If you are wondering why/where Kirsten Gillibrand is out front, there’s an interesting article in the NY Times today:
Here’s One List Where Kirsten Gillibrand Is Winning and Kamala Harris Is Tied With Marianne Williamson
Here’s the intro:
Amid the relentless focus on Washington and presidential politics, a liberal political action committee has ranked the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates on something much lower on the political food chain — what they are doing to help Democrats win state legislative seats.
The idea is that rebuilding the party nationally depends on the hard work of winning seats in state legislatures around the country. With that in mind, the two-year-old Future Now Fund, working with the progressive think tank Data for Progress, is trying to apply pressure to the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates by ranking them in terms of who is doing the most to help Democrats win state legislative races.
The article focuses on a study which tries to rank how the assorted candidates are helping Democrats at the state level in their campaigns with the Party Builder Index. As the website explains:
WHY THIS REALLY MATTERS
2020 Dems have a lot on their plate. Is this really what they need to focus on? Should you even care? YES!
- A single nominee alone cannot fix all that’s wrong.
- Winning the White House and Congress goes through states.
- States control important policies — the same ones presidential candidates always talk about.
Here’s a partial screenshot of the top rankings. (See the whole comparison at the web site.)
What happens in the states matters a lot. It’s where voting districts, election rules, and primaries are controlled. It’s where abortion-rights battles are being fought. It’s where decisions are made to accept or reject Medicaid Expansion. It’s where education policy gets implemented. It’s where the enforcement of environmental laws happens. It’s where laws are passed that end up before the Supreme Court. It’s where governors veto or sign legislation, where attorneys general attack or defend federal laws/programs. It’s where enough legislatures can vote to call for a constitutional convention…
If Democrats have a weakness, it’s the unconscious assumption that all that matters is electing the President and expecting She/He can do all the heavy lifting. It’s why Democratic turnout drops in non-presidential election years — and the party gets screwed at all levels. The party establishment in DC tends to forget this — DC is where all the Big Money shows up to lobby, and it’s easy to forget that it’s voters back home who put them there. They’re not in their faces every day or taking them out to dinner or handing them pre-written legislation — or big checks. It’s also about not wanting to give up control of the money and all that goes with it.
The Fifty State Strategy of Howard Dean made a big difference — and can upset those comfortable relationships. It looks at the long term, not just the immediate election. There’s a natural tendency to resist spending money where they odds of winning are not good. But, if you don’t play at all, your odds of losing are 100%.
There’s an argument that the best strategy is to concentrate resources on swing states, where a small difference in the outcome can prove critical. The point of going on the offensive everywhere is that it can force your opponent to have to divert resources to places where they’ve never felt the need to mount a defense, places where they may prove surprisingly vulnerable. It’s a strategy for the long term — and the GOP has been about long term planning for years now while Democrats have started over every election cycle.
Nobody ‘presidents’ alone. For all that Trump answers to no one, he still has the party in lock-step behind him at all levels, and the backing of a long term strategy whose aim is permanent Republican rule. Democrats need to stop believing in a Super President who can save them with a magical election win. They must go about the hard work of building an army that can go on the offensive in every state and provide the boots on the ground to ensure a lasting victory.
If you are still making up your mind which candidate to support, don’t forget to keep track of who gets this. The Future Now Fund’s Party Builder will be updating their results and you can get notifications. (And probably requests for money, but nothing is free, right?)