End Game on Bush's Approval: Realignment

In November, seven public polling organizations have done approval polls on Bush. Here is a summary table of their findings (mostly from polling report):
Poll	  Date	   Approve    Disapprove    Gap
Fox	  11/9	     36 	  53	    -17
AP	  11/9	     37 	  61	    -24
NBC	  11/7	     38 	  57	    -19
Pew	  11/6	     36 	  55	    -19
ABC	  11/2	     39 	  60	    -21
Zogby	  11/2	     39 	  61	    -22
CBS	  11/1	     35 	  57	    -22
Mean	  ----	     37.1	  57.7	   -20.6
This is really, really bad. However, just how bad it is has not yet sunk in to the country at large. Taking a long view, this is the second lowest approval of any President over the last 25 years. Clinton never sunk to these lows (his lowest poll was -14). Reagan never sunk to these lows, although he did have a -21 approval poll in early 1983. In fact, the only President since Carter to sink to this low point over the last twenty five years was Bush's father from June through October of 1992. Even then, Bush Sr. never reached 61% disapproval. In fact, besides Bush Jr., only Nixon has hit that high point in the last 50 years.

So where does all this lead? We busted through the 40 point floor a long time ago. We have now busted the 60% disapproval ceiling. What's next--29% disapproval? Is that our goal? And after that, is it another arbitrary number? Or is Bush's resignation / impeachment our goal?

In a word, no. Now that we have passed 60% disapproval, there are no more numeric goals when it comes to Bush's disapproval. Sub-35 would be nice, but it is not necessary. The goal now is realignment. Bush's disapproval is so high, and his position as the face of the Republican Party is so assured, that it is now possible to envision a vast national realignment away from the Republican Party based primarily on backlash against Bush-ism (aka, contemporary conservatism). Bush Sr.'s extended period of disapproval at this level led to the Perot and 1994 realignment, which helped us greatly in 1992 but on which we utterly failed to capitalize in 1994. Carter's extended period of disapproval led to the 1980 realignment, which saw Republicans sweep the senate and the White House, as well as the first serious defections of Dixiecrats from the Democratic Party. Johnson's extended struggles from 1966-1968 also led to a realignment in 1968.

Bush's approval is now low enough for a realignment to take place in 2006 and 2008. A realignment is far more important to Democrats and progressives than Bush's impeachment or resignation could ever be. This is a generational event and, considering the timing of previous realignments, 1968, 1980 and 1992-4, the timing also suggests that the opportunity is ripe. Also, the realignment will clearly come from Independents, not disaffected Republicans, as Jerome first envisioned several months ago, and as I have also documented as well. As Ruy Teixiera has called it, the opportunity before us is the Indycrat realignment.

This is it. This is our chance--our once in a generation window. If we keep Bush's approval low, results like we saw for Paul Hackett on August 2nd and across the country on November 8th will become the norm. Apart from withdrawal, I'm not even sure we need a major platform adjustment or roll-out. People pretty much already know what we stand for. As long as they grow convinced that Bushism doesn't work, they will come over to our side.

We probably won't get another chance like this for at least another decade, so we have to make it count. There are 1089 days between now and November 4th, 2008, the day of the next Presidential election. Make it happen.

Tags: Republicans (all tags)



Or is Bush's resignation / impeachment our goal?
Yes.. its my goal.
by Winston Smith 2005-11-11 02:05PM | 0 recs
Gotta think biger than that
Bush is just one guy. I'd rather have an extremely unpopular Bush in officethat brings down the entire Republican coalition and results in a new, vast Democratic majority. That's a lot better than having him resign.
by Chris Bowers 2005-11-11 02:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Gotta think biger than that
Yes, the ONE way to blow this is for us to become obsessed with impeaching and convicting the president.  It's foolish, immature, and a waste of time.  The people do not want impeachment.  They want change.  Let's give them change.

I would rather have that guy as the face of their party for as long as possible.

by jgarcia 2005-11-11 03:32PM | 0 recs
I Agree, But...
President Pelosi has such a nice ring to it.

And John McCain would probably not even bother trying to run against her in 2008.

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-11-11 06:32PM | 0 recs
Re: I Agree, But...
John McCain could, can and will beat ANYONE who is foolish enough to run against him in '08.  There's a reason he's the most popular politican in America, it's not by accident.  As for the idea of a President Pelosi...Osama bin Laden has a better shot of being elected Mayor of NYC than she has of becoming President.  She's a camera hungry, '60's acid riddled SF Bay area deuche bag and her eyes are too big.  I wouldn't fuck that with your dick.
by realrepublican1854 2005-11-15 04:26AM | 0 recs
Best Idea Posted on a Blog Yet!
Ya think Big. I like it. I want to revist 1932:

That year The Democratic party won:

3 open senate seats PLUS defeat 9 incumbents;

101 Republican House seats for a total 313 House seats;

and of course, 472 EV for President.

I realize with redistricting this is realistically out of reach, but I think we can take back both Houses. Engineering a realignment would go along way towards that goal. So what's the plan?

by molly bloom 2005-11-11 02:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Best Idea Posted on a Blog Yet!
I'll say this.  If we don't win back both in 2006 (we will make huge in roads), we will definately do it in 2008.  Senate will be tough in 2006 but doable...  I am confident though that we will take back the house in 2006 and end Hastert's reign of terror.
by yitbos96bb 2005-11-11 02:49PM | 0 recs
Bush Doesn't Get It
Unfortunetly, bush is dylexic, so when he sees these polls, he thinks he's doing great. And every time he gives a speech, with the audience cheering him, Rove didn't tell him the crowds consist of military people or handpicked idiots who (pardon the use of this word) think like him. Bush just doesn't get it.
by blogus 2005-11-11 02:16PM | 0 recs
I don't think people know what we stand for
We have dropped the ball on letting people know what we stand for--and we don't do enough to remind people of the unbelievably unpopular crap the Republicans stand for.

We need to remind people that Democrats saved Social Security from an idiotic Bush plan, that Democrats favor taxing wealth not work (borrowing from John Edwards), that Democrats are for a strong safety net and for a strong Medicare program that doesn't include huge giveaways to big drug companies, etc.

by desmoinesdem 2005-11-11 02:22PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't think people know what we stand for
I am with you. I don't think that people know what the dems stand for. Tho I voted Gore in 2000, I recall telling people that Gore and Bush were essentially the same, and probably would do the same once in office (boy was I wrong...).

I still do not see what the Dem vision is to rescue America from spiralling deficits and corporate crime. I don't know what the dems plan to do to make No Child Left Behind work. I don't know what the plan is for withdraw with structure and peaceful transition in Iraq.

I know that it won't be years of Bush foolishness, and they will stop the excesses of Bush-ism.... but I don't see the Plan for Leadership. Harry and Howard - I need you to come through with this!

by daninvirginia 2005-11-11 04:05PM | 0 recs
Focus on the principals, policy and programs later
We stand for people, equal opportunity and economic fairness.

We stand for moral values in government: no lying to the American people, no torture, no profiteering, no fraud, graft or corruption.

We stand for freedom.  The government may not interfere with worship, reproductive rights, doctor patient relationships or any other issue not specifically granted to government in the constitution.

We stand for economic justice. The corporate "person" has no more rights than any individual person. Capitalism is encouraged, the negative excesses of capitalism must be mitigated or the system will perish. The corporate "bad actor" must be punished and rehabilitated in exactly the same way as any individual miscreant. We stand for economic opportunity for all. The economic system will not be allowed to turn a free American people into serfs serving the whims and caprice of a aristocracy based on unfair leverage of capital

We believe that government can be a force for good. Those who seek to destroy government threaten the fabric that holds our nation together.

