DLC report argues for the West
As we've been arguing here at WesternDemocrat, it's critical to change the political map. If we continue to rely on the solid Northeast, the solid West Coast, and the 18 or so swing states, Democrats will continue to lose at the national level.
The DLC has just released a new report that argues the same:
We believe it is important that Democrats look at the country as it is, and as it is likely to be, and dedicate themselves to an effort to expand their ranks into what has previously been considered "enemy territory."
From the report itself, the Ken Salazar win in Colorado is "success story #1":
Centrist Attorney General Ken Salazar of Colorado took away a Republican Senate seat in 2004, winning 52.4 percent of the vote against GOP nominee Pete Coors, even as John Kerry, in a performance that exceeded Al Gore’s, won just 47.6 percent of the vote.
Salazar’s win was clearly not attributable to better performance in Democratic base areas.
His total vote exceeded Kerry’s by 79,456; the two big Democratic base counties, Denver and Boulder, contributed only 4,362 votes to that margin. Heavily Republican and incredibly fast-growing Douglas County, with 39 percent VAP growth from 2000 to 2004, alone contributed 5,764 votes.
Appendix 2 divides Colorado’s counties into five groups based on VAP growth rates between 2000 and 2004. The first quintile (11 percent VAP growth) produced 46,832 more votes for Salazar than Kerry, well over one-half of his statewide margin. The second quintile produced another 17,371 votes. In percentage terms, the same picture is evident. In large Colorado counties, Salazar’s percentage of the vote exceeded Kerry’s by 2.7 percent in Democratic counties, by 5.3 percent in marginal counties, and by 4.2 percent in Republican counties. In smaller counties, he improved on Kerry’s vote by 3.6 percent in Democratic counties, by 5.8 percent in marginal counties, and by 8.3 percent in Republican counties.
Ken Salazar’s advantage over Kerry in large Republican and marginal counties was really the difference, since together they gained 169,000 in VAP, even as large Democratic counties lost 20,000 in VAP.
Salazar’s campaign placed special emphasis on his law enforcement experience, his national security views, and his mainstream cultural values, helping him address several persistent voter concerns about the Democratic Party. This strategy paid off in significantly lower Republican margins in fast-growing counties.
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(and yes, we know that sometimes they're very, very wrong. Other times, they're right on.)