More 50

by Brien Jackson

To follow up on my post from yesterday, I made the flippantly off hand comment that I didn’t really understand why progressives are so invested in the 50 state strategy, and I think I ought to elaborate on that.

Without wading into conceptual arguments about what the 50 state strategy was, let’s look at what it did. If nothing else, what Howard Dean did with the 50 state strategy was to recruit viable candidates for marginal to outside chance races who could capitalize on Republican falterings and declining Republican popularity in general. This was very good for the margins of the Democratic caucuses in Congress, but the most practical effect of this was to help Blue Dogs and other conservative Democrats. At the very least the main beneficiaries disagree with progressives on certain issues. Mark Begich, for example, favors drilling in ANWR because he wants to get elected, and drilling is very popular with Alaskans. And because Begich wants to get re-elected, he’s going to vote in favor of drilling in the Senate. And that’s great for Senate Democrats, because it gives them a fighting chance of holding the seat in 2014. But this kind of things holds across the board, and applies to lots of Blue Dogs, and it’s generally the sort of thing that ends with Kos and Sirota advocating a primary challenge. Which is why their reflexive support for the strategy that makes it possible for these guys to have Congressional seats doesn’t really make sense.

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