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Earlier today, I got into a debate on kos's Howard Dean Leadership poll thread about the 50 state strategy.  Everyone here seems to support it.  I argued that it is clearly a case of groupthink.  

Why clearly?  Because increasing the number of states in which one competes clearly involves a trade-off.  The pro for this strategy is that more states means more long term party building; the con is that the strategy takes resources away from pivotal states.  This is a very non-obvious trade-off.  So one would expect disagreement, but it seems that everyone agrees.  

That's group think: when everyone agrees about something that's not obvious and not unambiguously supported by the facts.

There's more.

The argument that I got most often was: We tried it the other way.  It didn't work.  So now let's do it this way.

But that's a terrible argument.

Consider my 50 job strategy.  I tried to get rich and successful with one job.  It didn't work.  So now I'll get 50 jobs!

Don't tell me to do the normal thing and get just one job. I already tried that and it didn't work! So now I will get 50 jobs and work all the time!

Usually, when something doesn't work, doing the exact opposite is not the solution.  There's probably a reason you weren't doing that to begin with.  If only it were so easy to solve problems.

More generally, this and the fact that there is so much consensus about the 50 state strategy, and about Dean really makes me think that there is too much group think here at Daily Kos.  There's plenty of healthy debate about some things, but there are also many articles of faith.

Group think is a dangerous thing.  Group think among the democratic electorate got us Kerry as the nominee once he won Iowa, and I'm sure most of us regret that now.  But, probably there's at least some healthy disagreement about that.

Originally posted to crony on Tue May 23, 2006 at 08:04 PM PDT.

Poll

Is there too much group think on Daily Kos?

44%11 votes
36%9 votes
20%5 votes

| 25 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  NOT a tradeoff. (6+ / 0-)

    Since LOCAL PEOPLE are available locally, and are not fungible like money.

    And GETTING LOCAL PEOPLE INVOLVED will prime the pump.  E.g.:

    • Get locals to better organize.
    • Teach locals that they matter.
    • Introduce locals to the idea of participating, donating, etc.

    Yes there is SOME tradeoff, with national resources, but the national grows from the local. So take some time to plant local seeds.

    •  I partly agree and partly disagree (0+ / 0-)

      Insofar as you can find resources in a state that could not be used in any other state, then use them in that state, even if it is Utah.  But, even finding resources takes resources, and I find it hard to believe that resources in Utah couldn't be spent better elsewhere.

    •  volunteers, demands, donors and a winning message (0+ / 0-)

      If the Dems have a winning message and the pieces are coming together the Dems will have more volunteers and more resources.

      The establishment doesn't like volunteers because volunteers are more demanding than donors.

      If you are interested in the politics of Proviso Township in Cook County, Illinois, visit Proviso Probe.

      by Carl Nyberg on Tue May 23, 2006 at 08:12:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  your model is wrong (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fabooj, peraspera, hhex65, ormondotvos

    Politics is not about trade-offs. It's about synergy.

    Read what kid oakland wrote about sharks, carp and dolphins. You're thinking like a carp.

    If you are interested in the politics of Proviso Township in Cook County, Illinois, visit Proviso Probe.

    by Carl Nyberg on Tue May 23, 2006 at 08:10:15 PM PDT

  •  You know... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philoguy

    I didn't see your exchange(s) in that thread, but given that there are nearly 80,000 registered members here, saying "everybody" thought this or that seems rather silly.  

    Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

    by Barbara Morrill on Tue May 23, 2006 at 08:18:01 PM PDT

    •  silly maybe (0+ / 0-)

      I think that if you look at that thread, you'll see that it was pretty lopsided.

      •  fairness and lopsidedness (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hhex65

        crony, do you wring your hands that your minority point of view dominates the DC leaders of the Dem Party?

        If you are interested in the politics of Proviso Township in Cook County, Illinois, visit Proviso Probe.

        by Carl Nyberg on Tue May 23, 2006 at 08:26:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i actually think (0+ / 0-)

          that we focused too narrowly on too few states in recent elections.  I think it's foolish to think that you can predict exactly which states are in play, as the Kerry campaign tried to do, and on election day there is always some state that is in play that you didn't predict.  I think that because the Kerry campaign focussed to narrowly on too few states they, they had to perform perfectly in order to win.

          That being said, I think it makes no sense to pour resources into Utah.  If that's what the DC establishment thinks, then I agree!

