Saturday, June 24, 2006

Schaller's Strategy vs. Schaller's Conclusions

When I first read Tom Schaller's piece on how Mudcat Saunders is all wrong and the Democrats can't win in the South, it seemed to me that he had argued against his own conclusion (and spent too much time getting back at Mudcat for being a jerk to him at YearlyKos). He lays out a strategy for how to win in the South -- win the votes of blacks and enlightened urban/suburban whites, and don't go too hard after the rural vote. Matt Yglesias charitably says that we should regard this strategy as the actual message of Schaller's piece, and I guess that's right.

Then Schaller says this:

And it is this model writ large -- winning outside the rural areas and then taking a record of smart, progressive policies to rural voters for their inspection -- which ratifies the strategy of Democrats first building a non-southern majority, governing confidently and successfully, and then appealing to the South, the nation’s most rural, poor, and conservative region.

There are massive differences between winning state and presidential elections (the electoral college, the presence of a regionalist Southern identity) that make me suspicious of this argument. Furthermore, if Schaller's right and you can win with blacks and suburbanites, why not go ahead and try to chip off some Southern states that way from the beginning?

No comments: