Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Populist/Progressive Message

Mike Lux takes an in depth look at swing districts. His overriding theme is that...

a populist/progressive message tends to out-perform a traditional John Kerry-esque establishment/liberal message in most swing districts. This goes against conventional wisdom that swing voters tend to be "office park dads" and other Mark Penn/DLC swing voter constructs.
Lux tested his theory by looking at districts that are held by Democrats, but lean Republican in Presidential elections.
I counted 22 members of Congress who have clearly run either progressive message campaigns, been champions of progressive issues in Congress, or both. They include some newcomers like Hodes and Shea-Porter from NH, Braley from IA, Hall and Gillibrand from NY. And they include some of the best populists in Congress who have been around for a while, like Obey from Wisconsin, DeFazio from Oregon, Doggett from Texas and Allen from Maine, members of Congress who survived many big Republican elections years. They include people like Phil Hare from the working-class Quad Cities area of Illinois, who beat back the Republican for an open seat in the Republican year of 2004, replacing another great progressive hero, Lane Evans, who had won that very marginal district election after election since 1982 despite being one of the most progressive members of Congress.

To claim, as many establishment Democrats do, that strong progressives can't win or keep marginal seats in Congress is simply not true. We need to constantly challenge that kind of conventional wisdom, and do our own candidate recruitment drives to get strong candidates.

Iowa's 4th District would definitely fit into this category. Hopefully, a candidate steps up and runs on a strong populist/progressive message.

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