          •  fungible money vs. non-fungible volunteers (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Snarcalita

            By fielding candidates in practically every House race the Dems force the GOP to spread their resources thinner.

            If you accept the premise the Dems do represent more activists, it seems like an excellent strategy to leverage activists in marginal districts to tie down GOP financial resources.

            The money is fungible. The volunteers aren't. By activating a few volunteers everywhere the Dems force the GOP to divert resources.

            Do you understand the argument?

            If you are interested in the politics of Proviso Township in Cook County, Illinois, visit Proviso Probe.

            by Carl Nyberg on Tue May 23, 2006 at 08:52:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I understand (0+ / 0-)

              But I disagree.  If the dems feild a candidate in a district that dems can't win, then why should the republicans waste resources to defend it?

              Also, how do we come out ahead when we're wasting resources in the attempt to make them waste resources, especially when there is no real reason for them to do so?

              •  how it works (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Snarcalita

                crony, have you ever been involved in real politics, the stuff that happens outside the Beltway?

                Why do incumbents spend oodles of money defending against challengers that can't win?

                First, it doesn't matter why. They do it.

                Second, there's good reason to do it. If an underfunded challenger gets 40% you can bet there will be a better funded challenger in the next election.

                So incumbents will armtwist $750,000 in this cycle to avoid having to armtwist $3 million next cycle.

                Getting an incumbent to spend $250-750,000 doesn't taken much more than a candidate, two dozen volunteers and $50,000.

                If you are interested in the politics of Proviso Township in Cook County, Illinois, visit Proviso Probe.

                by Carl Nyberg on Tue May 23, 2006 at 09:25:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  actually (0+ / 0-)

                  i have been involved in real politics.

                  Secondly, I'd be interested to see the statistics on your claims.  If you have some references, I'd be very interested to see that.

                  There is probably some baseline rate that an incumbant is going to spend to defend his seat no matter what.  The question is how reactive is that spending to the existence of an opponent.  I conjecture that it is not very reactive when the opponent is not serious.  Incumbants have a very high rate of re-election, and I would guess that most challengers can't come anywhere close to 40% or the amount that would make the incumbant worry about a signal for the next election, but again if you have a source for these numbers, I would be very interested.

                  As an annecdotal example, I know that Bush spent money in Claifornia against Gore, and Gore did not spend any money to defend it.  This doesn't quite fit into your point because Gore wasn't worried about a challenger next time as a senator or congressman might be.

                  Also, it is important to consider where else the $50,000 could have been spent.  If the incumbant already had a lot of cash that he would only spend on himself anyway, then using $50,000 to get him to spend it might not be a very valuable use of $50,000.  I am skeptical of this "bankrupt the other side" strategy.  

                  •  how it works (0+ / 0-)

                    If you respond to my observations about Congressional elections with anecdotes from presidential elections you're a fool or a complete novice. You don't have the necessary knowledge to apprehend the argument more serious people make about politics.

                    If the Dems have rudimentary infrastructure in the district raising $50,000 locally isn't a big deal. And the synergy means that it will excite people to give more in other races in other places.

                    If you are interested in the politics of Proviso Township in Cook County, Illinois, visit Proviso Probe.

                    by Carl Nyberg on Tue May 23, 2006 at 09:50:06 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  then back it up (0+ / 0-)

                      I asked you where you got your numbers from, and you didn't tell me.  Made up numbers about congressional campaigns are no more sophisticated than real annecdotes about a presidential election.

                      Show me your source, and I'll take it seriously.

                      •  what kind of info do you need? (0+ / 0-)

                        What information are you looking for?

                        Do you want an expert who has been on a political action committee for three election cycles to tell you what kind of candidate gets money?

                        Do you want a book reference on the 40% number?

                        Will you change your mind if I get the info for you?

                        If you are interested in the politics of Proviso Township in Cook County, Illinois, visit Proviso Probe.

                        by Carl Nyberg on Tue May 23, 2006 at 10:00:58 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  what I want (0+ / 0-)

                          I would like to know the average expenditure of congressional candidates without challengers, the average expenditure of incumbants whose challengers ultimately receive less than 10 % of the vote, the average expenditure of incumbants whose challengers ultimately receive between 10 and 20 % of the vote, likewise for between 20 and 30 %, 30 and 40, as well as the average expenditure of incumbants whos challengers ultimately win.

