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Democrats 2010 Campaign Strategy: A Triple Bank Shot

3 years ago
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Check out the political ad below if you want to see what the fall congressional campaign will look like -- that is, how the Democrats would prefer the election to look.


This is the Democratic National Committee's latest spot. It's no secret that the Dems are in a corner. For decades, the first midterm election in a presidency has almost always produced a clobbering of the president's party in Congress. That's without unemployment near 10 percent -- and two unfinished wars, an eco-disaster, and a sharp drop in public confidence in practically every established institution of society. Veteran political handicappers in Washington -- analysts who pore over the details of scores of House races -- say that the Democrats, by conventional numbers, are in danger of losing about 30 seats. But unconventional conditions -- and this is a year of unconventional conditions -- could boost that number to closer to (or above) the 39 seats the GOP needs to win the House.

It doesn't seem that the public is yearning for Republicans to return to power. (One recent poll showed George W. Bush as unpopular as ever.) But many voters probably do want to oust incumbents, and there are more Democratic incumbents than GOP officeholders. The math is simple. So what are the Dems to do?

They have to engage in a two-step process. First, persuade voters that the congressional elections are not merely about booting out politicians; they are a choice between two sides. Second, the Democrats must convince voters that the other side is truly awful -- and in league with the folks you really hate (or should hate): oil companies like BP, the Wall Street scoundrels who drove the economy off the cliff and health insurance companies that care more about profits than people.

Actually, there's a third step. In each of the individual House and Senate races, the Democrats then must tie the GOP candidate -- who may come across as a fine guy or gal -- to the excesses (or what some might consider the fundamentals) of the Republican Party. After all, few GOPers will be campaigning as handmaidens of BP and other corporate evildoers. They'll be claiming they're reformers who want to bring change to a Washington that isn't too popular these days.

A triple bank shot? That may be. It may also be the Democrats' only decent play. Rep. Joe Barton made their task a tad bit easier. But as the above ad indicates, there's other ammo. And I'd bet that the GOPers provide even more in the weeks and months ahead. (They just can't shut up.)

Still, this case is a tough sell that will require the Democrats to grab the attention of voters who don't always pay a lot of notice to politics then walk them through all these steps. No doubt, a strong and inspiring president could help in this process. But political scientists can start plotting out their studies now. The Rs will have a simple message: Attack Washington. The Ds will have a multi-tiered one: Think about the choice and the stakes. It will take plenty of ads like this one for the Dems to have a chance.

You can follow David Corn's postings and media appearances via Twitter.

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3 Comments

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ettu

Seems billiards isn't the game for the Dems/Libs, if this is their best shot.

June 30 2010 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ettu

" The Ds will have a multi-tiered one: Think about the choice and the stakes."............I believe this is exactly what the voters are thinking about, and it seems the Dems made the wrong choices. They chose to ignore the people, and push through bills that not too many voters agreed with. Now, voters are looking to repair some of the damage in 11/10, and finish up in 11/12. They work for us, and they have forgotten their place.

June 26 2010 at 7:49 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Rob & Kathy

The Dems can put any type of spin they want on it. Obama is in serious trouble and they know it...

June 26 2010 at 1:05 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
sysaphus71

David,
There is a date certain soon over the horizon that will confirm or deny whose point of view will be installed or begin to be repealed and removed...that is Nov 2nd.
Now all the cut and paste jobs of all the wonderful things accomplished look important ,and I guess if you were living vicariously through this administration,
they would seem that way. However the deepest of undercurrents have been running for quite a while against this President and his administration.
The reality is we are worse off after 18 months. If experience and leadership were the rule ,we WOULD BE seeing improvements ...we are not. The bank shot you are counting on is to difficult and your pool cue is crooked and you are out of chalk......time to pay up... this game is played out ...and their about to shut down the pool hall.

June 26 2010 at 10:51 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
juddty

Yep. more foreclosures for the people who refinanced with our money. Yep, new housing starts down 33%. Yep, unemployment still hovering at 10% in reality it is 15 to 17 %. Yep, government still wanting us to save all the unfunded union teacher retirement programs, still more coming bailouts from the states to save the underfunded retirements of previous gov. workers, police, firemen etc., just like we did for GM. Government growing bigger everyday with all these new buracracies created everyday which the taxpayers must pay for. Yes, this sure is a rosy picture.

June 25 2010 at 12:04 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to juddty's comment
ddan8719

very well put..

June 25 2010 at 4:09 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
ernestvalerius

The Republican party has good reason to fear President Obama's reform agenda. The repudiation of the concept that "All Governments are Bad--Corporate Primacy, Environmental Exploitation, and Unbridled Financial Greed are Good" could severely weaken its base. Ironically, the incessant partisan attacks on "all things Obama" are beginning to backfire.

June 25 2010 at 9:59 AM Report abuse -21 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to ernestvalerius's comment

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