We believe that government and those who lead and work for government should be held to the highest standards of ethics and behavior. Corruption, cronyism, fraud and profiteering in government are tantamount to treason. The mass transfer of wealth from the US Treasure to individuals and corporations must be stopped.

by MikeNormal 2005-11-11 04:52PM | 0 recs
Re: principals, policy and programs
Mostly agree, but I prefer "opportunity for all, not just a few."  That gets us away from the notion of "special rights" that the GOP has bludgeoned us with for decades, and puts the focus on their patronage for the rich, not ordinary people.  "Equal opportunity" reminds too many people of quotas.  

Chris' post is very important.  Especially the focus on realignment and legislative victories, not feel-good projects like impeachment.  We need to make the whole GOP the focus, not just Bush, and make it stick for a generation.

by Mimikatz 2005-11-12 07:08AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't think people know what we stand for
It looks like there is a good chance the Democrats will take power in Congress 2006.

However, without a solid agenda, they won't keep it.

by wayward 2005-11-11 06:46PM | 0 recs
Bush's disapproval ratings
It does not matter what we say or how high his disapproval ratings go. The republicans will continue to steal elections,as has been evidenced in the past 2 presidential cycles, as well as the 4     ohio referendum that failed. Even though exit polls showed overwhelming approval. Kerry (he of i will make sure every vote counts, but concedes before the votes are in) acknowledged that where there is electronic voting he scored a consistent 33.9 percent vote total and the rest going to Bush. So no matter what happens the republicans will continue to win, and the democrats will continue to bitch and moan and stay in denial.
by gartie 2005-11-11 02:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Bush's disapproval ratings
Or to ensure a win the Democrats could nominate someone whose Daddy has more money than USX to buy the election for him and as supportive back up have a corrupt Mayor, say in a city like Chicago, make sure that the votes of that town go in your direction and as a topper make your running mate the Senate Majority Leader from a state like, oh...Texas, who can deliver votes out of the rural western portion of his state regardless of whether those votes were cast using the names of people who died in the Apache Wars of the 1880's...just to make sure.
Oh wait...that scenario's already been used.
by realrepublican1854 2005-11-15 05:10AM | 0 recs
Chris, you wrote the following in your thread:

**I'm not even sure we need a major platform adjustment or roll-out.***

We get raked over the coals by almost every news agency out there for this kind of thinking. Oh, Bush is doing bad, and that is enough for us to take back Washington.  What is this fear that the Democratic Party seems to have of actually taking a position?

It is cold hard fact that illegal immigration and a pourous Southern Border are severely hurting the average Middle Class American.  Why not take a position that we are going to secure our border and return to their countries of origin all illegal aliens within our border?  Such a move if enacted and implemented would increase the Average Middle Class Americans income base by almost ten percent, and that beats any tax cut Bush wants to throw on the table.  OH!  Let me guess, such a stand is politically incorrect?  Who cares, may not be politically correct, but it is the only fair thing to do for those of us in the middle class.

How about a platform that calls for raising the minimum wage across the board (without exemptions) to say $8.50 and hour, with a ten year goal of seeing it reach $12.00 and hour.

How about a law that requires corporations to pay benefits to ALL EMPLOYEES, be they part or full time?  Using Walmart as and example, they have deliberately created a corporate policy that keeps most of their employees working at just under the full time status, which is why over 600,000 of their work force do not have health coverage.  Surely this is a goal we could have in our platform that would win over a majority in almost every state in the nation?

Social Security Bailout...how about a platform that promises the system will be bailed out, and those of us between 30-55 will not lose the retirement income we have planned on since we started working.  (At 50, the current plan to solve the solvency issues with Social Security would be devastating to my and my wife's retirement plans.)

The numbers are in favor of making a serious move, lets not miss the opportunity by trotting out the same old pablum.

by NYDragon 2005-11-11 03:07PM | 0 recs
See, that is the CW.  That we need a major idea.  While I agree that we need to talk more about economics, the surefire way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is to offer up some proposals that make the referendum on US and not on Bush/Republicans.  That's dumb.  We can always offer up policy stuff when we boot them out.  But to do it before takes the onus off of them and puts it on us and leaves us susceptible to attacks.

Remember, contrary to what Gingrich wants people to believe, the 1994 elections was purely a negative reaction against Clinton, not a reaction FOR the GIngrich Republicans.  I think that the assault weapons ban had WAY more of an effect in the negative than the Contract for America did in the positive.

by jgarcia 2005-11-11 03:37PM | 0 recs
The LA Times did a poll after the election, and found that most people hadn't even heard of the Contract on America. And those who had didn't know much--if anything--about what was in it.
by Paul Rosenberg 2005-11-11 06:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Precisely!
And, I would bet, the majority of that small minority who actually DID know what was in it voted Democratic.  Am I right?
by Alex 2005-11-12 08:41AM | 0 recs
Be careful with that anti-immigrant stuff. Return every illegal within our borders? Come on - that's the reality of America - we love our cheap labor and our permanent underclass. Immigrants fill a big hole in our labor force by taking low-wage jobs that few want. Jerry Kilgore played that card and it was shown for what it was - playing to base fears.

And lets face it, unless you are 100% native American, you are an illegal immigrant here.

by daninvirginia 2005-11-11 04:10PM | 0 recs
Disapprovals this high really indicate something; it's not that they are a cause, but an effect. The entire GOP infrastructure is crumbling very badly, the "independent" indies that went along with the "low taxes, strong military" mantra are seeing the basic limitations in the whole thing. It's impossible, imo, to get the disapproval level to this point just based on basic personality-type stuff alone. It's a repudiation of everything about Bush, not just of Bush.

It's not quite 1968; that was more geographic than this one. It's not quite 1992-4, that was more cyclical political jiggering, an extremely talented Democratic politician, and continuing geographic fallout of Southern realignment. It's closer to 1980, but the collapse of the GOP looks to be more spectacular because they are starting from a less strong position. But it has elements of all of them. If the Democrats play things about as well as they are doing now, and the GOP continues on the same path, it could be a perfect storm politically, a truly epochal realigment leaving the GOP shattered. I know it's hard to believe something so grand ... but I really think it's happening. I mean, Bush is already the lamest of lame ducks, and we've got three more years of the guy.

by BriVT 2005-11-11 03:11PM | 0 recs
I love Chris Bowers
But I would say that this is a good chance, but if realignment doesn't occur in 06, there is always 08. If the Dems actually govern well, ie close the border, balance the books, get America on a sustainable course for the 21st century, if the democrats govern well then they will be poised to win big in 2010. Why am I so concerned about 2010? Redistricting! That is the mother load.
by Paul Goodman 2005-11-11 03:42PM | 0 recs
You Can't Close The Border
Time to give up the bong-hits, man.

Didn't you watch The West Wing live debate?


by Paul Rosenberg 2005-11-11 06:38PM | 0 recs
What is scary...
from dubya's perspective is the amount of stuff that could go badly wrong.

There's so much out there that it's likely at least one or more of the following sends him sliding further:

Iraq (you name it)
Fitzgerald (several ways this could get worse)
Chalabi revelations
heating prices/frigid winter
GOP congress spins out of control
Alito revelation (not impossible)

What am I missing?

He needs to do something drastic...

New on EWM: "Rove out, Rover in."
Scaled down Bush agenda includes a "war on gingivitis" and plans to occupy Aruba.

by The Muse 2005-11-11 03:58PM | 0 recs
What am I missing?
Bike crash.
by Paul Rosenberg 2005-11-11 06:39PM | 0 recs
Out of touch
I hear people whine how negative I am but if you bother to look at local election as in twp and suburban election we lost badly on tuesday. I'm also a little worried that bush seems to beable to whine his way out every time he get in a hole and he's trying to do it again by muddying the waters
by orin76 2005-11-11 04:28PM | 0 recs
Impeach? Why?
The goal should be to acknowledge the International Criminal Court, cooperate with its investigations, and get this whole bunch of war criminals to The Hague if a warrant is issued.

The Bushies have done exactly what Saddam Hussein did. They've used chemical weapons. They've committed mass murder. They've invaded another country for oil.

But we as Americans are too biased to evaluate these facts. Let's stand for having the less-biased ICC adjudicate it, and be prepared to pay any penalty they demand.

