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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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    "They fear this man. They know he will see farther than they, and he will bind them with ancient logics." -The stoner guy in The Cabin in the Woods

    by Troubadour on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 02:20:57 AM PST

  •  Toward that end, what can we do.. (5+ / 0-)

    to make an Ashley Judd candidacy against Mitch McConnell a reality? Kentucky pundits pooh pooh her as a choice, saying she is too progressive for this state because of how the Presidential vote went here. Obama did not campaign in KY, either in 2008 or this year. Little has been done here to counteract the fictitious world view possessed by Fox emersed voters. By 2014, perhaps some of the fictitious views regarding the Affordable Care Act will have been dispelled by the reality of each individual's experience. Other local fictitious views might be dispelled if a progressive view was delivered by a charismatic individual. No such charismatic individual (that I'm aware of) exists among the current stable of Kentucky Democratic politicians. Ashley Judd could be such an individual. If so, she should get started yesterday. Establish Kentucky residency. Run.

    •  Gore listened to the media rather than the people. (4+ / 0-)

      At least until it was too late.  We can't afford to indulge people who have that failing anymore - not when we've been shown a better way.

      As to KY, liberals in Red States should stop hiding and apologizing for being right, and start leading their states forward.  Machine politicians like McConnell are the hardest to take down, so I don't know that Ashley Judd could do it, but if she wants to, she should try and show people what she can do.

      We write off entire parts of the country at our own future peril.  The approach to changing that can't be lowering our standards the way we foolishly did with the original version of the 50 state strategy - a Blue Dog Congress is better than a GOP Congress, but not by much, and not for long.  There is no reason that actual liberals can't win somewhere in these states and start building up a base, but they're like terrified to even try.  It's ridiculous.

      "They fear this man. They know he will see farther than they, and he will bind them with ancient logics." -The stoner guy in The Cabin in the Woods

      by Troubadour on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 04:32:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rec'd for this (4+ / 0-)
    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.
    Oh so painfully true.

    The two terrible mistakes I remember from Al Gore in 2000: he ran away from Clinton, not really using the master politician of our time, and then got tripped by Nader in FLA.  Rectifying those two with a good candidate in 2016 will really help cast teh stoopid into the wilderness again.  Once the standard-bearer has been chosen, Big Dog and Barack go back on the trail, one more time.  

    I'm a mushroom. Kept in the dark and know

    by The Voice from the Cave on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 04:22:41 AM PST

  •  You Lost Me With (0+ / 0-)

    "That means we mere citizens have to resist our natural inclinations toward short-sightedness and actually think further ahead than our leaders on this...."

    You presume our current leadership, particularly in Congress, are great thinkers.

    Hah hah hah hahhhhhh!!!! that's a good one.

    further, 99% of "democrats" in congress are not my "leader". they've done more or less ZERO in the progressive sense-- they hardly deserve to be termed leaders.

    If they manage to do one stinking bold thing in the next four years, it will be a surprise to those looking for true progressive leadership.

    "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 04:44:58 AM PST

    •  Considering that we (including you) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kansas Born, dot farmer

      are responsible for who those leaders are, it's hardly an invalid premise.  If you're so advanced, why do your decisions result in leaders you look down on?  If you can't acknowledge room for improvement in your own performance as a citizen, there won't be any improvement - not at any point along the line from voting to implementation at the leadership level.

      "They fear this man. They know he will see farther than they, and he will bind them with ancient logics." -The stoner guy in The Cabin in the Woods

      by Troubadour on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 05:19:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obv I'm Not Among the Kool-Aid Drinkers (0+ / 0-)


        You've been here long enough to know I have little praise or patience for the sort of "democrats" we have in congress now. I've explained why this is, so no need to go into it again now.

        regarding your implication that I am somehow responsible for the dilemma we face-- suffice it to say I did not vote for Clinton in 1996 because I saw he and other "democrats" like Rahm Emanuel were taking the democratic party wayyyy too far to the right.

        I seriously doubt many people posting here today had the same insight/response as I did.

        in fact, most here embrace the new "democratic" party and are just fine with acting more or less just like the repugs on numerous policy issues.

        I am not OK with this-- and when I bring the obvious up, I get snarky, useless responses like yours.

        Weak, very weak.

        "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

        by Superpole on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 06:18:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Disagree re: Hillary Clinton (3+ / 0-)

    I believe Hillary's credentials are well established and even further enhanced by her performance as Secretaray of State.

    I do agree that races involving the House and the Senate should be a strong point of focus for 2014 & 2016 but in terms of importance, especially concerning appointments to the Supreme Court, holding the Presidency is the ultimate goal.   Hillary Clinton appears to be the type of candidate that would unite the party in 2016.  In addition, I believe she could hold and possibly increase the broad appeal to the general electorate that Obama was able to generate.

    One added bonus: her candidacy would drive conservatives mad.  Batshit crazy mad.  Including the type insane rhetoric rejected by voters in 2012.

    •  "Credentials" are far less important (0+ / 0-)

      than the leadership qualities of the candidate, and Hillary Clinton is an anachronism from a time in our Party's history best left in the past.

      "They fear this man. They know he will see farther than they, and he will bind them with ancient logics." -The stoner guy in The Cabin in the Woods

      by Troubadour on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 01:29:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Especially agree with the point about the GOP (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, RandomNonviolence, a2nite

    realizing where and how they need to be more devious next time around.  This is their organizational strength.  They pay top dollar to their 'talent' and a horde of eager, button down, smart up-and-comers out of the Patrick Henry colleges of the country to learn at the feet of the Atwater and Rove's of the movement.  We need an organization that ideally is fast, confident, and unapologetic in persistently advocating for truth, justice, and common sense. That's achievable and a winner. Combining the gifts of OFA and OWS would create a powerhouse.

    •  Ooo, good idea. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kansas Born

      Combining OFA and OWS into something - you should write something about that.  People should hear more about this idea.  Since OFA will be disbanding in 2016, according to the leadership, there could be a general exodus to / takeover of OWS, if anyone is disposed.

      "They fear this man. They know he will see farther than they, and he will bind them with ancient logics." -The stoner guy in The Cabin in the Woods

      by Troubadour on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 01:31:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dot farmer, dkosdan, Troubadour

    I agree with virtually everything you've written here and couldn't have put it better myself.  Thanks!

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 07:00:55 AM PST

  •  interesting thoughts, here's one more... (4+ / 0-) seems to me that the Democrats have done best in recent years, including in 2012, when they have adopted not only aggressive populist campaign messaging but, more importantly, aggressive populist policies and positions.

    Historically, populism has been the one, overriding political principle that seems to have trumped all others, including in the South.

    In my opinion, Democrats need to continue to build on the momentum of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which helped to give them a lot of legs, so to speak, in the past couple of years.

    If we can continue to focus on the issue of economic fairness and justice, Democrats can help to make inroads in not only Republican strongholds, but to help strengthen Democratic hands in traditional Democratic areas as well.

    Economic freedom, economic fairness and economic justice need to be  a key part of Democrats' messaging going forward.

  •  we did it in 2006 for mid-terms (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, dot farmer

    there are no "swing states" in mid-terms, we will need to pitch to those states that were left out of Electoral College in 2012 and 2008. Just as every voter counts, so do all those seats in the House.

    "O you can't scare me, I'm sticking to the union" - Woody Guthrie from Union Maid

    by dkosdan on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 12:31:31 PM PST

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