On a conference call today, James Carville suggested that the Democratic Party should expand beyond just the top targeted races. He believes the party should help fund previously ignored Democratic challengers in second- and third-tier districts -- the next 30 to 50 Republican-held seats -- to fully capitalize on this environment and help those candidates maximize their chances of winning. Carville went as far as to suggest Democrats go to the bank and borrow $5 million. If I were them, I'd make it $10 million and put $500,000 each of these 20 districts.The ability to take advantage of a situation just like this was the rationale for DNC Chairman Howard Dean's "50-State Strategy," which US News etc. described as "a multimillion-dollar program to rebuild the Democratic Party from the ground up."
Over the past year, the DNC has hired and trained four staffers for virtually every state party in the nation--nearly 200 workers in all--to be field organizers, press secretaries, and technology specialists, even in places where the party hasn't been competitive for decades. "It's a huge shift," Dean tells U.S. News. "Since 1968, campaigns have been about TV and candidates, which works for 10 months out of the four-year cycle. With party structure on the ground, you campaign for four years."Unfortunately, Dr. Dean's visionary strategy has received little or no support from Illinois' Democratic leaders.
DCCC Chair Rep. Rahm Emanuel risked starving the Dean plan in its infancy by demanding more Democratic cash for his pet districts at the expense of party-building in Red States. In addition, Illinois state party leaders have given Dean's team the cold shoulder. As a result, Dean's only in-road into downstate Red-Illinois is a lone outpost in Madison County.
If you back Dr. Dean's long term thinking, you can support the "50-State Strategy" here.
UPDATE OCT 17: Larry the Archpundit apparently thinks I have created a false dichotomy.