - but with a costly war lingering in the background alongside a smoke and mirrors economy that is starting to hurt their base constituency, they have an uphill battle ahead of them.

All I know is, if Oprah Winfrey can get hundreds of thousands of white women to buy a book in which the first words are "They shoot the white girl first", [
Paradise, Toni Morrison], I am willing to bet that the right appeal to HER base down the stretch will generate a lot of split ticket households.

The difference between Obama and Edwards is like the difference between stocks and CD's.

With a CD, you know how much interest you're going to get. The question is, is it going to be enough interest to meet your needs?

With a stock, it could go up, it could go down, it could drop like a rock at the slightest hint of bad news, but man, when you get one that's on the move - the bottom line is despite all of these short term fluctuations, and the potential for total disaster, you've got to believe the upside is worth the risk you're taking.

Are we that afraid of failure that we can't take a chance? Every election I've seen since, which is every election since Ford ran against Carter, has been framed as if our country will descend into chaos if my side loses.

    A Republican was in office when abortion became legal.

    A Democrat managed the biggest wartime conflict we've ever been in.

    A Republican brought the country to war over slavery and states rights.

    A Democrat dropped the nuclear bombs on Japan.

Conventional wisdom would have prevented us from rubbing those two sticks together back when we were huddled together against the cold night air. It would have discouraged anyone from thinking of how to get a machine to fly through the air.

If we can put a man on the moon, I don't see why we can't put this man in the White House.

The thing that really gets at my gut these last few days is the refrain "the country's not ready yet".

The country wasn't ready for slavery to end.

The country wasn't ready for segregation to end.

This mythical "readiness" does not exist.

So if you believe, just a little bit, in all the things you say you believe in when it comes to race relations, then you need to do what you can to stand up for the principles you claim to hold dear and reject the conventional wisdom of "electability".

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