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Sunday, January 30, 2005

How the Democrats Can Win

My two bits to the present discusson on Instapundit on how to save the Democratic party...

When the Democratic party has something to offer, policywise, that voters prefer to what the GOP offers, the Democrats will do better at the polls.

That may seem like a "well, duh!," but that's what it will take.

Sure, they might win some major elections here and there (such as Clinton's two terms), but if the Democrats really want to reestablish themselves as the majority party, they have to present a coherent, consistent and appealing policy platform, and market it well.

Right now the Democrats are defining themselves as the "anti-Republicans." That's honest, but it does not tell voters how they will govern. And it (mostly) limits the party's appeal to those voters who already dislike Republicans. Where's the appeal to the voters who dislike both parties, or sort-of like each?

So, perversely, if the Democrats want to win elections what they need to do is stop worrying about winning elections and start working harder on what they would do if they did win.

For example, they might start by getting together on what they want to do about health care, an issue they talk about a lot, but never seem to do much about (Mrs. Clinton's disaster notwithstanding, and even her plan was never seriously proposed as legislation -- in fact, it was proposed in Congress by a Republican, Dick Armey, who did it just to watch it die).

The Democrats, speaking generally, want government-run health care. But even with this degree of broad agreement, they don't bother to get together behind a plan.

Last week, John Kerry had a major press conference to tout his plan to have the federal government block-grant cash to the states if the states offer expanded health care coverage. On January 12, Ted Kennedy had a major press conference calling for the expansion of federal Medicare coverage to every man, woman and child in the United States within ten years.

So we have two liberal Massachusetts Democrats who supposedly get along offering two differing versions of the road to socialized medicine in the same month. If Kerry's and Kennedy's goal was to enact policy, they'd get together behind the scenes and work together to push one plan. But if their goal is to maximize press coverage, and stop Bush from succeeding, well, two press conferences saying any old thing, as long as it is not what Bush is saying, will do just fine.

The day the Democrats stop trying to maximize their press coverage and start trying to maximize their efforts to actually deliver something for the people that the people want (which won't be socialized medicine, but that's something to discuss at another time) will be the day they take their biggest step back to power.

In the meantime, watch for them on TV. They'll be the ones titled "minority."

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:02 AM

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