jump to navigation

Howard Dean and the 2006 Elections November 9, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in bush administration, politics.

With Sen. George Allen’s concession speech today, the Democrats have officially taken over the House and Senate. The Democrats were able to pull off wins in many red states that were wrote-off in 2004: Virginia and Montana to name a couple. No single person deserves more credit for this victory than Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

Governor Dean had faced harsh criticism for his “50 State Plan,” which hoped to make the Democrats more competitive in states considered to be solid red. Dean began building grassroots infrastructure in all 50 states to the ire of many beltway Democrats who wanted more money for close races. Dean was stubborn… and it paid off.

Although Dems were optimistic even a few months before the election, they had failed to predict kicking out many of the Republican incumbents who were ousted on Tuesday. Without Dean’s infrastructure already on the ground in these conservative states, it is entirely possible that the party would not have realized the potential to pick up these states and districts until it was too late to catch up. Because the personnel was trained and on the ground, the grassroots could kick into action instead of spending weeks on administrative organizing. Many of the Democrats in the conservative districts won by a very narrow margin… would they have pulled it off without the “50 State Plan”?

Other Democrats deserve a lot of credit also, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi. But it was the vision of Howard Dean (and the other architects of the “50 State Plan”) that helped create such a healthy Democratic margin in the House, and he most likely set the Democrats up to succeed in 2008. With Democratic governors now in the majority, the party will have great infrastructure in place for the presidential election.

It has been an extraordinary couple of days. Optimism has returned to us alienated progressives! It’ll be nice talking about health care, minimum wage and ethics reform instead of the Federal Marriage Amendment, English as the official language and a flag burning amendment. What a joke the last Congress was. Now let’s hope both the Democrats and Bush can work together to get something done.

Check out my earlier post which talks more about Dean’s “50 State Plan”.