For the last 15 years or so, the Democrats and Republicans have tried to strategically place candidates around the country in places where open seats may have a chance or where significant polling shows they have a chance.
This was never more evident than in John Kerry's 17 state strategy. Win in 17 key battleground states and ignore the rest of the country and you can electorally win the Presidency. Don't spend a dime anywhere else. The result was hundreds of races around the country without a Democratic choice even on the ballot in congressional and state houses. Thousands of angry voters who had only the Kerry race to vote on and who were neglected as people in doubt as to conservative leadership.
Along comes Howard Dean as Chairman of the Democratic Party. He has a new strategy. Let's put as many candidates on as many ballots as we can nationwide. Let them raise money locally in their own communities and help them all (with a bit more for those who show promise towards the end).
Man did THAT pay off and we all learned an important message.
Let me give you the best example in the nation of this strategy in action:
Jim Webb would have never been running against George Allen when he made the hideous "macaca" gaff if it hadn't been for Dean's 50 state strategy.
We certainly could have won other seats had the national money not been spread so thin. We certainly could have defeated Sensenbrenner had we had the money to spend here. But the fact is that nationwide dissatified Americans had a choice to make yesterday. Not a choice between the guy we have and some crazy independent they don't know (not all are crazy and some like Sanders are actually pretty cool) like I had in 2002 when I went to the polls to find my choice between Sensenbrenner and crazy guy indy with no Dem on the ballot at all. I, and all in our district had a real choice and although 170,000+ voted for Sensenbrenner yesterday. We also found out that 101,000+ people in my district had a real choice of heroic Bryan Kennedy and we made our voices heard. That's a lot of unhappy voters for ANY Representative to deal with and F. Jim will be paying attention over the next two years to us.
The bottom line is that we had choices nationwide and all the pundits are scratching their heads because nationwide incumbants who were though untouchable because of gerrymandering and demographics were booted out easily because the people had a choice.
Thank you Howard Dean! You have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that a nationwide movement cannot happen with a 17 state strategy.
All Dems should take note for 2008. We must fight the battle EVERYWHERE. We cannot give up the south, we cannot give up the northwest or the southwest. This country is more homogenous than even the pollsters know. We are all Americans and we ALL deserve the respect of being addressed personally when you want our vote.
You gave us that respect in 2006, thanks to the brilliance of your leader. Get behind him and he will lead you to a much sweeter victory in 2008!