What Should the Democrats Do In the South Next Year?
After seeing the expected reactions by Dean supporters to the attempts by competitors to knock him down a few notches with the flag issue, I want to put a question out to all of you as a discussion item today. We see what happened yesterday with the Southern gubernatorial races. I understand what Dean was trying to say at the outset of this growing tempest in a teapot, that he wants to give the South a reason to vote Democratic next year. What he is saying is that the South can feel at home with him at the top of the ticket, which is a smart electoral strategy. I'm not wild with how he has chosen to say that yet, and I think Edwards is going to milk this for all its worth, and rightly so given his poll position and geography.
But the bigger point is what should a winning strategy be for the Dems next year, given the demographics and turnout patterns we face, along with the spending advantages enjoyed by the GOP? Should the Democrats focus on the South and try and pick off a few states to screw up Rove's math, or do you think this is a wasted effort that plays into Rove's hand that will yield nothing? Do you feel that we should focus on the 2000 math and holding on to the blue states and reacquire those we should not have lost (West Virginia and Ohio, and possibly Tennessee/Arkansas), or has the math changed enough electoral-college wise so that we need to break into the South any way possible to compete, while trying to pick up and hold on to new targets (Arizona/Colorado and possible Midwestern states)?
Take a shot today at playing political consultant/strategist and let's see what we come up with, regardless of who your favored candidate is. But I would also like to see how you factor in how your candidate plays to that strategy.
Have at it.