Only then can the U.S. rejoin the company of nations.

Maybe we can't get that on 60% disapproval. Maybe it will take 70% or 80%. Whatever it takes, we have time to get there, if we keep hammering these bastards every single day.

All we need to stand for as a party is to acknowledge our existing treaty obligations, and to sign existing treaties. Extradition will be the natural result.

by Dana Blankenhorn 2005-11-11 04:38PM | 0 recs
Your Opposition to Impeachment: A Disservice
You said:

"So where does all this lead? We busted through the 40 point floor a long time ago. We have now busted the 60% disapproval ceiling. What's next--29% disapproval? Is that our goal? And after that, is it another arbitrary number? Or is Bush's resignation / impeachment our goal?

In a word, no"

A Democratic victory in 2006 and 2008, should be about more than just "Yay, team!!"  Your use of this public platform to dissuade fellow progressives from the task of impeaching and removing Bush/Cheney from power, is a disservice to our cause, that is the cause of the United States of America.

We owe a duty to the Nation to impeach Bush and Cheney, and to make them the first two removed from office for high crimes and misdemeanors, if not treason, as well.

We owe a duty to future generations to show the type of conduct that will not be tolerated: lying to get us into wars we cannot get out of; playing GI Joe with other people's kids lives, when you were too cowardly to serve yourself, and when your own children do not serve; outing CIA agents; robbing from the poor and giving to the rich, etc.

I could go on and on.  Anyone on this blog could, as well.

Impeachment/removal will be America's answer to South Africa's Truth & Reconciliation Commission.  The South Africans put an end to their evil (apartheid), by means of that device.  Impeachment and removal will be our device to put the evil of the Bush years to an end.

It will also be a signal to foreign governments, that the American values they respect, "are back in town".

Finally, we have a very practical reason to impeach/remove these bastards: so they don't pardon every last member of the current Bush regime.  

by jfrankesq 2005-11-11 04:47PM | 0 recs
(Snarkiness Alert On)...
"results like we saw for Paul Hackett on August 2nd and across the country on November 8th will become the norm."

Umm...I hope you don't mean this literally, or else we'll be looking at 435 "just barely" losses...

(Yes, I know what you meant, I keed, I keed...couldn't resist :))

by Brainwrap 2005-11-11 04:57PM | 0 recs
I think your generational window is a bit narrow
I was around in 1980 (although not aware) and 1992 (athough blissfully ignorant).

God willing, I'll be around for the next one as well in another 20 years.

But humor aside, I agree this is a major window of opportunity. It is the fickle middle that swings public opinion. Right now they are swinging our way. Impeaching Bush would be nice, but turning the country away from the Republicans and the Right would be more lasting.

by michael in chicago 2005-11-11 05:08PM | 0 recs
We don't have to change anything we stand for
All we need to do is get off the gun control bandwagon and we'll stop alienating all those Nascar dads.  Gun control ought to be a local (county/town) issue.  Urbanites don't understand what guns mean (culturally) to country boys.  It isn't about killing anything, (most gun owners don't even go hunting) it's about recognizing the responsibility of people who were "raised on guns" to be responsible with them.  Treating these people as criminals (only time I've ever been fingerprinted) is insulting (being profiled).  Take this issue away from the right (make the NRA fight locally) and all they'll have left is billionaires and Christian fanatics -not enough to win EVER.  I'm a blue collar guy in a red state and the people I know who vote with the right do so because the left treats them like they can't be trusted with something they grew up with and know about.  It's the insult to their competence and responsibility that makes it so they can't vote for dems,  They (mostly) don't care that much about abortions or gays, they just don't want some twerp from NY telling them they aren't responsible adults.  They go pro-life because they tell themselves, "you don't trust me with my gun, why should I trust you with your body (pencilneck)".  Dean had this right and I hope somebody listens.  We don't have to pander on values.
by steveketchup 2005-11-11 05:51PM | 0 recs
This is both

(1) anecdotal crap--do you have ANY solid data to back up your claims about voter atttitudes?--


(2) a severe misrepresentation of what Democrats want in the way of federal gun control laws.

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-11-11 06:44PM | 0 recs
By solid data I assume you mean polls etc.  No, I don't.  I canvassed extensively in a red/purple state last year, talking to actual people and drew conclusions from what they said aside from the polling questions.  I also work and live with rednecks.  

Anecdotes are as revelatory as polls are, whether it's Clinton talking about his drunk stepfather or Reagan telling a story about the letter he got from a fourth-grade girl.  

It might behoove dems to think more about (anecdotal) individuals and less about polls.  Kaine (like Cuomo in the 80's) won opposing the death penalty when most of the voters were for it, because he presented himself as an honest (non-pandering) man and people were willing to accept that they disagreed with him.

That's bullshit.  Like I said, getting my firearm permit is the only time I've ever been fingerprinted and mugshotted (just like a crimminal),  I don't suppose you've done this.  I had to go to a safety course (provided free by the NRA, btw -not the state that required me to go to it).  I think the safety course was good, but to 90% of us there, it was stuff we learned from our dads when we were kids.

Dean expressed this very well and was attacked for it by urban liberals.  I have friends with stars and bars stickers on their pickups -none of them (my friends) are bigots, they just hate being told what to do, and judged (snottily) by people who don't have any idea of what their lives are like.  They'd mostly love to vote against "rich bastards', but they can't take the insulting obliviousness of "city people" who know what's better for them than they do for themselves.

by steveketchup 2005-11-12 06:03AM | 0 recs
I Get A Mugshot With My Driver's License
Sorry, dude, but your narcissistic ass gets no sympathy from me.  I've gotten a mugshot every time I've gotten a new driver's license.  Doesn't make me feel like a criminal in the least.

Heck, when I went to jail for protesting the Vietnam War, I got a mugshot and fingerprint for real--and it still didn't make me feel like a criminal. I felt like a patriot. Because I was. And I knew it.

If that routine procedure makes you feel like a criminal, then I suggest that the problem is inside your head.  And you aren't nearly as "fiercely independent" as you imagine yourself to be.

This gets to the real core of my complaint.  You see, I don't think it's about guns at all. If the Dems changed their position on guns, you just find something else to hang your hats on.  You're real problem is femiphobia, as Steven Ducat argues in The Wimp Factor.  And Democrats backing down on what they believe to try and buy off the voters you're talking about--it won't work, because it will come across as wimpish.

(p.s. This is the same point you yourself touched on when you mentioned Cuomo and the death penalty.)

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-11-12 07:32AM | 0 recs
Re: I Get A Mugshot With My Driver's License
I got fingerprinted and mug-shotted when I became a teacher and then again when I became a foster parent.

Honestly, both of those things are way more important than being a gun owner. Both benefit society a lot more. Sorry for the arrogant horn-tooting.....

by daninvirginia 2005-11-12 09:07AM | 0 recs
Re: I Get A Mugshot With My Driver's License
Can someone tell me what the relevance of being fingerprinted and mugshotted is to this conversation?
by desertjedi 2005-11-14 09:39AM | 0 recs
Re: I Get A Mugshot With My Driver's License
Steveketchups initial comment about his gun permit.
by yitbos96bb 2005-11-20 12:50AM | 0 recs
I don't think it's true
If Bush voters simply find a new excuse not to vote Dem then Bush would not be at 36%. Some hardcore voters can't be convinced but many can be.

Steve is right and I hope the natioanl party realizes it. Do you think Warner would have won on an NY-type anti-gun platform? Of course not.

by GT 2005-11-12 09:39AM | 0 recs
You Guys Don't Know What You're Talking About
Kerry was fricken hunter, as well as a Vietnam Vet. Went hunting on the campaign trail, for cryin' out loud.  

And they voted against him because he "looked French."

Gimme a break!

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-11-12 03:58PM | 0 recs
No one really believed he was a hunter.

