Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Thursday, November 16

Sen: Brown (D) Campaign as Model for Progressives in 2008

Robert Borosage has a good diary at MyDD analyzing the race and arguing that the unapologetic economic populism of senator-elect Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) is a model for other progressive candidates to follow in 2008, even in socially conservative states:
Brown's victory shows Democrats that a hard-hitting economic populist campaign can carry an unapologetic anti-war social liberal to victory over a tough conservative assault on terror and taxes, liberalism and national security. Brown's victory came in a state suffering from the loss of manufacturing jobs where the economy was the most important issue, although the campaigns probably contributed to that. But the 2006 election took place when the Bush economy was about at its best - having mortgaged the store at home and abroad. With the bust of the housing bubble starting to set in, 2008 is quite likely to take place in an economy suffering from stagnation, if not worse. Progressives should take a good look at Brown's race.
This is a really important point. I asked Sherrod Brown the day after the election if he thought his approach could translate to other states, or if it was instead too tied to conditions on the ground in Ohio (bad economy, corrupt state government). He identified candidates in other states who have run successfully on the same issues that he emphasized.

The Republicans have been engaged in an intensive PR campaign since the election, trying to convince the nation that the newly elected Democrats are mostly moderate-to-conservative, so that the overall result can be read as a shift to the right. It is utter nonsense. Although there are some prominent examples of social conservatives among the Democratic victors, there is also a broad consensus on populist economic themes like raising the minimum wage, rolling back the tax cuts for the wealthy, and reducing the influence of big corporations on government, not to mention opposition to the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq and Bush's cutting of benefits for veterans, students, and the poor. The way to win elections in 2008 is not to shift to the right, but to speak directly to the middle class about progressive positions on issues they care about.


At 7:24 PM, Blogger objective observer said...

i'm not sold on sherrod's ability to target the economy. he campaigned so heavy on the anti-war platform i don't think the ohio economy is high on his agenda. he's anti nafta, anti cafta. what he doesn't seem to understand is ohio is the 7th biggest exporter in the country. doing away with these agreements are not good for ohio manufacturers or farmers. i hope he remembers it really is the economy stupid.

At 7:33 PM, Anonymous Dave Hickman said...

I'm not sold that Sherrod's "campaign model" actually won the campaign for him.

In order for any other Democrat to take this "model" seriously, they would also need for the Republican's to repeat another complete meltdown.

In addition, any future Democrat running would need a highly popular up-ticket candidate like Ted Strickland as well. Few if any NEO Dems could mobilize east and southeast Dems like Ted Strickland.

Also, future Democrat candidates would likely need to figure-out a way to heal Southwestern and Western Democrat wounds that occurred during Sherrod and the ODP's swiftboating and abandonment of Paul Hackett.

In other words, in my opinion, Sherrod did not establish some sort of wonder "model" for Dems to win elections. Instead, Sherrod was the fortunate beneficiary of a set of highly unusual circumstances that likely will not come to pass in the future.


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