                          I would also like information about what percentage of challengers receive 10, 20, 30, 40-50, and more than 50% of the vote.  And I would like statistics on the average expenditures of the challengers in these categories.  

                          If these statistics suggest that it is easy to spend a little money to build a serious contender, and that this causes the other side to spend alot more money, then I will defninetly take your point alot more seriously.

                          Look, you don't have to provide me with exactly the set of statistics that I asked for, but I am just trying to give you the flavor of the type of thing that I would want.  

                          •  chop, chop (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            hhex65

                            Have fun doing your research.

                            If you are interested in the politics of Proviso Township in Cook County, Illinois, visit Proviso Probe.

                            by Carl Nyberg on Tue May 23, 2006 at 10:31:09 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  so clearly (0+ / 0-)

                            you don't know what you're talking about.  You just through out those numbers hoping that I wouldn't call your bluff.  You're just a pretender.

                            Look, if you don't want to give me those statistics, then just give the me the best thing that you've got to support your claims about making someone spend $750,000 with $50,000.  Let's see what it is.  

                            An annecdote? Your brother worked on a campaign once?  What is it?  Give me the best thing you've got.

                          •  go over to Open Secrets (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            doinaheckuvanutjob, Snarcalita

                            Is your game to demand so much information that the other side isn't going to dig it up and then to declare victory?

                            I was on a federal political action committee for three election cycles, '98, 2000 & '02. I've worked on close to twenty campaigns in a half dozen states. I've been involved in elections from local referendum up to presidential races. I've been with campaigns that have beaten entrenched incumbents.

                            And since you brought up my brother, he's an environmentalist elected to the soil and water conservation district in rural Indiana.

                            I'm too tired, but go over to opensecrets.org and just look around. See how much more incumbents spend against candidates who spend just a little bit of money.

                            If you are interested in the politics of Proviso Township in Cook County, Illinois, visit Proviso Probe.

                            by Carl Nyberg on Tue May 23, 2006 at 10:54:58 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  fine (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            doinaheckuvanutjob

                            I'll check it out tommorow.  I'm tired now too.  

                            Look, I realize that I asked for a lot of information.  I just thought of what information would convince me, but I probably asked for an unreasonable amount. So I'm sorry if I asked for so much that it would be unreasonable for you to have it.

                            On the other hand, you made a very strong claim that with $50,000, you could get the other side to spend $750,000, and you still have not provided me with ANY evidence.  So, I think that unless you yourself have more information than you've given me, you should reconsider your opinion that it's wise to spend money in states like Utah, or on races that are sure losers.  

                            I just think you should be a bit more agnostic rather than taking such a strong position.  That's what I meant by groupthink.

                            But I will check out open secrets tomorrow, because I am genuinely curious now.  Thanks for the suggestion.  Probably it would be more efficient to do a search on google scholar to see if there are any academic articles on this question (I bet there are).  If I find anything, I'll let you know.

      •  You are right. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Carl Nyberg, doinaheckuvanutjob

        Everyone disagreed with you...for a reason.  Before you get worked up about group think, why don't you worry about thinking?

        •  wow, way to prove the diarist's point (0+ / 0-)
        •  so the explain it to me. (0+ / 0-)

          It there's some obvious fact that I'm missing, let's have it.  

          I love this criticism: everyone disagrees with you; therefore you must be wrong.

          If I had thought of that, I never would have written this diary.

          •  Go back to the diary (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Carl Nyberg

            and read your comments and the responses.  Thread suck.

            •  this just proves (1+ / 1-)
              Recommended by:
              Buffalo Girl
              Hidden by:
              Carl Nyberg

              you have nothing to say.

            •  thread suck? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dealer

              What the hell is thread suck? It was a conversation. Crony was the only one who was questioning the 50 state strategy in that thread. I can understand how Crony can be left with the impression of Group Think. Doesn't mean it's true that's how the whole 80,000 people think, but that's certainly how the conversation went.  I've certainly experienced the same thing around here on occasion.

              You are being insulting, and seem to be implying that by even bringin up the subject Crony wasn't thinking. Sounds like group think syndrome to me.

              •  Go back to the diary in question. (0+ / 0-)

                Carefully read his comments and the responses to them.  He raised the same damn thing over and over again and ignored those who tried to explain why they supported the 50 state strategy.  He said the same thing over and over and claimed that the responders were engaging in group think because they disagreed with him.  That is not a conversation.  