It's quite simple really. Gun control makes sense in NYC. It kills Dems in red states so let's avoid it. It's idiotic to make it a national issue.

by GT 2005-11-12 06:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Sadly
"It's idiotic to make it a national issue." Absolutely! Guns have not only been a tradition in rural America but for reasons of practicality as well.

I think it would be a brilliant strategy for the Dems to announce that gun control should be something that should be addressed at the local level. Obviously, gun control would be very popular in S.F. and absolutely loathsome in Podunk, Kansas. Gun control is probably most effective in large urban centers. In small rural towns, I would imagine that the lack of gun control is not causing a crisis of violent crime.

Steve, somewhere above, so aptly painted this picture of smalltown America where hunters and other people simply want don't want to be told whether or not they can own guns...responsibly.

I think if we went with this strategy, we could completely diffuse the age-old GOP attack that states that Dems are pro-gun-control. That could net us alot of votes going forward.

by desertjedi 2005-11-14 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Sadly
Right there is the Democrats problem and why you folks have lost lo these many years and why you'll continue to lose..."Podunck, Kansas"???  You folks have no respect nor regard for "middle" America.  The word on Main Street is that the Democratic Party is full of "intellectual" East Coast elitists and you just proved them right by calling half of the populace "Podunck"
by realrepublican1854 2005-11-14 11:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Sadly
Lets see, I live in middle america and no, that isn't the word.  The current word is that Bush screwed up the war, can't find bin laden, doesn't give a damn about anyone who isn't rich, and has put us so deep in debt it is negatively affecting the country.  

So no, you are wrong.  Most of us in middle america think the GOP have the country so FUBARed, that a change is needed.  

by yitbos96bb 2005-11-20 12:47AM | 0 recs
Re: I Get A Mugshot With My Driver's License
Wow the trolls have come out tonight.  I wonder why the freepers have decided to hit MYDD lately.  They weren't doing this last year... they really are scared.  Fun to see.
by yitbos96bb 2005-11-20 12:48AM | 0 recs
Yes, when I got a contracting job for the government.  They fingerprint you for clearances.  
by yitbos96bb 2005-11-20 12:43AM | 0 recs
And law enforcement.  Please remember that many anti-gun platforms are favored by law enforcement.  
by yitbos96bb 2005-11-20 12:54AM | 0 recs
Re: We don't have to change anything we stand for
Treating these people as criminals (only time I've ever been fingerprinted) is insulting (being profiled).

I was fingerprinted, and will be fingerprinted again at five year intervals, as a condition of being certified a teacher.

Get over it.

by Davis X Machina 2005-11-12 07:54AM | 0 recs
These Guys Are Punks With Insecure Manhood Issues
That's why I say it has nothing to do with guns.  Or rather, it has everything to do with guns, but if Dems changed on guns, they would find something else to fixate on, and despise the Dems all the more for caving in on guns.

Fortunately, there are a lot fewer of them than they realize.  They think that anyone who's ever shot a gun is as messed up as they are.

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-11-12 04:02PM | 0 recs
Re: These Guys Are Punks With Insecure...
Yes, there would always be other issues (feminism, for example) but keep in mind that the entire South used to be Blue.

I think these "gun-toting rednecks" are a lot smarter than some give them credit for. The key is to effectively deal with their important local issues. We cannot assume that the South will always be "red". I'm reading a book on the "impending Democratic majority" and the history of voting patterns in the US is incredibly eye-opening.

by desertjedi 2005-11-14 10:11AM | 0 recs
Re: These Guys Are Punks With Insecure...
Please remember WHY they were blue, because the Republican party was the party of Lincoln and freed the slaves.  The South's party affiliation deals with race.  They started switching to the GOP after the Civil Rights Act, with the exception of mass voting for Carter in 1976.  Reagan was the final nail, and the south has been pretty solid red with the exception of a few defectors during the clinton presidency.
by yitbos96bb 2005-11-20 12:58AM | 0 recs
He doesn't need to get over it
His point is that there are gun nut out there, who agree with us on every other issue, yet vote for Republicans because of the gun issue.  There are millions of single issue pro-gun voters, and they live in states we need to win.

They won't get over it, so they pull the R lever.

If we all get NRA memberships, yet keep every other progressive policy we stand for, we can easily win the House, the Senate, and the presidency by huge margins.

There are three groups of people who vote for Republicans:

  1. I HATE TAXES!!!!
  2. Crazy wingnut theorcrats.
  3. Gun nuts.

Most gun nuts are not rich nor especially religious.  They can easily be picked off.  That's why sometimes we can elect Democratic governors in red states-because they are gun nuts too.
by Geotpf 2005-11-12 04:03PM | 0 recs
I Know You Gun Nuts Hate Reality
but do you have ONE iota of data to back up all your bluster???
by Paul Rosenberg 2005-11-12 06:03PM | 0 recs
Re: I Know You Gun Nuts Hate Reality
It is reality, dude.  The 'manhood issues' ad hominem crap is the bullshit.  My point is: do you want the votes or not?

I object a bit to the designation "gun nuts".  I don't happen to be one of them anyway, I just know / work with a lot of them.  For the most part they're just fairly simple guys.  What urban people don't understand is that for a lot of country boys having your dad teach you to shoot and give you a 22 for your 12th birthday (after you've proven your rwesponsibility) is a secular equivalent of a bar mitzvah.

Personally this isn't an issue I cared about until I canvassed and realized how many votes we lose because of it.  I talked to dozens of people daily who agreed with dems about everything else and still said they'd vote for Bu$h because of this.  Kerry the hunter didn't sell them, his shotgun cost more than their trucks.  Kerry the veteran let himself get swiftboated and didn't fight back.

Anyway, bottom line is:  "Do you want the votes or not?"

by steveketchup 2005-11-13 05:49AM | 0 recs
Re: I Know You Gun Nuts Hate Reality
In addition, all these guys fathers were dems until the gun issues came up in the late seventies.  As much as anything else that created Reagan democrats.  If we get them back we'll have the kind of majorities we had from FDR until '94 without pandering to and/or caving into Xtians or biznuts like Hillary et al want us to do.  Shitting on people you don't understand is no way to build a party -it's what repugs do.  
by steveketchup 2005-11-13 06:01AM | 0 recs
and one more thing
No matter how many laws and bureaucracies you create, they won't change the reality of availability (30 yrs of gun laws haven't reduced crime rates).  Gun control is as useless as the war on drugs.  Neither of these will ever work.  They both fail for the same reason.  They attempt to pre-empt crime by designating potential criminals in advance of any crime being committed.  Better than hassling some schlub who'll never hurt anybody would be to have mandatory life sentences for anyone who pointed a gun at another human being.  If drug users commit crimes, bust them for that.  The pre-emptive idea (see Iraq) is un-american.


by steveketchup 2005-11-13 06:36AM | 0 recs
Re: and one more thing
You're absolutely right, Steve. Gun control doesn't work and is an abysmal failure. And as you implied in another post, I think the best approach is to treat this as a local issue and let local people decide.
by desertjedi 2005-11-14 09:58AM | 0 recs
Re: I Know You Gun Nuts Hate Reality
I am not the poster you're refering to, but I don't need any "data" because I fucking am ONE!  I used to vote Republican all the time, until the Dems got off the gun shit.  I voted GOP in 1994 and 1996 because of the assault weapons ban.  I am a progressive on EVERYTHING else.

I held my nose and voted for Gore in 2000, though I was worried about his gun stance.  There are many many more people like me out there.  

by jgarcia 2005-11-13 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: I Know You Gun Nuts Hate Reality
I am curious, given I couldn't care less about guns, but respect the rights of others.  Why are guns your most important issue?  Is it a knee jerk emotional reaction or is it something else?  Please help me to understand... frankly the economy, education and healthcare will always be more important than anything else.  Guns are great recreation, but why would you vote against your own self interest simply because of a weapons ban you will probably never use.  
by yitbos96bb 2005-11-20 01:04AM | 0 recs
Re: I Know You Gun Nuts Hate Reality
Paul, you know I agree with you on most things, but I have seen the same argument discussed many times in national forums... although not since the election.  There is some credence to it.  I don't own a gun, but the idea is worth thinking about anyway.
by yitbos96bb 2005-11-20 01:01AM | 0 recs
Re: We don't have to change anything we stand for
Steve, well put. I think you're spot on in the way you discuss the relevance of local issues and local perspective. You're right in implying that a national agenda of gun control just doesn't play out well in every corner of the country.

