This has unfortunately become a left-right Dean-Clark debate. One point I was trying to make, though, in addition to advocating the “increase the base” strategy, was that the Democratic party should be taking some initiatives and setting some long-term goals, rather than merely starting to talk about strategies right before each election.
And one of my premises, denied by some, is that we haven’t been doing too well recently. I’m thinking mostly of the loss of Congress here, but partly also of some of the things Clinton and Gore had to do in order to get elected. (And in that sense this is indeed a left-right disagreement).
And so my conclusion is that the swing-voter strategy, which has been dominant for almost two decades, isn’t enough. I’m not saying we should forget the swing voters.
So it seems to me that the Democrats should be looking here, there, and everywhere for the votes we need. The Republican core is pretty solid, so we have a choice between looking for votes among the 20% of the voting-age population who are swing voters, and among the 50% of the voting-age population who are non-voters. Shouldn’t we be looking in both places? Should the rejection of the very idea of trying to find new voters be as unanimous as it is? Isn’t that lazy, fatalistic, and defeatist?
Confessore mentions a number of unsuccessful Democratic attempts to find new voters, but they were all flash-in-the-pan one-time efforts organized by one man’s campaign. He does not mention all the work that the Republicans have been doing since 1964 or so to develop new constituencies.