A new analysis on the Democratic Party's election strategy is set for release next month and it promises to start a debate over future election strategy's taken by national Democratic Party organizations/candidates. Thomas F. Schaler in, Whistling Past Dixie, How Democrats Can Win Without the South, argues that the south is no longer a swing region of the country and Democrats need not waste their time campaigning to win in this region.
Reading excerpts from the text, Schaller believes the Democrats should abandon strategies that attempt to win southern states and replace them with a greater focused effort on winning throughout the Midwest and Southwest. He further argues, that after winning in the Midwest and Southwest, Democrats will develop a record of governing accomplishments that can be taken to other areas of the country in an attempt to sway voters to the party fold.
Political party's are never successful when they focus on regions. To win, party's must develop a message that appeals to the entire electorate. The national strategy is one area Howard Dean is correct in his analysis that Democrats have become too narrow in the state-by-state election focus.
Demographics suggest that Schaller's arguments could be suicidal to Democrats. The Midwest is losing population to sunbelt states. To ignore these states is political malpractice. Instead of writing them off, Democrats should embrace the populist message that most southerners and midwesterners find appealing.
Schaller's arguments are valid in the present day climate because the past two Democratic Presidential candidates failed to win a single southern state. However, I disagree with his "cut and run" southern strategy because failing to have a southern strategy allows Republicans to focus resources on Midwestern and western states making a Democrats margin for error in elections to slim. Gore and Kerry both ran a 20 state campaign, where as Clinton's 50 state strategy forced Republicans to battle in traditional Republican states. Clinton also was successful at winning southern, midwestern, and western states because his message was in tune with the people across the country.
I further dispute Schaller's arguments because of the current state of elections in 2006. North Carolina Democrats are poised to defeat a Republican incumbent in western North Carolina. Rep Harold Ford is in a dead heat Senate Race in Tennessee.
I suggest Democrats purchase this text once it is released in October. Make your own conclusions, but remember the importance of Democrats being a national party, instead of a regional party.