                •  it's true (0+ / 0-)

                  that I used the same arguments over and over again.  I have a certain number of reasons for believing what I believe.  I don't just make up a new argument every time.  

                  But I think that if you look carefully at my responses, I responded to posts with different attitudes depending on the nature of the post.  I obviously didn't give much respect to posts that were short and rude.

                  I was definitely open to what other people had to say, but I don't think many new compelling arguments were raised.  The best argument was raised against my group think post was by by Buddha Hat, and I complemented him/her on it.  Also, Carl Nyberg claimed that by spending $50,000 against an incumbent, you could force the incumbent to spend $750,000, but when I asked for evidence, he didn't provide it.  Other than that, there was a lot of we tried the 20 state strategy before and it didn't work, but in my original entry I wrote that that argument did not convince me.  The reason that I accuse people of group think is that in general the argument seems very weak: basically, we tried 20, it didn't work, so let's do 50!  Fight everywhere, why leave any race behind?  My answer: limited resources.  But at any rate, you--gmb--haven't said one compelling thing.  Your posts just mostly criticize me personally.

  •  The Mathematics of Politics (5+ / 0-)

    I love to attend the Monday Lunch seminars at the Institute for Governmental studies at UC Berkeley, Noon, 119 Moses. There's usually some postgrad in Political Science desperately trying to make some theory sound official by quoting polls and statistics from "probable voters" from a telephone poll.

    I love to tease them by asking this question "How do you compensate for reactive data points?" which means in humanspeak "people will lie and also tell you what they want you to believe and so on" which means that Political "Science" differs from physics in that the data are NOT insentient.

    People can figure out what you want by what you ask.

    Haven't you ever been polled and felt froggy and lied to the poor earnest pollster?

    The 50-state strategy should not be considered as a win-lose, but as a synergy generator. More people, more activity, more interest. Rinse, repeat.

    I ain't nowhere near my donation limit, and neither are you, keyboard kosmandos.

    Evolutionary/cognitive science seminar at YearlyKos? LIBERTY BALLS!

    by ormondotvos on Tue May 23, 2006 at 08:24:44 PM PDT

    •  i disagree (0+ / 0-)

      Just because human beings are involved, doesn't mean all rules go out the window.

      I agree that people are very complex beings, and in a poll they can figure out what you want to say.

      I wouldn't say that the 50 state strategy is win-lose exactly, but it is a trade-off; it doesn't come for free.  The cost is that the resources could have been spent elsewhere.

    •  I told a phone poller in '04 (0+ / 0-)

      when asked who I would vote for I said the Democrat.  She asked if I knew their name (it was for city council -- oddly enough a city council position that I couldn't even vote for since I was in a suburban city of the metropolis).  I told her I didn't, but that any Democrat had to be better than the regular Republican.

      "Maybe you know something I don't know." -- G Dub (-4.38,-3.03)

      by don the tin foil on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:00:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Carl Nyberg, begone

    if different people come to the same conclusion on their own, that's groupthink?

    Groupthink is when people don't examine the facts, but support something because everyone else supports it.  But the reason a lot of people blog here is because they want a more widespread, grassroots approach to politics, and quite frankly a lot of these people reached that conclusion based on their own experiences and observations.  Dkos is the internet version of the 50 state strategy, in its own way.

    That's not groupthink.  You're just in the wrong community.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Tue May 23, 2006 at 08:44:55 PM PDT

    •  you're right (0+ / 0-)

      I agree with most of what you say until the end.  Coming to the same conclusion in and of itself is not groupthink.

      That's why I argued in my diary that it was not at all obvious that the 50 state strategy is a good idea, and it is certainly not supported by the facts.  We will have to wait many years to see how it turns out, and who knows?  Because the facts are ambiguous, and there is a non-obvious trade-off yet everybody agrees; that's why there's group think.

      I agree that there is value to a widespread grassroots apprach to politics, but that doesn't mean that I have to think that it's a good idea for the DNC to spend its resources in Utah.

      This community doesn't have any interest in a foolish strategy that wastes the DNC's resources; at the very least, people should wait a little while to see how this gambit plays out over coming elections.  

      •  I could agree with most of that, (0+ / 0-)

        although I come from an area that has been largely left to the Republicans but could have a stronger Democratic base, so the 50 state strategy is important to me - and judging from the comments I saw on those threads, I suspect a lot of people are in my position.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Tue May 23, 2006 at 09:21:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  one key point (0+ / 0-)

          as you point out is whether the Democrats could make inroads in a particular place.

