The next intraparty controversy is going to be over the Democrats' decision to spend $50 million getting out the vote of those whose only vote ever was for Barack Obama in 2008. This is not what Rahm Emanuel would do. It is what David Plouffe is doing. Organizing for America, the grassroots, progressive wing of the Democratic National Committee, is getting all the love and attention they could want, and we should be ecstatic. But don't expect any love or approval from the white blogosphere, who will interpret this as an abandonment of traditional progressive groups.Obama won in 2008 by empowering both the under-represented margins and convincing the middle to vote against the Republicans. This is a smart move because any midterm election is always, always, always about turnout, turnout, turnout. Getting even more of the people who voted for the first time for Obama to turn out for the Democrats again in 2010 is the way the Dems will maintain power. Going after traditional midterm voters only is a losing proposition. You need to motivate your side to go out and vote when they wouldn't ordinarily do so.
This will unite the James Carville wing of the party with Jane Hamsher wing.
The cries of doom and gloom over this are already rising.
"I have zero confidence that they're heading in the right direction here," says one longtime Democratic organizer who didn't want to be quoted by name criticizing his party's major midterm election initiative. Added another: "I think they're going to come in for a very rude awakening. It's going to be brutal."Of course the people running the party machinery think this is going to be bad. Of course they think the only way to win is to tell progressives to screw off and accept it. Yes, it's risky. But the alternative is to play the GOP's game.
If that turns out to be the case, the doubters say, Democrats will wake up the morning of Nov. 3 wishing they had spent that $50 million on more traditional methods, like television ads, for reaching their base and persuading independents.
And that's a guaranteed loser.