And yes, we Dems will never appeal to these people or get their vote if we try to impose that agenda on them. This is true of a variety of issues. What plays in Boston will never play in Kansas.

Liked your statement, "I live and work with rednecks". I do too but have never verbalized that one publicly. :D

by desertjedi 2005-11-14 09:37AM | 0 recs
Re: We don't have to change anything we stand for
You are correct, sir.  I live in the South, NASCAR country, though I'm not a race fan.  I am, however, a staunch Goldwater/McCain Republican.  Folks down here don't care (in fact they're bored) with the abortion issue and we could care less what consenting adults (including gays/lesbians) want to do with their lives.  They are interested, however, in not being told what to do relative to their cultural upbringing...and guns (though I don't own any and never have-not opposed but never needed one) is part of the culture down here.  
McCain '08!!!!!!!!
by realrepublican1854 2005-11-14 11:12PM | 0 recs
Re: We don't have to change anything we stand for
The South isn't middle america.  It is so different from what is considered middle america, that most southerners I know and grew up with (all my family is from the south) would start swinging for a comment saying the south is middle america.  The South is the SOuth.  The midwest and west is middle america.  So which is it... middle america or the south.  
by yitbos96bb 2005-11-20 01:06AM | 0 recs
Re: We don't have to change anything we stand for
SO then I take it from your comment, you are against the racial profiling of middle-eastern passengers on airplanes, or african-americans in rich neighborhoods?  Just curious given you felt that you were profiled?
by yitbos96bb 2005-11-20 12:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Gun Control is a HUGE LOSER

Ever been to a big gun show? In lots of areas the only thing bigger is the county fair. And the GOP had voter registration and you could buy anti-clinton shirts etc.

Gun control is the modern democratic partiy's snearing contempt for middle America. Don't like the red/blue divide? It was largely the result of gun control in places like CA, NY, MD, NJ which made gun owners feel extremely unwelcome.

The Deomcrats need to run in defense of the Constitution. That is "the plan," when the GOP yammers about no Democrat plan. The Democrats say "The GOP has a war on the Constitution. We will protect the Constitution."

Because remember, before the GOP started attacking Amendment 1,4,14 etc, it was the Democrats who invented running against the 2nd Amendment. So like a reformed drunk, the dems need to swear off attacking the Constitution and become its zealous defender.

by bernardpliers 2006-03-05 04:47AM | 0 recs
I know many have said this already, but we CANNOT and SHOULD NOT just wait for a theorized "realignment." I'm sorry, but in my dealings with common voters, they want to know what YOU WILL DO IF ELECTED. They want specific policy proposals too, NOT JUST BROAD THEMES.



by gatordemocrat 2005-11-11 07:26PM | 0 recs
People say they want specific policy proposals, but if you try to give them any, their eyes glaze over. Al Gore was just chock full of specific policy proposals. They were good ones too. He sure was a guy with a lot of policy specifics. You'd think he'd have done great, huh?
by rusty 2005-11-16 05:16PM | 0 recs
I think you're on the right track

Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress co-track in approval ratings.  They're not distinct to voters, they and this present hardline policy stuff are all a package.  The Nixon package.

For the realignment the need is 62+% disapproval (everyone not partisan Republicans) and under 32% approval (i.e. moderate Republicans are split away to Undecided or disapproval).  The good news is at ~1%/month real decline of Bush support, the running rate since late 2000, that's less than a year away.

I think we're at the Nixon GOP's version of what happened to the FDR Democrats in 1965/66- exhaustion of their usefulness to The People and the start of disintegration of their coalition.  2008 should be our 1968.

There are some remains of a Republican agenda that moderate Republicans will let them finish or fail at before giving up fully on the hardliner-hijacked GOP.  The attempt to repeal the AMT.  Some last arguing and twiddling of abortion rights (I'd guess the Ayotte case will be the center).  Giving DeLay a chance to answer the charges and account for the evidence against him in open court.  The decisive failure of "freedom and democracy" with that constitution in Iraq.  The British getting out of Iraq.  One last shot at Bin Laden or Bin Laden shot at Americans.

You're right that Democrats won't need much of an agenda.  What will have to be done in 2007 and in 2009 is going to be perfectly obvious.  I still have a happy little pet slogan, though, of "Real Citizenship In A Functional America- Vote Democratic".

by killjoy 2005-11-11 08:16PM | 0 recs
More spineless, lame, DLC BULLSHIT
This pathetic post illustrates yet again everything that is wrong with the Democratic party. It's so easy... you don't have to take a position or believe in anything. You don't have to oppose the war. You don't have to have a plan for national healthcare. You don't have to discuss what to do about the deficit. Or race relations. Or working class issues. You certainly don't have to engage in the hard work of trying to hold the Bush administration accountable for it's criminal acts and incompetence. Why risk offending someone somewhere in Tulsa?   Because, after all, "...it is now possible to envision a vast national re-alignment away from the Republican party based  PRIMARILY ON BACKLASH AGAINST BUSH-ISM".

That's it?!? Excuse me for being really pissed off, but that's your fucking platform?!? You're not Bush?!? Suddenly the new Dem slogan, "America deserves better" makes alot more sense. And this is why I will most likely not show up at the polls in '06 or '08. You (the Democrat party) need to earn my vote. You NEED my vote. I promise you, Mr Bowers, that the fact that you are not Bush is not enough for me or lots of others. Act like a political party. Try actually having a GD political platform beyond "nyah nyah nyah".

by samdinista 2005-11-11 08:21PM | 0 recs
I'm Afraid You Can't Read
I have nothing but contempt for the DLC. But what Chris is talking about has nothing to do with the DLC.

In fact, some of what you are advocating is precisely what you are advocating.  You complain:

"You certainly don't have to engage in the hard work of trying to hold the Bush administration accountable for it's criminal acts and incompetence."
Yet, as you immediately go on to not, Chris argues
"...it is now possible to envision a vast national re-alignment away from the Republican party based  PRIMARILY ON BACKLASH AGAINST BUSH-ISM".
Earth to samdinista! Earth to samdinista! An electoral backlash against Bush-ism is precisely "hold[ing] the Bush Administration accountable for it's criminal acts and incompetence"--the same way that 20 years of Democratic rule (1932-1952) held the Hoover Administration accountable for the Great Depression and its do-nothing response.

Would I love to see W rot in jail for his war crimes for the rest of his life?  You betcha!  But not nearly as much as I'd like to see the GOP return to perennial minority status for the next 70 years, minimum.

As for the other things you talk about: Chris's point is not that Dems shouldn't talk about other things, but that they don't need to propose a specific action plan in order to win.  He's not saying that (a) they shouldn't talk about these other issues or (b) individual candidates shouldn't develop their own platforms and plans.  He's simply saying that there's no need to try to create a unified national platform to run on--which would give the Republicans something to run against.

Let different Democrats tailor their messages for the electorates they are running to represent.  The time to come up with a unified plan is when you're elected and can write it into law.  

There are times when it may make sense to unify a programmatic message in an off-year election, but unity in passing legislation is what really counts.  To make your case that a unified programmatic message is necessary, you have to make a different sort of argument than the one you are making, since no one is arguing that the issues you raise aren't important.  The argument is simply that a unified plan to address these issues does not look politically necessary.

