Although we can count on at least some level of support from OFA for the 2014 elections, the fact is it will be winding down and will not be available for 2016 - and I have not heard of any plans to transfer the expertise and infrastructure of OFA to successor operations through training programs once Barack Obama is no longer the focus. That means we mere citizens have to resist our natural inclinations toward short-sightedness and actually think further ahead than our leaders on this - after all, our party and our liberal progressive philosophy rests on the premise of democratic self-governance, so we have to regularly prove that at least enough of us are capable of this to make a go of it. So I would like to offer some points to serve as a planning basis for the grassroots side of the 2014 and 2016 elections.
Point A: Our strong showing in the 2012 election was driven largely by a referendum on Barack Obama, which served as a tremendous GOTV impetus among liberal and minority constituencies both disposed to his administration's policies and offended by the corrupt, racist, and authoritarian Republican Party. Moreover, this has led to some improvement in the quality of successful Democratic candidates in both the House and Senate. HOWEVER...
Point B: ...This improvement has not drastically changed the character of the Party leadership in either body or on the state level. The Democratic Party continues to have legions upon legions of the same spineless, valueless, Vichy Democrat weathervane politicians whom we at Daily Kos as well as the candidates we promote seek to replace. The House and Senate Democratic caucuses remain overwhelmingly dominated by the jellylike entities who practically sewed their lips shut under 8 years of Bushian fascism, if not actively collaborated in the subjugation of American democracy by its domestic enemies in the Republican Party. Once Barack Obama is no longer at the top of any ticket, these are the people who will once again fill the void unless a concerted effort is made to shake things up.
Point C: Status quo politicians are not limited to centrists, but include the impotent, quixotic loser contingent who have made careers out of being irrelevant and politically inept. Although far less numerous than the hollow political ciphers with no agenda other than remaining in office in perpetuity, these people present no viable alternative, and will determinedly squander any opportunity to supplant the machine politicians they claim to loathe but do nothing to actually overcome. Recognizing the difference between these self-gratifying empty suits and people who actually mean business is critical to ensuring that we both continue to win elections and that those elections continue to have consequences.
In light of the above 3 points, I make the following recommendations for 2014:
1. Since more Democratic seats will be in contention than Republican ones, a concerted effort must be made to put more of the Republican ones into play - playing an entirely defensive game is a losing proposition. Whatever seats end up flipping their way must be compensated for by dark horse Democratic pickups in areas that had not heretofore been considered competitive. Since they will be invading our territory in force, we must be invading theirs simultaneously, credibly, and massively.
2. The overwhelming financial advantage enjoyed by Republicans in 2012 due to the lawless
Citizens Corporations United SCOTUS decision will continue in 2014, but with far less Democratic GOTV and volunteer strength to overcome it, meaning that their hamfisted domination of the media will be much more effective as in 2010 - if not greater as they've had more practice. Barring a drastic and unlikely judicial reversal of Corporations United - which would probably require the retirement of a conservative "Justice" and successful appointment of a law-abiding one by President Obama - our primary weapon against it will have to be taking action against the financiers, PACs, and media organizations who make use of it to corrupt elections. The shape and nature of that action must be contemplated thoroughly, and involve just as much innovation as we've exhibited in 2008 and 2012 to win elections.
3. Somehow - some damn how - we have to get the new voters who turned out for Obama in 2008 and 2012 but not in 2010 to understand that there are THREE branches of government, and that Congress is just as important, if not MORE important than the Presidency. Moreover, that their vote for President is half-assed and self-sabotaged if they fail to back it up by providing an ongoing Congressional majority the President of their choice can work with. Given how many people even on Daily Kos can't comprehend the significance of three branches of government, I'm not really sure how we can go about persuading ordinary people with only the shallowest of involvement in politics. Nonetheless, we must recognize that this is the nature of the problem and find a way to address it.
