Thursday, November 04, 2004

Cyclic Nature of Political Parties

George Will writes : "In the 37 elections since 1860 -- the first won by a Republican -- Democrats have won only 14. Only twice in 15 post-World War II elections has the Democratic nominee achieved 50 percent of the vote. American politics has known many oscillations; some scholars have discerned an almost metronomic regularity in its political cycles. Now, however, there is an astonishing stasis, immune even to the winds of war."

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the Democratic Party. From 1932 to 1964, only two Presidential elections saw a Republican victor. Eisenhower was a very moderate Republican at that, and so popular after WWII, he was guaranteed victory.

This is an interesting lesson. First in 1940, after years of Roosevelt, the Republican party reached out to Wendell Wilkie, a moderate businessman, since their "bench" talent was so weak. He was the closest opponent to Roosevelt. When the Republican party finally did win, they reached out to a retired General, not some party hack.

Keep in mind, the Republicans won by 175,000, not 3.5 million voters. If Ohio goes blue, so goes the Presidency, with or without the popular vote. If the Democrats are going to win in 2008, they need to accomplish a few things:

1. Anoint a candidate, and don't hold a bunch of primary battles. In my list below, I've listed a bunch of party hacks, but imagine a successful businessman or a retired military officer.
2. Change the primary schedule. If you insist on an open field of primaries, start in big blue states, then move to large red states. This can test the anointed, or cull the herd of the nationally unelectable. I'd start in Pennsylvania or Michigan, then move to Florida, Virginia, and Colorado.
3. Turn ONE to THREE red states blue. Ohio is very close and can be taken. Florida is a possibility, but I also think Virginia and/or West Virginia can be won by the right candidate.

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