Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Victory In Defeat

For those of us who were hoping for an upset in the Ohio-2 election yesterday, take heart. Paul Hackett's race put conventional wisdom on its head. He lost by a mere 3,500 votes, or 4 points. Remember that Ohio-2 is the most crimson district in the state. It went two thirds for Bush. In 2004, the Republican won the congressional seat by 44 points.

Several lessons learned from Hackett's run:

1) You can call Bush a "son of a bitch", call Cheney a "chickenhwak" in a Red district and gain votes, including thousands of Republicans. Americans like plain speakers, who are'nt afraid to tell it like they see it. In fact, I'll speculate that a majority prefer this type of candidate over the "offend no one" type.

2) Howard Dean is right. In spite of the guffaws from the inside of the beltway consultant class, Democrats need to have a 50 state strategy, and run competitive candidates in every district.

3) Grassroots power trumps party power. Paul Hackett raised almost a half million dollars from $5-$25 donations coming through bloggers' sites. The blogs, not the national media, nor the DNC fought with Paul for this race. In a district the national party wrote off as unwinable received no DNC support until the final weekend of the campaign.

4) Ohioans are fed up with the culture of corruption. Taft now sports the lowest approval rating, 17%, of any of the other 49 governors. From the coingate scandal to election fraud. Even DeWine's senate seat, once considered safe, is in play.

5) Even a prochoice, antiwar candidate can win in conservative districts. They just have to know how to frame their views in ways that resemble conventional wisdom. Hackett on gay marriage, "who cares!" Hackett on abortion, "make/keep it legal, safe, and rare."

Kudos to:
Swing State Project
Daily Kos
and the hundreds of other blogs that demonstrated we can make a difference.


At 7:30 PM, Anonymous gabriel chapman said...

only in the delusional minds of the modern left does a defeat become a victory.


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