          I agree that there are places which we have given up on in the past which we should really fight for.  

          My point--as you may or may not agree--is just that we should be careful about where we make our investments, and it would be foolish to squander our resources by spending them everywhere.

          •  Should Ds be careful about investing in Oklahoma? (0+ / 0-)

            Because we do have a D as Guvna.
            Inhoffe is a turd blanket.
            Do I need to say anything about Coburn??

            "Maybe you know something I don't know." -- G Dub (-4.38,-3.03)

            by don the tin foil on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:02:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Dems should invest in Oklahoma if (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              don the tin foil

              either (a) there is now a candidate for a major office who has a reasonable chance of winning, or
              (b) the long-term prospects of improving our standing in Oklahoma by dumping money into it are good relative to other places.

              I can't make the judgement call for Oklahoma, but this is how we ought to think about it.

              •  Point taken (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                crony

                However, the premise of your diary and comments suggest we shouldn't do a 50 state strategy.  If we don't build support or show support here for a good D candidate, then there won't be a good D candidate when it comes time to vote.

                "Maybe you know something I don't know." -- G Dub (-4.38,-3.03)

                by don the tin foil on Wed May 24, 2006 at 09:53:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  As long as they think like I (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don the tin foil

    do, what's the problem? I'm always right so as long as they agree with me they'll come out fine.

    "I was Rambo in the disco. I was shootin' to the beat. When they burned me in effigy. My vacation was complete." Neil Young. Mideast Vacation.

    by Mike S on Tue May 23, 2006 at 08:55:16 PM PDT

  •  Group think? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philoguy, Warren Terrer, crony, dealer

    I'm not sure I would label what goes on at dKos as groupthink. There is a near-consensus opinion on many issues, and people do get flamed and troll-rated for swimming against the tide. But I'm not sure I see any evidence that the consensus opinion is a result of groupthink. You defined consensus on an issue where there is more than one plausible view of the issue as evidence of groupthink. But doesn't this also describe liberal values in general? For instance, there is a reasonable basis for disagreement on the issue of whether tax cuts for the wealthy are a good idea, and yet there is a consensus here that they are a bad idea. Isn't this just a correlate of the fact that we are a gathering of liberals?

    •  Actually you make a very good point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dealer, Buddha Hat

      It is true that consensus forms even on non-obvious issues, and that sometimes groups are defined by what they agree on.  I agree, it's an excellent point.  

      But I think that the thing that unites us other than our common values is the desire to win elections, and I'm concerned that this is not a wise strategy.  I think that almost everyone here would abandon the strategy IF they thought it wouldn't work.  So, I don't think that the 50 state strategy is what unites us as a group, but I think that there is an echo chamber that leads to acceptance of this view.

      But again, you make some excellent points.  

    •  I recommended your post (0+ / 0-)

      because you make a good point, but you would also have to admit that groupthink is a bigger potential problem in a smallish community of people in constant contact with each other than it is among everyone in America who would describe themselves as liberals.  Crony was invited to join a different community because he differs on a matter of tactics.

      •  There are (0+ / 0-)

        a fair number of people here who are so threatened by opposing viewpoints that they will try to bully a dissenter away from the site. But that isn't necessarily groupthink. Groupthink, I think, refers to the processes by which people reach conclusions, rather than the way they react to dissent. I guess I am getting mired in semantics. I do agree that there was no reason to try to expel someone for opposing the 50 state strategy.

  •  Having tried the 20 state strategy, the 50 state (0+ / 0-)

    strategy looks better.  I think that the consensus partly reflects experience.  In 1964 Barry Goldwater got whupped.  Yet he did not back off and the Rs did not give up on pushing the center everywhere to the right.  They took the long view and they got Reagan in for 2 terms, Daddy Bush for one, and we got Clinton the moderate for 2 terms.  (Admittedly we won in 1980, but to no avail.  A state to spare might have made FL beside the point.)

    So the "consensus" here is partly a function of having tried the alternative, and partly a bit of self-selection.  It's no surprise I don't look for the DLC blog.  The voices of "moderation" have had their turn.

    •  What about the 35 state strategy? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mvr

      I'm serious.  I'd be interested to hear your opinion.  20 didn't work.  So we could go to 50.  But maybe 35 would be smarter.  What do you think?

