New Voters vs. Swing Voters III

Adapted from a Calpundit comment thread:

What I especially argued for in my piece (here below) was a long-term strategy of party-building. The registration shift toward the Republicans Godless speaks of didn’t just happen. It was the result of about four decades of effort and investment. It’s my understanding that the Democrats have not made that effort, and that their only long-term strategy is continued courtship of the swing voters. Since the Republicans are building their base and we aren’t, the rightward shift really is inevitable.

To me the Dem strategy is comparable to a weak basketball team playing a slowdown game and hoping for the last shot. A strong party could certainly play more aggressively.

For the last couple of years, anyway, I have not asked the Democrats so much to move to the left on the issues, as to play a tougher, more aggressive game. It’s hard to win when you’ve forbidden yourself to take the game to the enemy. And this plays to the main weak spot in the Dem’s image — the wimp factor. A party that campaigns wimpy will be perceived as wimpy on everything. As the infamous (though moderate on most issues) Bartcop asks, how can the Dems fight for the American people when they can’t even fight for themselves? (This is why the Lieberman candidacy is such a joke. Conservative Southern Dem policy wonks like him on the issues, but to the average Southern voter he projects about as much macho as my mother would, and for the Dems losing the wimp image is probably at least as important as the issues.)

So, as I keep saying, I’m Clark/Dean neutral, and I don’t especially propose a leftward shift right at the moment. I just think that, win or lose, after the election the Democrats should rethink their long-term strategy. (If we win, it will only be the Presidency. Congress will still be solidly theirs).

Here’s something I wrote in the past on how DLC caution has materially hurt the Democrats (i.e., has been a loser strategy):

How the New Democrats have Hurt the Party