The Many Benefits of Ned Lamont's Victory
by Chris Bowers, Wed Aug 09, 2006 at 04:08:20 PM EDT
- An Excited Base. No matter how you measure base excitement, I think it is pretty clear now that Dems are revved up. 43% turnout in an August primary is phenomenal. Volunteers were generated by the thousands. 22,000 unaffiliated voters switched their registration to Democrats in the last three months. The progressive movement now has a huge ownership stake in the Democratic Party. Add it all up--huge rank and file turnout, an energized activist base, the progressive movement working with the party, and droves of new registered Democrats--and you have many of the necessary ingredients that for a winning formula nationwide in November.
- Better Messaging. With Ned Lamont's victory, we will now see far fewer Democrats in Washington and elsewhere take the easy path to media stardom that the corporate media had provided for Democrats since the mid-1980's: talk about liberals and/or Democrats in the same way Republicans talk about liberals and/or Democrats. No one will want to be the next Joe Lieberman, and as such this victory will change Democratic behavior. This will now make it much more difficult for Republicans to close Daou's triangle on a variety of issues, as they quickly will find a shortage of elected Democrats willing to use anti-Democratic Republican talking points. Thus, the more partisan messaging will make it far more difficult for conservatives and Republicans to dominate the conventional wisdom narratives of our national political discourse. This will also mean fewer "Democrats divided" narratives in the media, and help us slowly begin building toward greater message clarity. Today we already have seen how Lamont's victory this defeat freed up Senator Dodd on Iraq and Emmanuel on Bush. This is just the beginning.
- Party Unity. Seeing all of the Ned Lamont's endorsements come in today reminded me of what it was like to be a Democrat during the Social Security fight in early 2005. Up and down the line, the Democratic leadership came through and did the right thing. By endorsing Ned Lamont and the primary process, Democratic leaders endorsed party democracy, and the will of the people they represent. This is how we keep our coalition from flying apart: by using mutually agreed upon, democratic mechanisms to settle our disputes. I now see no reason why the Democratic establishment and the progressive movement will not be able to work together for the foreseeable future. Our combined electoral capabilities should be a sight to behold.
It is too bad that a certain egomaniacal, George Bush love-child couldn't care less about the Democratic Party. Of course, since Lieberman had spent years trashing Democrats while using Republican talking points in order to make himself look better, many of us had known for years that he was a Party of One. The important thing now is for the media to realize that Joe Lieberman is not a Democrat--his party is now Connecticut for Lieberman. They need to post that below his name in all his media appearances from now on. Instead of "Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-CT," his byline should now read "Sen. Joe Lieberman, CT for Lieberman--CT."