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-11-12 05:54AM | 0 recs
A Feingold presidency
Would be an amazing realignment. Imagine 8 years under a popular, strong progressive where the people's interests were #1, wasteful spending would be slashed, programs would be saved, reformed, and expanded, a step towards universal health care, a coherent foreing policy, and having the most honest guy you could ever think of. Yeah this is what the youth and apathetic people will look to for the Democratic party. Which would force RLCism on the Republican and make Republicans strive for that "strategic center" while ensuring generations of young people growing up in great times to vote Democrats for years to come - Feingold would be the lock on generation Y.

However, if we have someone like HRC, Kerry, or Gore, they'll change nothing. And Mark Warner will be nothing but a "care-taker" president, which is not what we need.

by KainIIIC 2005-11-11 08:23PM | 0 recs
Re: A Feingold presidency
Ease up on Mark W. I bashed him some over his Clinton-esque slushiness at times....

But he did do a phenomenal job in Va rescuing us from the budget messes that George Allen and Jim Gilmore left us in, realigned taxes a little bit so that increased revenue came from upper classes, and got us the "Best Managed State" award - he also restored our triple a bond rating (whatever that is).

He has a record of fixing the mess an idiot republican has made. I wonder whether he would be able to deal with Iraq/foreign policy.... but he is very good at fixing budgets....

by daninvirginia 2005-11-12 01:50AM | 0 recs
Re: A Feingold presidency
yes i'm not doubting that he's a great manager. But don't we want a better president, especially in 2008, who is only a great manager? Warner's the most conservative on that entire field (even if he had to be for Virginia), and I just honestly want a little bit better.
by KainIIIC 2005-11-12 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: A Feingold presidency
excuse me... Who is a little more than a great manager*
by KainIIIC 2005-11-12 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: A Feingold presidency
I'd agree that the next prez needs to be more than a great manager - no doubt. We need to be led on so many issues - gay marriage/equality, lingering racial issues, povety/class difference issues, energy policy..... But first and foremost we need someone who can fix the mess Bush has left us all in - a budget nightmare and a system that is being destroyed under its own incompetence. It seems to me that maybe the right place for Warner is a Cabinet position. Give him that level of experience and let him fix things.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not all about Warner in 2008. So far, Feingold is most interesting to me, since we can't have Dean it would seem.

I just don't think Warner is all that bad.

by daninvirginia 2005-11-12 09:11AM | 0 recs
You're Totally Missing the Point
What's needed is vision, not managerial competance. Managerial competance will not produce electoral realignment.
by Paul Rosenberg 2005-11-12 06:05PM | 0 recs
Re: You're Totally Missing the Point
no what we need is someone like Bill clinton who can keep it in his pants
by orin76 2005-11-12 06:34PM | 0 recs
Yeah, We Really Need To Lose The House Again
As soon as we get it back.

That's a plan.

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-11-12 09:04PM | 0 recs
so much for democracy
Just keep deleting comments that you disagree with. real mature.
by samdinista 2005-11-11 08:39PM | 0 recs
Complacency is not going to win elections.

Money will do wonders, however.

Unfortunately, Republicans are still dominating the money game:

"The Republican National Committee raised $81.5 million, with $34 million remaining in the bank. The Democratic National Committee, by contrast, showed $42 million raised and $6.8 million in the bank."

Democrats Losing Race For Funds Under Dean

Pays to be rich I suppose.  Hopefully we can close the gap, but 2006 will likely be yet another election cycle where Democrats are playing catchup.

by agpc 2005-11-11 09:43PM | 0 recs
what do Dems stand for?
I'm not even sure we need a major platform adjustment or roll-out. People pretty much already know what we stand for

I think this is patently wrong.  If Dems don;t do a better job than they have in the last 10 years defining what it is they stand for, and separating themselves from the corrupt corporate control that infests both parties, then the opportunity for a realignment may end up going in a different dirrection that you think.  2006 and 2008 could be the ear of 3rd party building.  I can see 3rd party candidates at all levels on both the right and left, as well as the possibility of someone like Perot on the scene again, scooping up the disaffected independents.  

I have seen lots of evidence that these independents have fled Bush and the rethugs.  I have seen no eveidence that they are flocking to Dems in any great numbers.

by brooklyngreenie 2005-11-12 05:45AM | 0 recs
Re: what do Dems stand for?
You are so correct, brooklyngreenie.  I didn't vote for Bush and would not vote in the future for anyone associated with him.  But that does not mean I will sort of automatically vote for a Democrat in a key race.  I have the right to withhold support, not by virtue of apathy (I am definitely not apathetic) but by virtue of there being no candidate or party that I can be even moderately enthusiastic about.

It seems to me the Democrats have NO clear idea what they stand for, and therefore they have not dented my consciousness for a very long time in terms of taking them seriously.  If someone says "the electorate KNOWS what we stand for", I would say "no, I vaguely know what Democrats seemed to stand for, many years ago --- but today I have not a clue."  If I DID try to define it, it would includes some glittering generalities that fall FAR short of being a "vision", and are outdated in today's world of global forces and new challenges/opportunities.  

Democrats DO seem to stand for disorganization and fragmentation, pulling in a variety of directions with inconsistent amounts of force and clarity.  Is it rational to conclude that a party which does such an abominable job of being the "opposition" would suddenly become good at leading a diverse nation, at setting and delivering on priorities, at eliciting hope for a better future?  I really don't think so.  Can it win a big election?  Sure, if the Republicans were to run people in Bush's image and say they will continue the current patterns of governance.  But you don't really think THAT's gonna happen, do you?

I cannot conceive of there being a more opportune time for a new party, running on a platform of progressive good governance, optimistic and aggressive ideas about the future, and rejecting allegiances with special interests.  The Democrats are, in my opinion, "stale".  

Further, you put Sharpton and Moseley-Braun and Kucinich in the debates, and America is supposed to take that party seriously?  Talk about throwing stuff against the wall to see if any of it will stick.  Sheesh. Scary.  It could have been titled: "A Case Study in How To Confuse the Electorate".

The mere fact that someone in this thread introduced the notion of "President Pelosi", and was not ridiculed by a strong majority of those who read that, tells me that the Democratic party may be even MORE out of touch with Americans than I would have thought possible.

So, yes, the Democrats do have an "image".  We all do have that.  But some of us have an image that elicits, "you know, he/she is really a weird duck; I just can't figure out what s/he is all about".  That's an image, but not one you are likely to want to follow into the breach.

by Terry Ott 2005-11-12 08:01PM | 0 recs
Standing for something?
Hammer them, hammer them, hammer them. Screw impeachment, just hammer them with the truth. Righteous anger is the tone. It isn't hard to achieve because it's also sincere.

The Dems' message: those guys are despicable, let us count the ways.

"America can do better. We stand with the American people." Nothing more is needed beyond generalities. Specifics are death.

The one sure way to blow this with independents is to do something like the Nancy-and-Tom fireside chats they did a couple of years ago explaining where Dems are different. Deadly. They were opening their veins right there on TV. Just hammer the hell out of them. They've earned it.

I know because I'm one of those independents the Dems need so bad.

I'm so pissed with bushco that for the first time in my life I donated money to politicians last year, and I'm so fed up with Republican BS that this year and next year I'm automatically voting against anyone with the R on the ballot.

What matters to me now is that anyone with an R will vote with the R caucus. That's the one that's ripping up the country and the constitution.

It'll take at least a decade for me to get over this and even think about voting R again. But if you blow it I'll think about staying home.

You mobilize me by hammering them.

by Altoid 2005-11-12 06:12AM | 0 recs
Realignment Through Creating a New Paradigm
I just want to chime in with some others on what it takes to have a real political realignment.  Ultimately, what must happen is that there must be a fundamental shift in the "givens" or the "basics" of what is considered by the electorate to be true and false.  In science is called a "paradigm shift."    

In my opinion, there has been 2 political realignments in the last 100 years, 1932 (and immediately thereafter) and 1980 (and thereafter).  Both realignments showed that there are 3 necessary conditions for them to take place: (1) a record of policy disaster by the governing party (2) a campaign message that resonates with the public by the opposition party and (3) a program that is enacted once elected that solidifies the realignment suggested by the election.  In fact, comparing the 2 alignments really shows how important each factor is.  In the first one, a complete "paradigm shift" occurred, in the second it did not and it is instructive to see why this happened.

