Muddled Middle: Endangered Species

I’ve already criticized the foolish Democratic strategy of ignoring our base and concentrating on winning the “Muddle-of-the-Road Terminally Undecideds”. A bit more ammunition from over on MyDD (always a wealth of political insight):

… the Bush pollster discovered that the traditional swing voter was fast becoming an endangered species as only 7 percent of the electorate in 2004 had voted independently of party loyalties. …. “Rove instantly recognized the significance of the numbers. ‘Really,’ he said, grabbing the sheet from Dowd’s hands, his voice rising with excitement. ‘Man, this is a fundamental change.'”

So the Republicans have been winning and winning by energizing their base and getting them out to vote, and the Democrats have been consistently losing by running away from their base and running to that vanishing middle. Kerry tried it against Bush (saying he’d do the same things as Bush in Iraq, but somehow it would all work better if a Democrat did it) … and he lost. Jeanne Carnahan tried it against Jim Talent (I still remember her debate with Talent in Columbia where Jeanne said, “But I voted with the President [Bush] 83% of the time!” and Jim responded, “But that’s not good enough”) … and Jeanne lost. And Claire McCaskill lost to Blunt. In fact, running to the middle has never been a winning strategy for Democrats. The only example they try to point to–Bill Clinton–where running to the middle supposedly won is spoiled by the fact that Ross Perot gave the presidency to Clinton by taking 20% of the vote, and taking more from the Republicans than from the Democrats (all protestations from James Carville to the contrary).

The way to win is to run to your base–your core constituency groups, and try to break up the alliance of core constituency groups of the other side … and let the Muddled Middle work themselves out. Losing the votes of the middle 7% is insignificant compared to seeing 20% of your base get sick and tired of being ignored and deciding to sit this one out.

Until Howard Dean came around, the main Democratic strategy was to tell the Unions, Blacks, and Progressives, “You have to come out and work for us. Sure, we’ve done nothing for you, we’ve taken corporate cash and worked for the interests of the corporations and the rich just like the Republicans do. But we’re not as bad as they are, so you have to choose the lesser evil.”

Well, not only has it been a morally corrupt strategy, it has been a loser of a strategy. How many more Democrats have to lose before they stop using it?


3 Responses to Muddled Middle: Endangered Species

  1. 曷캠簀Ꚓe Belosi says:

    So what this is saying is to pay attention to the Blacks, unions and progressives and then Democrats win. I think the Republicans have won by stealing votoes. The 2 brothers who provide 70 % of the voting machines, Diebold and Esso companies. They have gone as far as to say they would deliver the state of Florida to bush in 2000 and they are HEAVY contributor’s to the Re[ublican party are a BIG part o0f why the Dems have lost . This needs to spread far and wide.Then maybe a trhird party will get a chance and we will get achance to have a real person in the Presidency as opposed to a wealthy person who will take care of their own.The U.S. needs some big changes.

  2. numen says:

    Democrats lost long before voting machines came in. Democrats lost when the “Reagan Democrats” voted for, well, Reagan. Democrats lost because thirty years ago the party leaders started taking corporate cash from the same folks who bought off the Republicans, and Democratic leaders started betraying their base.

    So I’m not saying Dems can win by starting to listen to their base, but that they lost by forgetting to do it long ago. Getting the trust back will take a long, long time.

    In the meantime, if Dems want to win, they might do it by taking advantage of the fact that the Republicans have been betraying their base even more, and the Republican base might be even more pissed at their leaders than the Democratic base is with ours.

    But to do that they have to start listening instead of just blathering. And politicians seem to have a very difficult time learning that the way to gain trust is by listening, not by talking.

  3. […] The world has changed in the last few decades, and the old, worn-out category of Left vs Right with some vast middle in between no longer applies to reality (just as the idea of a vast middle class in this country is about to fade into oblivion too). And when politicians now try to “run to the middle” they are lying to themselves and to us. What they are really doing is simply running to the corporate cash and trying to say as little about any issues as possible in order to disguise the fact that they are about to sell out the voters on all sides to the highest corporate bidder. […]

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