Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sen. Obama's 50-State Strategy

One of the reasons, in my opinion anyway, that Barack Obama triumphed in the primaries is because he ran using Howard Dean's 50-state strategy, while Clinton ran using the Democrats' usual 'focus on the big blue states and the two or three swings states we believe matter' strategy. The latter crashed and burned in 2004, and the former triumphed in 2006.

Obama is obviously looking to expand this strategy for the general election. Sen. McCain will be very competitive in key states (sorry, I think Florida is a goner for us), and so it's good that Obama wants to expand the Democratic map. There are a number of states that I think he has a better than good shot at taking given his appeal and the political winds... Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, maybe even something in the South.

Josh Marshall has a good primer this week-



But the underreported benefit of this strategy is the big boost it will give to down-ticket candidates in all of these states. Democratic candidates in these states had previously been under-funded and largely invisible. But the Obama camp has built grassroots armies all over the country and he is raking in small donor money hand over fist, a good deal of which can be handed down to these other candidates. We've seen in the past year or so how successful these candidates can be when they have the tools to fight.

The progressive agenda has been struggling along slowly the past two years because the GOP minority in Congress has proven better at obstruction and holding the line than was expected. For an Obama presidency to truly accomplish anything, he will need a larger and fresher Democratic majority (filibuster-proof Senate?). If this strategy gets him that, it will be as big a triumph as the presidency itself.

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