(Cross-posted at www.fromtheroots.org)
The excitement I see in the netroots, and across the country, surrounding this year's presidential campaign is incredible. As many of you already know, record turn-out numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. The grassroots aren't just showing up to vote – life-long Democrats and first-time voters alike are working side-by-side as volunteers, going online to spread the word, and dialing up supporters at phone banks. I've even seen the excitement in the faces of my two daughters who, for the first time, are actively interested in an election that didn't involve their father. This energy is an amazing asset to our party.
Winning the presidency isn't enough. Whether it's President Obama or President Clinton, they are going to need a Democratic Senate that can pass, instead of obstruct, a progressive agenda.
In 2006, with the help of the netroots, Democrats were able to retake the majority in the Senate by a razor-thin margin. That was just the beginning. As chair of the DSCC, my goal is to work as hard as possible to ensure that whoever the President may be, they have the biggest majority we can muster fighting for them day-in and day-out on the floor of the Senate. Every new Democratic vote we add in the Senate increases our chances of enacting lasting progressive legislation.
During the 2007 Senate session we all saw firsthand just how blindly obstructionist Republicans can be. The GOP and President Bush have worked hard to throw up legislative roadblocks and issue veto threats. Just last week Republicans in the Senate tried to derail an economic stimulus bill that will benefit over 120 million families nationwide. Despite Republican obstruction, Democrats have voted unanimously in support of the Reid-Levin amendment, we rallied around the Employee Free Choice Act, and we've stood together to support Children's Health (SCHIP). The Republicans are going to keep trying to block every Democratic bill they can, we have to keep working to build on our majority in the Senate.
The last time I posted here on DailyKos, I asked for your help recruiting quality candidates to run for the US Senate. The netroots responded – Web sites urging candidates to run sprung up, blog posts and emails went out, and today we have a Democratic field in the Senate that's loaded with talent.
Beating incumbent Republicans is always a challenge. Our first goal was to recruit top-notch candidates in blue states – and today I can report that there are vibrant campaigns in states like New Hampshire, Maine, Oregon, and Minnesota. Another goal is to remain competitive in states with retirements. While not a single Democratic Senator is retiring, the GOP is already playing defense in states from New Mexico to Virginia to Colorado and even Mississippi. And speaking of Mississippi – another goal is to go on the offense in red states like North Carolina, Alaska, Kansas, Kentucky, and elsewhere.
This cycle's map is wide open and there are an incredible number of races Democrats will be competitive in. We can win southern states like Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia. We can win in New England states like Maine and New Hampshire. We can win in Western states like Colorado, New Mexico, and Oregon. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
In 2006, the netroots helped propel Democrats like Jim Webb, Sherrod Brown, and Jon Tester. In 2008, I expect that the netroots will play an important role in every winning Senate race – we simply can't do it without the support and passion of the grassroots. The presidential race has already proven that voters are ready for change, but changing the resident of the White House is just one piece of the puzzle.
So please take a few minutes and let me know which Senate races you're excited about in the comments below. And let me know where we can be doing better. President Bush and Vice President Cheney are on the way out for good – together we can send some Republican Senators along with them.
I know there may also be questions in the netroots about my involvement in the presidential primary with regards to superdelegates, so I'd also like to address that quickly. Contrary to some reports, I have not been involved in any effort to reinstate Michigan and Florida. I do believe that we may, at some point, need to find a way to include Michigan and Florida but I believe that any potential solution would have to be agreed to by both campaigns – not shoved down one campaign's throat - and would have to be settled well before the convention. I've also been talking to superdelegates - within the Senate - about supporting Senator Clinton, just like others have done and are doing on behalf of their candidates.
Thank you again for your interest, I'll try and answer as many questions as possible in the time I have.