Friday, June 13, 2008

Red to Purple, Purple to Blue

The DNC has been trying to successfully implement their 50 State Strategy for years now. They tried in 2004 and quickly realized that Kerry only appealed to solid, life-long Dems. The only inroads he made with fence voters did not go beyond that anti-Bush vote. That loss made most Dem insiders believe that this strategy would not work and that elections are won in the few big swing states (OH, FL, PA, and MO). The hope of changing the map was scrapped as Hillary became the big front-runner who was sure to carry OH and maybe even FL. With that, senior Dems and the media anointed HRC as the one who can take back the White House in the more conventional way.

Enter Barack Obama. After his 2004 DNC Convention Speech, people have been drawn to Obama. People liked him a lot and had high hopes for him, but he did not have the backing of the establishment Dems. Hillary had already claimed that territory and had her speech writers working on her convention speech. Obama did not gain momentum for a long time. He battled criticism from every possible angle up until Iowa. It was in Iowa that the people decided to let themselves be inspired enough to pull that lever (or caucus I should say) for the young Illinois senator. As the primaries continued, Obama proved himself to have the following, the support and the momentum to break free from the conventional style of winning a primary. By focusing on how the delegate system worked rather than writing off the Red states and battling in Clinton strongholds, he expanded his map. He brought in otherwise Democratic write-off's which in turn gave him the nomination. By doing this, he earned a solid Red state backing and has turned some Red states to Purple states. Had Clinton won, she would be fighting the conventional fight of holding Blue and fighting for only OH and FL. The Dems have seen this fail too many times.

Howard Dean, Obama and a handful of other Dems know that the strategy to capture the White House by only winning key states does not benefit the Dem party. Sure Hillary might have won, but Obama and Dean want to make the Dem party what it used to be, a big tent. And to pitch that tent, you can not focus on some states and ignore others. You can not focus on a select few voting blocs and leave the others for the GOP. You have pitch that tent with a wide coalition of voters who all share a common thread.

Obama has made people realize that a thread even exists and once it is sewn and the big tent is pitched, the GOP will only be able to view the party from the outside.