In the early '30s, there was clearly a policy disaster-the great depression.  Importantly though, FDR also had a message that was believable.  He adopted the phrase "New Deal" in his convention acceptance speech and gave a clear message that he was going to change things once he got in.  It is hard to imagine him winning any realigning type victory running as a "me too" Democrat.  Of equal importance is how he governed once he was elected.  FDR and the Democratic Congress enacted a series of reforms that met the crisis and produced positive results.  Not only that, his program was consistent ideologically and vastly different from the ideology of the former governing party.  Thus, before the 1930s, people believed that there was very little the federal government could or should do about their day to day problems.  After the effects of the New Deal kicked in, people saw that government could be an agent of positive change.  Thus, a paradigm shift occurred.

In 1980, high inflation, high crime, very high interest rates, a sharp (though brief) recession and apparent ineffectiveness in foreign policy created the backlash against Democrats.  And Reagan campaigned in a very thematic way regarding how he would change things once he got in office. Once he was elected, he was able to enact his program and there seemed to be some positive effects, yet the severe recession in the early 1980s and the fact that so many workers did not really get ahead economically in the 1980s prevented there from being a complete change.

In 1994, which was a continuation of the 1980 realignment, again the Republicans ran a very thematic campaign.  Now, people here have made the point that the voters could not identify the "Contract With America" by name let alone what the "contract" contained.  Yet, regardless of the voters familiarity with the phrase, clearly the Republicans succeeded in "nationalizing" the 1994 election both in a negative way (anti-Clinton) and in a positive way (tax cuts, less government regulation).  Again, the Republicans succeeded in enacting much of their program.  Furthermore, their program in the 1980s and 1990s was ideologically consistent and different from the reigning Democratic ideology.  Thus all the conditions were there for a realignment except one.

The Republicans were never able to completely "flip" the political landscape because, as Ive wrote several times, their policies just have not been very sucessful.  They could not "close the deal" with the voters the way FDR and the Dems were able to do.  Thus, they were never really sucessful in the third condition mentioned above.

Using these lessons to our present situation shows this: (1) the first condition is met; Bush's policies have proven to be a disaster and if the economy goes south, as it may very well, they are in extremely deep trouble, as opposed the merely deep trouble they are in currently; (2) the Dems need to produce an effective, believable message that they are agents of change in order to win in 2006 and 2008; we do not have to offer a laundry list of programs, but we do have to offer enough specifics so that the public finds us believable; and (3) once in office we have to have policy choices which both change the assumptions and beliefs of the voters and are also deemed succesful.

Thus, we will not get a realignment if we elect a DLC or moderate Democrat.  Almost by definition, these individuals buy into many of the assumptions and beliefs of the Republicans and their ruling ideology.  We must have a politician that can "flip" the beliefs of Americans back to the principles that we stand for.  To truly realign the electorate, we need a complete paradigm shift and you dont get that with politicians who want to win under the old paradigm.


by Andy Katz 2005-11-12 06:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Realignment Through Creating a New Paradigm
yes exactly. This is the election that the president's policies will be framed by for years to come. In 1932, the New Deal framed the debate for many years to come. In 1980, Supply-side and tax cuts framed it for years to come.

Nominating a DLCer like HRC, Bayh, Richardson, etc. will frame it on their policies, which although is better than supply-side, is still not what's needed. If Warner were to be president, the most conservative Democrat of the field, then the people will realign to a conservative Democratic nature. However, if a progressive (Feingold, Clark, Edwards; Feingold being the most progressive) wins, the people will realign to their policies. Just as the people realigned to Reaganism in 1980. Wouldn't it be great if people looked to Feingold's standing as the "center" of debate?

by KainIIIC 2005-11-12 08:29AM | 0 recs
Realignment And Reality
In my opinion, there has been 2 political realignments in the last 100 years, 1932 (and immediately thereafter) and 1980 (and thereafter).
That's your opinion, maybe, that doesn't make it real. In fact, 1980 is not generally considered a realigning election. The Democrats lost seats in the House, but retained a solid 242-192 majority (with one independent).  In contrast, in 1932, the Dems went from (barely) minority to (hugely) majority in both houses, while Roosevelt crushed Hoover--the first Democrat to win with over 50% since Franklin Pierce managed 50.8% in 1852.

Furthermore, your claim that Reagan enacted his policies is simply false. He got his tax cuts, and increased military spending--which, btw, Carter also planned (their projections differed only minutely)--but that was about it.  He did not slash social spending (though he did trim growth), he didn't even abolish the Department of Education, and he certainly didn't undo the Panama Canal Treaty.

In contrast, 1968 is a much better candidate. It began a period in which Republicans dominated Presidential elections. Because they did not take over Congress, it is often identified as a dealigning rather than a realigning election.

That said, I agree with your thesis (although for a reason you don't quite get to).  A centrist Dem President will not successfully cement a firm realignment.  What was behind Reagan was a loss of faith in government. This came from a combination of the Vietnam War and Watergate. The polling data on this are clear and unambiguous.

But turning this disillusionment into a successful governing philosophy was simply impossible.  And it's just as impossible to try to build an enduring Democratic majority without restoring that trust--albeit not all at once.  For this, you need a candidate who believes that government can work, and do significant things, not just tinker.

Because of the media climate and the strength of the RWNM, I think that the 2006 election will probably best be won by a relatively minimalist, but distinctively progressive campaign--don't promise too much, but promise something distinctively different.  Call it a "downpayment" on a larger vision.  Promise to get things started, even if Bush won't sign them--but hold out the hope that he will.  Warn that impeachment could be on the table, and that a thorough investigation certainly is, because government lying to the people is simply unacceptable, and it's part of the housecleaning that has to be done to set the tone for continued good government into the future.

Dems should win one, if not both Houses.  They should seriously consider impeachment, and rather than lose with intransigence, should settle for censure--but make clear that they felt impeachment was clearly warranted, and that censure is an act of deliberate moderation.  Many will say this is a distraction, but it's not. The failure to seriously hold Reagqan/Bush accountable for Iran/Contra emboldened the Republicans for their impeachment of Clinton, and for stealing the 2000 election. We need to demonstrat unmistakeable political toughness, and we need to get Bush's myriad misdeeds clearly on the record.

Besides, with Bush as President, we're not going to get anythin significant passed, anyway.  We should hold a lot of hearings to set the stage, put things on the record, lay out the case for moving the country in a new direction--and make Bush look bad for vetoing things.  But expecting to accomplish anything substantial is unrealistic, and it would be a mistake to raise people's hopes too high.  

We should level ahead of time, and say,
"Things have gotten out of hand, we're going to start setting them right. As long as Bush is President, there will be sharp limits on what we can do, but we can lay the groundwork, hold hearings and write legislation. If we can't get him to sign it, it will be ready to go for a new President to sign in 2008."

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-11-12 05:51PM | 0 recs
What's needed now
Andy Katz, your analysis is excellent. What I want to say, as a fed-up independent, is that timing is everything.

Now is the time for Dems to assail the Rs mercilessly. Defining and refining the stance is intra-party now; the public part comes later.

Going after the Rs now as hard as you can is vital for at least two reasons. First, Dems have been convinced for a long time about the Rs and bush, but the broader public has not. They need to hear the message, and to keep hearing it. Repetition works. Polls show that people are worried about where the country's headed, uneasy about where the system is leading their lives and what it's doing with their kids. They need to be told why that uneasiness is bush's fault. They're receptive now because they don't trust him anymore. When you hammer him and all his enablers, you hammer everything the party stands for. That has to be done.

Second, one of the ways you define what you stand for is by showing people what you're against. Isn't that what got the Rs into power? But the way you tell them also matters. It can't be done in DC-speak or bureaucratese. It has to be done in straight, short, descriptive language. This is peoples' lives we're talking about, even when we're talking policy.

