by Matt Stoller, Wed Aug 09, 2006 at 08:39:37 AM EDT
Now, there's no telling what the turnout will be in the fall, but for the first time there's a good reason to sense that people will go to the polls voting with a real choice. Already, candidates across the country are branding themselves as Ned Lamont Democrats, or being branded as such. So whether you like it or not, the Democratic Party is finally unified, and it's unified around the progressives wing of the party. The Democratic Party has rejected Bush and his enablers, and held itself accountable for its own errors. This should give a lot of people confidence that the Democratic Party is willing to hold Bush and the Republican leadership accountable for their criminal activities.
There are also a lot of tactical lessons here in terms of turnout. The internet works extremely well when it's paired with an effective media and field campaign. The Dean campaign couldn't build the field operation in time, and the paid media side wasn't very good. For the first time with Lamont, we saw an integrated internet-message-field campaign, and it worked really well among its targeted universe. This makes sense. The media messaging created a context for conversation, the internet supplied that conversation, and the field campaign organized around that conversation. If you hear compelling ideas from enough sources, and then a friend asks you to act on those ideas, you do.
Finally, the informal alliance between African-American progressives, white progressive organizers and bloggers, and disaffected union members can beat any Democrat in any primary anywhere in the country. If you can attach an effective general election strategy to that alliance, we have a progressive America. I believe there's name for such a strategy, though I can't seem to figure out what it is. Gosh, I just can't remember. Oh yeah, it starts with an I or something like that.