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If I'm Tim Kaine, my next letter to Democrats would read something like this:

Dear Loyal Democrat,

Today, our adversaries in the Republican Party are at a historically low point in popularity and ideas.  Their stubborn opposition to the agends put forth by President Obama and the Democratic Congress only reinforces their status as "the party of no."

While the GOP are down, they are certainly not out.  Their resurgence could derail and destroy everything we Democrats have worked for over the past few years.  The difficulties currently facing our nation are evidence enough that we simply cannot afford to have Republicans back in charge in Washington.  This is why we must undertake a bold new political strategy to ensure that the Republican menace is minimized for the foreseeable future.

Looking back through American political history, one valuable lesson is that a divided party does not stand a chance against a united opposition.  In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt fractured the Republicans so deeply that the incumbent Republican president, William Howard Taft, actually finished in third place.  In 1992, Ross Perot ensured that what would have been a close two-man race became a landslide victory for President Bill Clinton.

Under our electoral law, a candidate does not need an absolute majority of the votes to win.  In our present two-party system, however, a majority is nearly always won by the victorious candidate.  But what if there was a third choice?

Here's an example: take a congressional district where the Republicans hold a solid advantage, with the Democratic candidate routinely taking between 40-45% of the vote in a two-candidate race.  As things are now, we would call that Democrat "gallant in defeat" or a "sacrificial lamb."

I submit that the best way to create a truly permanent Democratic majority is if there were two choices for our conservative opponents.  We ought to do what we can to strengthen the Libertarian Party, to make it a viable alternative to the Republican Party, which has repeatedly broken its promises to the libertarians within it, both fiscally and socially.

Now let's go back to that hypothetical congressional district.  If the Democratic vote remains at 40-45%, but with the remainder split between a Republican who takes 30-35% and a Libertarian who polls 20-25%, that Democratic "sacrificial lamb" or "gallant loser" would have a new title: Member of Congress.

It is my belief that the ascension of the socially conservative wing within the Republican Party, coupled with the GOP's complete abandonment of fiscal conservatism over the last 25 years, gives libertarians no reason to continue to vote Republican, and thus, presents the best chance for such a strategy to be successful.


Tim Kaine
Governor of Virginia
Chairman, Democratic National Committee

Originally posted to demomoke on Sat Jul 11, 2009 at 09:20 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (0+ / 0-)

    "To call a starving man free is to mock him." --Jawaharlal Nehru

    by demomoke on Sat Jul 11, 2009 at 09:20:42 PM PDT

  •  Sorry but I don't think so (0+ / 0-)

    In most states the LP at best only draws a tiny sliver of the conservative votes.  It can be helpful in extremely tight races but not an overall strategy.  A religious right party (like the "Constitution" Party) could be much more damaging if and when the GOP finally turns toward more moderate leadership, but for now they seem to be pandering to the wingnuts as hard as they can.

    Your political compass Economic Left/Right: -6.50 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.67

    by bythesea on Sat Jul 11, 2009 at 09:47:24 PM PDT

  •  I think we can do more good by building our party (0+ / 0-)

    But it's an intriguing thought.

    They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

    by Ponder Stibbons on Sat Jul 11, 2009 at 11:00:14 PM PDT

  •  Well, this worked for Republicans in 2000 (0+ / 0-)

    when they provided support to the Greens, and split off just enough voters for them to pretend they'd actually won and draw attention away from all the voter fraud that really 'won' the WH for them.

    But would we really want the libertarians as the new 'opposition' party?

    Historically, we gravitate towards two major parties.  As one large party dies, chaos emerges briefly, then a second party arises to take over the old spot.

    Admittedly, it's a quandry.  For the good of the country, it's better that whatever new party arises from the ashes to replace the 'Republicans' is farther to the left, to swing the country back from the decades in which it was dragged relentlessly to the right.  But any centrist party that is farther left will undoubtedly pull away gains the Democrats have made in the center.

    Tough call.

    Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Sun Jul 12, 2009 at 06:11:37 AM PDT

  •  So this is a stealth strategy? (0+ / 0-)

    I was reading a book about the attempts to use third parties close to the opposition party to destroy it. A well-known example in recent history is the Republicans who paid money to Nader's campaign in 2004. Another, lesser known, case (I can't remember who it was) involved a female Democratic candidate who actually issued an advertisement on a right-wing radio station for a right-wing independent candidate who was sucking votes away from her Republican rival.

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