My first diary ever yesterday went pretty well--I actually got comments! So, I'm going to try again (in between tending the 2 month old--I sympathize with Kos and Elisa, but especially Elisa).
Like many here, I support Dean. I've also watched with alternating horror and amusement as Democrats who don't support Dean, both here and elsewhere, viciously tear into him, so this thought came to me. Often, people talk about the "base" and how Howard Dean has fired up the "base", but he can't get anyone else motivated. So, who is the base, then? The CW says that the Democratic party base includes minorities, unions, women, environmentalists, gays and lesbians, and other unrepentent liberal types or anyone on the far left. I submit that the base ought to include anyone who considers him or herself a Democrat, and whether they want to admit it or not, this includes the DLC. Although we Deanites scoff at the DLC (after they scoffed at our guy first, mind you), they ARE Democrats, aren't they? What I mean is they aren't suddenly going to change party affiliations all of a sudden, but will reliably run as Democrats, vote for Democrats, and work for Democrats.
If Dean does get the nomination, he will have to consolidate the base, including the DLC, even as he is going after the "swing" and "non" voters. There's just no other way to win the general election. From what I've seen, there are plenty of people in the DLC (just not Al From or anyone at New Republic) who will see how the political winds are blowing, bite the bullet, or even go happily with Dean. However, what to do about the people who are grumbling now, either because they have fears about electability or fears about their own future influence and importance in the party? (I don't think the DLC actually differs much with Dean on policy and everyone knows that, despite the rhetoric.)
One reason why Republicans are good at campaigning is that they keep the party together when it counts. Sure, there are grumblings here and there, but come election time they do everything they can to make sure that fundamentalists and business executives, and log cabin Republicans are voting together, because all of those people are in their base.
I'd like to think that despite the current backbiting in the Democratic party, everyone, from flower children to Al From, will be together, even if it's Dean--especially if it's Dean. So what can Dean do to draw in the DLC--and conversely, if it's not Dean, what does the not-Dean do to draw in the grass roots, liberal side of the party? I'm not going to consider the second part of that, since I'm assuming Dean gets the nomination. However, I imagine that Dean (hardest working man in politics) is going to launch an offensive to win over the DLC once it appears he's ahead. Nobody wants a brokered convention, so if that's even a possibility, I make it Dean and his campaign's responsibility to do what they have to do to convince the DLC to come around. I don't know how they'll do it, but seem to be imbued with magic powers these days, so I think they can. Thoughts?