Why the 50 State Strategy Worked

Clearly what we're seeing with the new electoral map is a repudiation of the received wisdom that certain states simply don't matter anymore. Case in point, in the south, Obama's victory in Florida secured his win - and gains in Colorado, and Virginia helped his campaign to turn a corner.

So, the 50 state strategy worked. Dean was right.

Whats interesting is not whether it worked, given that there was 600 Million dollars from the largest donor base in the history of American politics - fed into the system. Instead, I would argue - why.

America is no longer a collection of Red and Blue states.  Thats what Obama said. But there's more. We are also a country that utilizes the Internet to help guide our voting decisions.

Think for a second , how the internet so easily traverses borders. If we write a good post here at MyDD, it could be read in restrictive areas of Communist Nations, argued about by someone in North Korea, with comments from London, Germany and Australia to follow.

Why not, the 50 states? Here in Atlanta, we see alot of people from Florida flying through to their destination. Georgia does alot of business with Florida.  

My point is that the United States, is now like the Internet.  Although different states follow different ideas, a bit like different websites focus on different things - the idea of a "blogosphere" where the facts are ferreted out and subjected to fact-check and scrutiny - has caught on in a big way. Just as inter-state voting patterns - such as Colorado, and New Mexico- can affect even places like Arizona (which ultimately went to McCain, no surprise - but by how much - this was the Senators +home state+ no less). Every campaign here on out is an internet campaign, every voter an internet voter, and every presidential race, a 50 state strategy.

What do you think?

Tags: 50 state strategy, Blogosphere, dean, electoral success, Net, obama (all tags)



Re: Why the 50 State Strategy Worked

By the way, this is particular important for my state right now - because we had a serious bush republican running for the senate that used misleading TV advertising to get where he is.

It seems the net can counter misleading advertising and make it backfire.  ?
If Martin makes it to a run-off against Chambliss, we'll know that to be true.

by Trey Rentz 2008-11-05 04:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the 50 State Strategy Worked

Martin seems to have been able to do the impossible, coming back from 29 points down to force Saxby into a run-off, the GA. count is now at 96% with Martin still holding Saxby below the magic 50 percent number (49.9)

by Trey Rentz 2008-11-05 07:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the 50 State Strategy Worked

Is anyone giving Howard Dean and the DNC any credit at all for the Democratic victories in this election cycle?

Let's raise our glasses to this man because he had the insight to know a few years ago what it would take to bring the Democrats back. Bush helped but without Dean we could be looking at a lot of moderate Republicans running the show.

by shyboy 2008-11-05 04:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the 50 State Strategy Worked

Ruy Teixeira was right that is for sure.

The map is changing and in the Donkey's favor.

With CO, NV, VA, and NC all becoming legit purple states Democrats have more paths to victory now than having to win 2 out of 3 in FL, OH, and PA.

Going forward I think Republicans will be on best even electoral footing, and at worst, looking a the map more like Kerry did, having to piece together a narrow strategy with no room for error.

by RichardFlatts 2008-11-05 05:04AM | 0 recs
With all due respect

Your post seems to imply that Florida was one of those states that people thought "didn't matter", when in fact it was ground zero in the previous two elections.

by Mayor McCheese 2008-11-05 05:21AM | 0 recs
Re: With all due respect

No, I was saying that Virginia, and Florida are southern states and that the pundits were saying that "you could win without the south".

Virginia, especially, seems to be key - and I am also arguing that Florida needs to be counted as a southern state. I agree it was a battleground, but Virginia was not - and nobody expected the Senate to deliver a seat from a deep, deep red state like GA. but now it appears that a Senate seat is in the works -

I'm also arguing that Deans successful 50 state strategy, was such a success because he's grasped the essential character of the country -
we are no longer a nation of red states, blue states, or battleground states.

I can see how the argument that you have to focus on state X or state Y , will work if the other states next to it don't influence it. But right now I'm more influenced by a blogger in California, an out of work software Developer in Washington State, a big sky guy in Montana that runs a pretty good website, and an overweight but affable filmmaker in Flint Michigan - than I am my neighbor, or his yard signs - or even the local environment.

So. Thats what I was trying to say. Sorry if it got lost in the count. yeah, Florida was important. You're right about that.

by Trey Rentz 2008-11-05 07:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the 50 State Strategy Worked

I think that God for Howard Dean, that's what I think.

by Nathan Empsall 2008-11-05 05:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the 50 State Strategy Worked

Thank God for Howard Dean!  Thats what you're saying?

