Thursday, September 18, 2003

What about a Northern Strategy? What about a Western Strategy?

Donkey Rising comments on a WSJ column that argues that the Democrats should forget about the South. DR agrees, sort of:

The South? Who Needs ‘Em!

That’s kind of the flavor of John Harwood’s piece in the Wall Street Journal, where he argues "Democrats’ Woes in Dixie Hurt Case for Edwards, Clark". Actually, Harwood has it wrong about the effect on the case for Clark, which mostly hinges on his ability to attract swing voters outside the south, rather than his ability to carry Arkansas or similar southern states.

But he is right about the electoral math. With the exception of Florida, Democrats need a northern, not a southern, strategy that will build on the 260 electoral votes they have captured in three successive presidential elections and extend their majority to lower midwestern, southwestern and other contested states outside the south. Of course, it’s good to be competitive in some southern states to tie up Republican resources and pick up the odd victory, but the Democrats don’t need those states. Their needs lie elsewhere and Harwood is correct to highlight this.

I think it is long past time for the Democratic party to get over its obsession with the South. We shouldn't surrender it. But we should, as DR suggests, develop a "northern strategy" (as well as a western strategy) as well.


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