It's vital to do this deconstruction now-- you should be in a deconstruction phase.

In my view, getting more specific with the public about where to take the country should come in election campaigns. For now, the thing to do is what worked for the verdammter Rs for so long: define what it is they stand for, and say the Dems don't stand for that, and the American people shouldn't stand for it anymore.

This is the softening-up artillery barrage. Dems have so much ammunition they can blast away at will. Get to it!

by Altoid 2005-11-12 07:21AM | 0 recs
Re: What's needed now
Basically I agree with all this.  Gingerich was a master at defining the Republicans by the manner in which he attacked Democrats. He was a horrible Speaker of the House, but perhaps the greatest "leader of the opposition" in American political history.
by Andy Katz 2005-11-12 02:43PM | 0 recs
Realignment presumes a Constitutional transition..
..of power.

I've been told at work this week that a.) one man with Jesus is a majority, and b.) it doesn't matter that Bush is only 35% in the polls as long as the 35% own most of the guns.

These are the preconditions for a form of religious fascism.

I would give this country no better than 50% odds of avoiding the kind of showdown the Phillipines saw in 1986.

We are in very, very dangerous times. As dangerous as the winter of 1932-33. Maybe as dangerous as the winter of 1860-61.

by Davis X Machina 2005-11-12 07:59AM | 0 recs
"As dangerous as the winter of 1932-33."
could you please expound on what you mean by that?  could you recommend a book on that time?  that was when FDR was the president-elect, right?
by jgarcia 2005-11-12 08:32AM | 0 recs
...Arthur Schlesinger's The Crisis of the Old Order, first volume of his Roosevelt trilogy.

The beginning of William Manchester's The Glory and the Dream gets the atmosphere right, but is less of a scholarly history.

by Davis X Machina 2005-11-12 09:18AM | 0 recs
Big Typo and Strategic Note
First, there's a BIG typo in this post:
" What's next--29% disapproval? " after you stated a  disapproval of 60% - you meant 29% approval.

And by the way, thats the real issue - there are apparently, 37% of America, or almost one in three that think Bush is doing a good job. Thats a huge problem, especially in light of the fact that he's turned in a record worst 4 years previous and has started off his second term dead last among all presidents. He's the modern herbert hoover of our age.

alright. You say we've broken through the 40% floor
but only 3 points, with the error bar in the 3-5 point range - with just slight movement downward, I am thinking the floor is still here.

Why people think bush is still doing a good job is because you are doing such a bad job doing yours. That any people out there at all are supporting him is, ... well lets do a list ... supporting bush is like ..

  1. joining the national guard for a few extra bucks pay in your pocket..
  2. Enrolling in that great new medicare program ...
  3. Counting up all that money left over from your tax cuts.. !
  4. Rallying for oil corporations, after all they deserve to price gouge us .. its libertarian
  5. Backing his nominee, harriet miers, so you can overturn roe vs. wade

Never mind that while the national guard are being killed off in Iraq thanks to bush's mistake of colossal proportion - that new medicare program is a corporate giveaway that removes the fed's right to bargain for lower prices... all those tax cuts add up to zero because the local programs are so horrificly underfunded the property taxes already took it all right back - not to mention the stock market crash Bush is responsible for wiped out your investment portfolio .... the oil companies have posted record profits three quarters in a row while we have paid record prices , bush's texas oil buddies .... and miers was completely unqualified to do anything, never even did anything close to what a supreme court justice does.

So strategically you have to start going for the only way that Bush can still be around: his propaganda Channel. Fox news.

Fox is what is keeping bush alive. That ticker crawl across the bottom of the screen is keeping one third of Americans in Terror. No big surprise that Bush likes it that way - after all - didn't he attack a secret CIA soldier fighting Al Qaeda? Ask anyone in Iraq if Bush likes to scare people.. +their+ country went from nominally operational to a complete quagmire, unemployment before American invaded was, 10 percent, its now soaring past 43%, and basic services are completely out of order. Because Americans do not know where their enemy is, and because Bush asked them to attack without ever really having an enemy - Americans are being killed in record numbers by people from the neighborhood, men women and children whose brothers, sons, daughters, fathers or mothers were killed by American forces. Over 30,000 people have died in Iraq creating the largest terrorist force in the history of the world...

I dare you to call Bush's standard tactic of Raising up the Homeland Security Alert every time the democrats do something - patriotic.

But , for 1/3 of the country - they believe that. There's only one way - to have a news channel that dedicates itself to painting the Democrats as Terrorists. A news channel that supports and feeds terrorism. That gives the real terrorists in Pakistan, North Korea, and hidden out in America - a free pass... that are actively aiding and abetting - no different than dropping a black cloth over america's eyes - the sleeper cells that even today are plotting an even worse 911 and will , thanks to Americas eyes cast overseas - likely succeed.

I for one want nothing less than a 100% disapproval rating. I want each and every American to fight against the war on terror, by Fighting against those who would twist and turn and blind us with their arrogant, purposefully deceitful practices - only for the intention of lining their own pockets. These urchins have drilled down into our churches, and infested the cable news networks.

Democrats have taken the plant out by the taproot but half of it is still there. Root it out by first taking out fox news. FCC style.

Then take out the ties that turn our churches into Karl Rove breeder reactors pumping radioactive sludge into the heads of the masses - the poor few, brave souls that are still seeking good - misled for profit and gain.

Do that. Our goal is nothing less than 100 percent. Anyone who says Bush is a good president is like saying Osama Bin Laden is a friend of the USA.

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-11-12 09:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Big Typo and Strategic Note
woops.typo myself. "fight against the war on terror" should have been "wage war on terror - real terror"
by turnerbroadcasting 2005-11-12 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Big Typo and Strategic Note
You call President Bush the Herbert Hoover of our time.  Big difference.  Hoover wasn't reelected for a second term, President Bush was.  There's a reason for that and that reason is because outside of the elitist East Coast self described intellectuals, "Main Street" America like him and support him.  Who are ABC, NBC, CBS, NYT, WP, etc. polling anyway?  The latest guests at a Park Avenue penthouse cocktail party?  Most likely...
by realrepublican1854 2005-11-15 04:14AM | 0 recs
Give People a Reason to Vote Democratic
Chris, You wrote:

"People pretty much already know what we stand for. As long as they grow convinced that Bushism doesn't work, they will come over to our side."

If anybody reads this low into a comments section, I want to agree with others who say this ain't so. The average voter doesn't know what the Democrats stand for. Otherwise, Kerry might have won last  year because there would have been a higher turnout.

People who are turned off to Bush must be turned on the Democratic Party for the Dems to win elections. Otherwise, they may stay home.

Also, Kerry proved that "Anybody But Bush" doesn't win elections.

Now is the time for the Democratic Party -- if anybody left in its leadership has any guts or vision and personally I'm not sure they do -- to come out for what it stands for and what it will do to turn America around. Rather than pandering to "values" voters, Dems had better be creating reasons for the people who don't vote to turn out to vote Democratic.

One key area is the economy. By the time we get around to the elections next year and in 2008, we're also going to have such serious economic problems to contend with that even the brainless news media will realize it.

by Phil from New York 2005-11-12 10:59AM | 0 recs
Again, You're Missing Chris's Point
Chris isn't saying that the Democrats shouldn't stand for something. But the media habitually echoes whatever wild distortions the Republicans come up with.

So it doesn't really pay a lot of dividends to fuel that beast, when the alternative is to say nothing, and have the news be all about how corrupt, dishonest and incompetent the Republicans are.

This doesn't mean that individual Democratic candidates shouldn't articulate their own positive agendas. And it doesn't mean there won't be a time for Democrats to speak about a broader vision.  But remember--that's not usually what happens during a mid-term election, anyway.  So what this is saying is that Democrats don't have to do anything special to make this a very special election. Bush himself is already doing that.

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-11-12 04:10PM | 0 recs


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