Monday, October 13, 2008

The Nation is in Play

One of the most significant movements within the Democratic Party this decade has been what's dubbed "the 50 state strategy." It was a cause of many of us in the blogging and activist communities, and championed by Howard Dean when he became the head of DNC. Now I think it's easy to see that all the hard work is paying off.

The conventional wisdom for the last decade is that the US is firmly divided politically, the red and blue states. Every election comes down to the handful of battleground states - Ohio, Florida, yadda yadda. And so the strategy by the Democratic Party has been to concede half the nation to the Republicans, and then fight it out over the undecideds.

Somehow, there was great resistance to this idea of challenging every race in every state. It's clearly a long-term goal, one that wouldn't succeed in 2002 or 2004. 2006, however, saw the first fruits of this labor, and 2008 will see the first real paradigm shift. Four years ago, all the talk was about the "permanent Republican majority." Now, we're on the eve of an Obama landslide and the possibility of a 100-seat Democratic majority in the House and a 60-seat majority in the Senate. That's a very rapid shift, and it was only possible by building a national organization, from the ground up.

It's funny to hear tv news still speak about "battleground" states with the old paradigm in mind. They're still obsessed with Florida and Ohio and Michigan and Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, in the year 2008, seemingly unbeatable Republican states are now in play. Ohio, Florida, Iowa are solidly for Obama. Virginia is in play. North Carolina is in play. Nevada is in play. Heck, even Georgia is in play.

Now we're seeing today that North Dakota is in play. Public Affairs Institute is giving Obama a slight lead in today's poll, leading McCain 45 - 43.

What does this mean? Only one poll, of course, but the numbers have been tight for some time, and even though Obama has pulled his resources to Minnesota and other states, the ground game, the infrastructure is still in place for organizing and building the votes in North Dakota. It's quite possible that Obama could win the state on November 4.

I think it's pretty clear to all but the most lumpen-headed among us that Barack Obama will win the Presidential election. The key now is to rack up the score and win by blowout. The whole nation is in play. There are no more red states, not in 2008.

Everybody needs to do their part, do everything you can, to help us win big on election night. If North Dakota can be won...? Wow.

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