4. All "Loserdems" must be primaried with a vengeance - anyone who demonstrates an incapacity to wage strong, effective campaigns both for election and for progressive legislative achievement. Certain allowances have to be made for those who serve as placeholders in highly conservative districts or states - officeholders whose purpose is simply to keep the other side from having the seat, even if they personally are garbage compared to a real Democrat. However, under no circumstances - NO CIRCUMSTANCES - are we to tolerate anyone flying under the banner of Democrat who is more conservative than their constituents. A slight majority or even a slight minority of fighters is better than a large majority dominated by losers and Stockholm Syndrome cases, because the former can be built upon while the latter is simply a house of cards.
5. Good candidates need to be sought out, everywhere, on every level. Not only good candidates, but people who would do the job well - ideally both. And I mean sought - not just hoped for or awaited. In the old way, we would just sit around and wait for someone to float to the top, and the result was predictably bad - we must not return to that. In the 2008 presidential primaries, we rejected a system that favored mediocrity and empty rhetoric over substance - we had to move heaven and Earth to do so, but we did it. And this election season, we did it again in a few Senate and House races. But now we need to take that program wide, so that no matter what the numerical outcome is in 2014, the Democratic Party emerges stronger, and can best utilize whatever resources are at its disposal. No more filling tickets with inane, entitled empty suits - use the ciphers as sacrificial lambs in races we have no intention of winning, and use the good people in the races we DO intend to win: The opposite of how the post-Reagan Old Guard did things.
6. Be prepared for Republicans to learn from 2012. They're not good at learning, but every once in a while they do it - and we better be prepared for it. We better be prepared for a "repackaging" of the GOP, and don't rely on their efforts to be tone-deaf and clueless as they've generally been - always expect your enemy to know what they're doing. Expect them to fight, divide, distract, and confuse us as brilliantly as if we were fighting our own shadow selves, and then the reality will not be nearly as difficult to deal with - kind of like how we won the Cold War. Expect them to make a hard play for Latinos, probably beginning in 2014 - expect it, and disrupt it.
This leads to my recommendations for 2016:
1. No one who was a key player in the Democratic Wilderness years of 2001 to 2006 is an acceptable presidential candidate, and must be rejected with blunt, decisive dismissiveness early in the campaign. These are people shaped by and reflective of a time when cowardice and aimlessness were considered a virtues in our Party because it had lost all touch with the American people - a time when the only acceptable way of winning elections was by default because the GOP was so incompetent and bellicose - and as such people still tainted with that mentality are toxic and cannot be considered for the presidency. Translation: No Hillary. To everyone who supported her in 2008, I'm sorry, but it was never a good idea and will be even less of one in 2016. Stop trying to worship at the altar of the past and look toward the future.
2. Bully and delude as many Democrats as possible into running for President so that unsuspected potential can be discovered, the weaknesses of insiders highlighted and at least compensated for in preparation for the general election if we end up supporting one of them, and the greatest possible gestalt achieved. If the only people up on the stage in the Democratic primaries are people who've been in the federal government since fucking 1985, we're screwed. We can't go back to the days of one lame-o Senator who's spent the last two decades in the Senate sauna running against another lame-o Senator who's spent the last two decades in the Senate sauna, with the "dark horse" being some lame-o Governor angling for the VP spot. Find people from every walk of life and with every level and type of experience, and badger them into running for President if you see even a spark of potential in them. You might be surprised by the results.
3. The key players in OFA need to take over the DNC. That means some key architect from OFA needs to be DNC Chairman and translate the wisdom and lessons-learned from the Obama years into a general system for electing great Americans of varying talents, backgrounds, and electoral prospects. Anyone who should do this who doesn't is being derelict, and needs to be hounded into it.
4. Keep Barack Obama in people's minds in 2016, so that whoever is ultimately the Party's standard-bearer stands on his shoulders and can effectively channel his vision and talents without having to undermine their own personal talent and vision.
That will do for now.