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09 November 2005

Elections 2005... looking to 2006 and 2008

Congratulations to now-Governor elect Tim Kaine in Virginia, Governor elect Jon Corzine in New Jersey, and all the other winners in last night's election, Democrats and Republicans alike. Running for office is a hard thing to do, and winning is even harder. No matter what your party or ideology, good luck in the coming term of office. I'm a little disappointed (and puzzled) by the Reform Ohio Now ballot initiatives... I was sure they would be a good way to prevent another 2004-type election.

I'm also puzzled by the results in the Detroit Mayoral race... Not living in Detroit, I don't have a say in it, but I care about the largest city in Michigan, and I had figured Hendrix would win easily. The rather corrupt administration of Kwame Kilpatrick, I thought, was going to end, but somehow, contrary to all the polls, Kilpatrick did it. Matt at Michigan Liberal sums it up pretty well. Let's hope the future of Detroit will be better than its past.

So all that's over. What's next?

One common complaint I've received when trying to convince others of Senator Feingold's potential as a candidate and president is that it's only 2005, and I should be focusing on the midterms instead. My answer-- why can't I do both?

The 2006 campaign starts today. Michigan Liberal has what is becoming a very valuable resource: profiles of every district in the state legislature, every congressional district, and soon, every statewide race. Every district needs a Democratic candidate, and not just a sacrificial lamb, but someone who will really, truly fight for his or her beliefs. Howard Dean and Russ Feingold advocate a 50 State Strategy, but for all of you in Michigan, let's start out with an 83 County Strategy. We can win in this state, but all too often, the Democratic message isn't heard outside of Detroit and Ann Arbor.

I remember listening to an interview a while ago on NPR with Robert Kennedy, Jr., and he said something which I think is absolutely true. I'm not going to quote it exactly, but it was something to the effect of, "Ninety percent of the Republicans I meet are Democrats who don't really know what's going on." West Michigan is the land of Gerald Ford, not Jerry Falwell. I believe we can win there.

But I don't know how yet. The elections of 2006 will mark a definite change, I think. It will see the end of the "swing state" and the beginning of a political landscape where we fight for every state in the union, every district, every voter. I don't know how this will happen, but I know that it begins with us, the grassroots. And so I'll be working hard over the next year.

And thus we come to 2008. This shift in political strategies can only help Senator Feingold should he choose to run-- he has proven repeatedly that he's willing to talk to all Americans, whether they're in Alabama or California. He doesn't have the "Red State Appeal" that Mark Warner and Evan Bayh have. He's appealing to all Americans, because he's more honest and trustworthy than any other politician in Washington. He can run in every state and win, too.

If we're serious about wanting President Feingold in January 2009, we need to build the network of support. But that network is more than just some bloggers who like to write about him. It's even more than just a loyal following of supporters in the primaries, along the lines of "Deaniacs." It's about building a party that he can lead to victory.

Over the coming weeks, I'm going to be focusing a bit on local Michigan races and what we can do here. "All politics is local," right?

So let's get to work. I'm done ranting tonight.


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