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Column: Smart Democratic strategy a welcome sight

Former Vermont governor Howard Dean announced this week that over the next two years his group Democracy for America will spend in state races with an eye toward building a Democratic advantage around the country. “A little money goes a long way in these state legislative races,” Dean noted. To that end, his group will spend $750,000 this year on behalf of five candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates.

It’s hard to overstate how smart a way this is for liberal groups to invest their time and money. Virginia is a great case study for why state-level gains are key. Democrats control both of Virginia’s U.S. Senate seats, and the state was key to President Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012. Despite this, Republicans control all three statewide offices (governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general) and the House of Delegates, and they have the tie-breaking vote in the state Senate. The result? Republicans have had little difficulty pushing a strong conservative agenda in Virginia.

This week, for example, Gov. Bob McDonnell introduced an amendment that would ban abortion coverage in the health insurance exchange established under the Affordable Care Act. Given the GOP’s decisive advantage in the General Assembly, there’s little doubt this will pass. Virginia’s votes for Democratic Senate and presidential candidates suggest they aren’t hostile to Roe v. Wade. But these voters aren’t the ones turning out for off-year state elections.

This dynamic was clear in the last round of midterm elections. In addition to losing control of the House in 2010, Democrats suffered huge losses on the state level. In Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and North Carolina, Republicans won full or partial control of state legislatures, wrestling majorities away from Democrats. Not only did this give Republicans power to set agendas and make policy – to, say, break public-sector unions, pass voter identification laws and restrict abortion access – but it also allowed them to gerrymander congressional districts and ensure a more durable GOP majority in Congress.

Winning control of governorships and state legislatures is key if Democrats want to build political strength, advance priorities and secure policy gains long-term.

Legacy Comments9

For those complaining about ALEC and the Koch Brothers, think about what Dean is doing here.

OK. He is mobilizing voters to support democratic party policies, unlike ALEC and the Kochs, who manipulate voters to support corporate policies.

That view is simplistic and it is disingenuous. On the democratic party platform you have slews of entitlements for every special interest group, individuals looking at "what's in it for me". On the ALEC side you have people who are producers, the movers and shakers those pulling the cart , working for corporations and wanting to look out for their jobs, their future. Let me give you an example. If Democrats support all sorts of over burdensome regulations, many of which are not necessary and some which are, it impacts the profit margin at a company. So, that company will make job cuts to make up for it. Shareholders have invested their money to get a modest return, if they can't do that, they won't invest and innovation, products and services will be impacted. Finally, the Koch's pay their employees some of the best salaries and best benefits in the corporate world. As far as manipulation goes, yes certain corporations do manipulate voters by providing disinformation and slanting the facts, they are called the mainstream "press". Your assumption is that liberals are enlightened and those who are not are neanderthals that march like lemmings behind corporate bosses. What a sad and false view of your fellow citizens.

"A record-breaking 47.8 million Americans are on food stamps, an increase of about 1.3 million from a year earlier. The official unemployment rate is 7.7 percent, a number that obscures the reality that millions of Americans who have given up looking for work aren’t counted, and that the labor force participation rate of 63.6 percent measured in December 2012, is the lowest in 32 years. The national debt is $16.7 trillion and growing. White House tours have been cancelled due to sequestration. And amidst it all, Barack Obama and his family have taken four lavish vacations in three months".......yea lets blame it on the Koch Bros

Democrats & Food stamp president: Enrollment up 70 percent under Obama

And the question begs........where are the jobs? Heck, where are those "green" jobs? Black unemployment at an all time high. Hispanic unemployment at an all time high. Overall employment over 8% for the fifth year in a row........and they say that progressives and their supporters are not low information, naive voters.

Obama and the democrats unemployment # is a LIE - the % of the able population working is lower than the 1980's and the democrats have propped up the economy with Monopoly money

On Wall Street.

Jobs? Actually, hiring is quite brisk in NH. It might be more so if we had not slaughtered our educational funding, thank you NHGOP

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