Saturday, February 25, 2006

Building the Farm System

Good news in today's New York Times about the Democratic Party's ability to build presidential talent. Howard Dean is hoping the Democrats can swing five to seven governorships, according to this Times piece, and state corner offices are a much better breeding ground for good presidential talent than the Senate (remember that fact that kept coming up during the 2004 campaign, that the last sitting senator to jump to the Oval Office was John F. Kennedy).

Heavily Democratic Massachusetts and New York, both of which are currently run by Republicans, are likely to switch and there is an outside chance, with Arnold Schwarzenegger's problems in 2005, that California could return to the Democratic column as well. According to the Times piece, Alaska, Arkansas (traditionally Democratic), Maryland (traditionally Democratic), Nevada, Ohio (the outgoing Republican governor is embroiled in a scandal), Florida and Minnesota all have a better than even-odds chance of going the Democrats' way.

This is, of course, another refreshing bit of good news, after about 5 years of hearing about Republican gains all over the map. To win these governors' chairs, the Democrats need to follow Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine's model of neutralizing the social issues and emphasizing technocratic competency on issues about which people really care, like education and transportation. They can also nationalize these races by emphasizing how poorly the Republican administration is running the federal government (see: any number of blunders in 2005).

Shockingly, Republicans control 28 of 50 governors' offices, including the liberal strongholds of New York, Massachusetts and California, so the Democrats are fully capable of screwing this one up. We simply can't afford to let this opportunity pass, as the dearth of qualified, electric presidential candidates over the last two election cycles has shown. Let's build the farm system.


Post a Comment

<< Home