Joe Trippi Says...
Joe Trippi has written an op-ed (in the friggin' WSJ, of all places) discussing how the Kerry campaign adopted Howard Dean's grassroots strategy for the general election. Trippi spends a great deal of time praising Dean's fundraising prowess (which isn't suprising, given that he was one of the architects), while criticizing the Kerry campaign's performance. I don't want this to devolve into Dean v. Kerry intra-party backbiting, which is far from helpful at this point. Whatever your feelings about the Dean phenomenon, or Kerry's campaign strategy, Trippi makes some unsurprising (to us) yet important recommendations:
• Democrats can't keep ignoring their base. Running to the middle and then asking our base to make sure to vote isn't a plan. And to those who say talking to your base doesn't work--Read the Rove 2004 playbook!
• Democrats must reconnect with the energy of our grass roots. One of the failures of the DLC was that its ideas never helped us build a grass-roots donor base. As a result, Democrats held a lead over Republicans in only one fundraising category before this election cycle: contributions over one million dollars. That shows how far the party had strayed from grassroots fundraising before the Dean campaign. We must build a base of at least seven million small donors by 2006. With the Internet it's possible. But it can't just be about the money, it also has to be about ideas.
• A party that ignores the needs of state and local parties is doomed. We must begin to invest aggressively in states we continually write off in national elections. If we don't, the decline of the party in these states will continue until we're non-existent. Look at the south.
• In a world in which companies like Wal-Mart pay substandard wages with no real benefits, our party has got to find innovative ways to support organized labor's growth. A declining union membership is not good for the country, it's not good for working people, and it certainly isn't good for the Democratic Party.
Obviously, none of Trippi's suggestions are novel; indeed, many of us in the blogosphere have been calling for these types of reforms for months, if not years. But given the insulated, groupthink-addled mentality of the DC Democrats, hopefully some of these ideas will finally get through to them, although I'm not holding my breath. We'll see.
UPDATE: Trippi has actually posted this op-ed on his own website, for all you principled liberals who refuse even free access to the WSJ (alas, I couldn't resist).