Have to agree there. The Doc's backbone transplant to the Dem party seems to have taken hold. =)

by Trey Rentz 2008-11-05 07:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the 50 State Strategy Worked

Whoops! Yes, I meant to say I "I think that I thank God..."

I'm thinking not just about the backbone transplant, but the fact that he was the one who came up with and implemented the 50 state strategy as Chairman, laying the groundwork in 06 for Obama to use it in 08.

by Nathan Empsall 2008-11-05 09:46AM | 0 recs
Only partially worked, but clearly right strategy

See, there is no denying that NC and IN have a lot to do with the 50 state strategy and Barack's message and supreme organizational skills. FL, CO, OH, NM, MO  were not exactly deep-red states (Clinton won them also)-ones that were also affected by the economy  which clearly helped reinforce Barack's message. Also, the house pickup is not as strong as we wanted it to be and also in a more targeted strategy we may have picked up the OR and MN senate seats (okay, we may still pick up MN seat).  So, I think the strategy worked to varying degrees.

But regardless of the extent to which it worked,I think this is the right strategy. The message we have is right and there is no point in just conceeding that somehow we will not be able to convince more people with the merits of our arguments. So 50 state strategy is correct; regardless of whether we get electoral benefits that we want it to.

by ann0nymous 2008-11-05 06:29AM | 0 recs

The "50-state strategy", whatever that entails, could not have been effective without the prevailing economic climate in the red states.

Don't tell me that the map has been redrawn because people in red states have seen the light of moderation and even liberal ideas.  Florida has approved to amend its constitution banning same-sex marriage and any kind of same-sex civil unions.  And there are a number of similar examples.

If Wall Street didn't crash and if people's 401k weren't threatened the way they are now, your 50-state strategy would have been reduced to the usual local battles revolving around morality and fear.

by Sieglinde 2008-11-05 07:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the 50 State Strategy Worked

Fair enough. Personally, I never bought in to the "Can't win without the south argument" anyway. It's HARDER to win without some of those EVs, but not impossible. Gore and Kerry came close. If Gore had carried NH, and still lost FL, he would have won

by Mayor McCheese 2008-11-05 08:06AM | 0 recs
All states matter

as do all cities, suburbs, towns, counties, etc.  Dems should never leave anything on the table.

Dean's strategy did have an odd and harmful backlash in that it seemed initially to attract a somewhat divisive, inexperienced and heavily opinionated group of new voters.   The sexist backlash was and is disgraceful. Let's hope Dems put an end to it very soon.

by Betsy McCall 2008-11-05 09:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the 50 State Strategy Worked

50 state strategy works when you are running the first AA candidate who just happens to have 4 times as much money as the other guy....

And the current president wants to torture people and spy on Americans while violating the US constitution.

50 state strategy will be tested first non Obama candidate that runs.

If you have 200 mill and they have 200 mill and you spend it in alaska you are probably going to lose.

If you have 1,000 mill and they have 200 mill you can still fight every single race and have money for Alaska etc.

by dtaylor2 2008-11-05 10:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the 50 State Strategy Worked

Also a large part of Obama voters were not voting FOR him but rather AGAINS the GOP.

Those voters are probably one time friends.

And Obama was unable to articulate his message forced to veil the real intent of what he will do as its probably not very popular.

For example,  Would you rather have higher taxes and more equitable distribution of wealth or lower taxes and a larger rich poor divide has in recent history gone the GOP direction and will likely do so again.  

Obama had to dance around that to get many of the cross over GOP and libertarians and that only works one time.

by dtaylor2 2008-11-05 10:20AM | 0 recs

by edg1 2008-11-05 10:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the 50 State Strategy Worked

Rich people tend to be old.

Many of the older people in this country who are now in their 50+ grew up in the 60s

Martin Luther King, JFK, RFK were all political figures that told them one day it would be possible for a black president.

Those of us who are younger don't understand the level of racism present in the 50s and 60s.

We don't understand that the civil rights was that generation's youtube.

It changed who they were.

For those people giving $2300 was a once in a life fullfilment of a lifelong promise.

Even Obama won't raise this kind of money next time.

Its only 50 states because JFK's death was viewed in 50 states.
Its only 50 states because MLK's death was viewed in 50 states.
Its only 50 states because RFK's death was viewed in 50 states.

Dean didn't create that wealth base.
Dean didn't create that desire to spend a large portion of their income for a black president.

Dean may claim credit for the volunteer base but the money came from the civil rights era.

by dtaylor2 2008-11-05 10:47AM | 0 recs


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