The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Friday, April 15, 2005

Another Great Strategy Posting by Dan Carol

Dan Carol offers some advice to some wealthy millionaires meeting to discuss ways to improve the Democratic message. His advice?

Act local, think local, and later go global

He urges them to
1) remember that states are where the action is
2) nurture the grass roots Party structure
3) stop trying to find the perfect bumper sticker

Dan is great because he knows something most people do not. Most progressive social change in this country has emanted from the grass roots and the local level. He knows that where the people lead, the leaders will follow. The forty hour week, over time pay, the minimum wage, workplace protection & safety, civil rights, voting rights, these all were ideas that came from and were built at the grass roots. Washington had to catch up to the people. If you really care about progressive social change, about Democratic values you will focus your energies building up support for social change and commitment to progressive policies close to home.

If instead you think that Washington politics is merely about who is in power - us or them - and that the only difference is in the names of the groups that get the rewards, then spending your time trying to craft the perfect message, the perfect pitch is where you will focus your energies. This top down approach sees politics as a marketing campaign, an advertising challenge for Madison Avenue sloganeers.

But in the end, what gets people is the product you have to offer. VW, Apple iPod, Target all have great ad campaigns, but its the fundamentals of the product that ultimately define their success. Walk into any Target and compare it to KMart and you instantly know this is true.

If Democrats are going to win, getting the message right doesn't mean finding a slogan as catchy as 'The Contract with America.' It means getting Democrats to agree that what we offer voters is greater social justice, a genuine commitment to equal opportunity rather than lip service, fiscal responsibility, preserving our environment for our children and grandchildren, and solving the real crisis that faces us - the health care crisis.

But you can't just say these things. Ultimately you have to prove to people that you mean it by commiting yourself, despite political risks, to taking positions on legislation and walking the walk when the time comes - a la the estate tax and the 42 Democrats who voted for its repeal. Forty freakin two.

The Left Coaster has details on the enlightened 31 who voted for both the Bankruptcy Bill and the Inheritance tax repeal. For information on the Democrats who voted for the latter and the median income of their districts, click here (if the bandwidth problem has been solved).

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