A Look Back At the Strategic Battle of 2012

If only because of the overlap between the strategic questions facing progressives right now and those facing the Obama campaign in the 2012 elections, I’m suggesting you check out a post I did for The Democratic Strategist assessing the two presidential candidates’ election strategies, and why Obama’s was superior. Two arguments I make are worth litigating, even if you disagree: (1) Obama’s much-despised “bipartisanship” that led up to his “pivot” to a more frankly partisan message at the end of 2011 was designed to and may have succeeded in making his attacks on Republicans successful; and (2) in all the quite understandable (if somewhat over-the-top) praise for Obama’s GOTV program, Democrats are in danger of forgetting the very different electorate they will face in 2014. Here’s the money quote from the end:

[A]ny progressive who thinks a magic formula of maximum partisan confrontation and the best GOTV money can buy is a cure-all for the Democratic Party is courting defeat in the very immediate future.

I sometimes feel like a crank in constantly drawing attention to the very new phenomenon of near-perfect alignment of the two parties with voters who do and don’t vote in midterm elections, but it’s a problem for Democrats that they should not expect their beloved “nerds” to fix without some serious help from Democratic policies and messaging.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.