      •  which 15 states will you neglect? (0+ / 0-)

        The three most GOP states in the country are UT, ID and WY.

        Salt Lake City has a vocally anti-war Dem mayor. Do you want to write him off?

        Wyoming has a Dem governor and a Dem House candidate in striking distance. Do you want to write them off?

        What fifteen states are you willing to write off as part of a 35 state strategy?

        crony, you seem starstruck with the DC set. You have been presented with well-reasoned arguments and your fallback position is that the people with the good arguments should meet the people with the self-serving and wrong arguments halfway because you personally like the people who are wrong.

        It's thinking like yours that had so many Democrats embracing the Iraq War.

        I'm sorry, but I'm not gonna cut your kind much slack at this point, especially when you get all smug.

        If you are interested in the politics of Proviso Township in Cook County, Illinois, visit Proviso Probe.

        by Carl Nyberg on Tue May 23, 2006 at 09:58:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know (0+ / 0-)

          I don't know which 15 I would write off.  Probably UT, ID and WY.  You can't spend money on party building everywhere; money that you spend in one place, you can't spend in another place.

          You say that I am starstruck with the DC set, yet I have not praised them once.  And I haven't been presented with well reasoned arguments, at least not by you.

          For example, your argument just now.  There are many Dems that I would like to help, but we have limited resources and we have to choose.  I know you don't believe in limited resources, but whatever.  In a world without constraints I would help every democrat everywhere, and I would solve world poverty.  But in this world, you have to decide whether it is more important to help Dave Freudenthal or Rocky Anderson, or none of the above and someone else.

          Also, how are my arguments self-serving?  What interest do I have in this?  I have an opinion about tactics.

          And as to the Iraq war, I was completely against it all along, so obviously my kind of thinking doesn't lead there since if it did, it would have led me there.  You don't know what you're talking about.      

      •  I actually think this is a long-term vs short (0+ / 0-)

        term issue.  Over the long term it is a mistake to neglect any state.  And my point about 20 states was just that trying to limit ourselves has not worked in the last two election cycles.  I used 20 because the strategy has been to go for the big electoral vote states.  But such limits require near perfect execution, and they put us at a disadvantage when we contest the Senate or even the House.  Given that the short-term payoff of the limited strategy has not been good, I just think we should stop ignoring the long-term for the short-term.

        I live in Nebraska, which is one of the five worst places to be a Democrat so far as I can tell. Even here Bush is now more unpopular than popular.  It took a long time but we got there. We have a democratic senator.  And at least one of the house races should be competitive.  

        Even if in the end we lose elections in places like this most of the time, those progressives who do live in such places are more apt to be motivated when they are not entirely isolated.  I know I spent a couple of thousand bucks in contributions the last time around, and made calls for Kerry to some of the states that it seemed might be in play.  People are easier to motivate if they don't feel isolated.  So you get some payoff in the more competitive states by reaching out to those in less competitive places.

        I admit some states are highly unlikely to go Democratic in a presidential contest in the near term.  But which states do you think are such that it would be impossible to get a Dem elected for Senate or a House seat?  I can't really think of any.  

  •  What part of long term party building do you not (0+ / 0-)

    understand?

    It's a 50 state strategy because the Dems neglected places and the Repubs got entrenched. They built talk radio & other resources to get entrenched there. There used to be the New Deal, farmers liked it. It helped the Dems in agricultural states. Then the Dems conceded those states and abandoned them to the Repubs and we're in the fix we're in.

    Dean's vision is to change that. That includes Utah. Dems get elected there too, you know. We need more Utah Dems. I see no reason to abandon any state.

    •  here's what I understand (0+ / 0-)

      I have $10.  I can allocate it to long term party builing or to current elections.  How should I split it?

      I have $10.  I can allocate it in any way to the 50 states.  How should I do so?  Should I spend 20 cents on each state or 50 cents on a reasonably selected 20 states?  What if 20 cents can't make a difference in any state but 40 cents can make a difference in many states? In this case, if I spend 20 cents on every state, I waste my entire $10.  Is that Dean's vision?  That's exactly why many people think Dean is hurting the party. You can ask exactly the same question in either a short term sense or a long terms sense.  

      So the reason to abandon a state is that 20 cents per state may not be worth anything, and will exhaust your entire $10.

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