Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"All Politics are local"

No Kidding!

I'm up to my neck in it at the moment so I haven't had time to post some of the things I've wanted to.....

for instance, take this from PM Carpenter at Buzzflash called "Don't Uncork the Champaign Yet!

Significantly, 26 of the 29 districts awash in GOP cash are “R”-incumbencies, and “D”-hopefuls should not, but probably will, make the mistake of discounting the power of negative advertising. Not only has it shown historically to be the most effective form of political propaganda (despite voters' protestations of dislike and disgust of it), its primary purpose isn't to rally the troops, but to dampen the opposition's turnout. Given that so many Democratic-leaning voters are – let's face it – plain lazy, it often doesn't take much for the Rs to make the winning difference.


Then of course there's the GOP's scientifically refined, get-out-the-vote organizational skills and the in-place organization itself. Simply put, Republicans know that politics should be run with businesslike efficiency, while Democrats still tend to huddle, whenever it's convenient, to shout feel-good Walmart cheers and then rehuddle on election eve to ask who among them is perhaps willing to help get friends to the polls.

Obviously I exaggerate, but I kid you not – I've had dealings with Republican operatives and dealings with Democratic operatives, and I've nearly always felt the difference was that, respectively, between working with a John D. Rockefeller and working with Mayberry's Ernest T. Bass. What surprises isn't that Democrats are 21 seats shy of a Congressional majority; what surprises is that they hold any seats at all.

He is, of course exaggerating, but it's a difference that is real and one that I have pointed out before. It is also leading to a debate and an ensuing battle that I beleive will take place within the Democratic Party in Wisconsin between now and the '08 elections.

In that time period, reform-minded Democrats will try to build a true, grass-roots organization of activists, candidates, workers and voters who will be the core (actually heart and soul) of the party for years to come. There has been some debate within the party about how it should be organized and currently it is organized "from the candidates and office-holders on down". There are those among us who disagree with this form of organization and will make every reasonable attempt to change it.

Success, or more specifically, Democratic Party Success, in the future will depend on well organized we are locally. It will depend on our "ground game" in every election from dogcatcher to President. It will depend on how well we organize, and nurture our base. We can't ignore them in "off years" we have to keep them involved even if involvement in an "off year" means nothing more than a couple of potluck dinners with entertainment every year. It seems to me that we abuse our base by only coming to them when we want something from I mention money?)...and, of course their vote.

There's a new "buzzword" going around in business circles these days that applies to us in a big, big way. The term is "VALUE PROPOSITION" and I won't go into the detailed (boring) business definition of it but I will sum it up simply by saying that your "value proposition" is the answer to a consumer's question, "What's in it for me?" (I heard the AHA! go on in your head all the way over here!) Hence, as a party organization, we have to be able to present our base AND the voters with a succinct "value proposition" which will lead to another business term we should all be aware of: brand loyalty. Our brand, Democratic Party needs to tell the voters specifically "what's in it for me?" and once they understand the value of the party to them and their ideals, they will be loyal to that brand.

A caveat though......

The "value proposition" has to be real. We can't have any counterfeit values because they will be quickly exposed and defeated. It must have "real" value............

let's talk about's all about building a's all about building and organization.....


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