The 50 State Strategy, by dnd


Electoral College2008

Weeks from now, when pundits write about the 2008 election, and years from now, when historians write about the election, numerous factors will be cited.  Race, age, gender, the economic meltdown, the war, etc.  One of the most significant I think will be the “50 state strategy”.  And for that DNC chair Howard Dean deserves credit.

Dean’s strategy to engage all 50 states, rather than only the solidly blue states, was not only responsible for the landslide victory of President-elect Obama, but of the Democrats successfully picking up House and Senate seats.  State offices likewise turned blue.  And it may result in even more red states turning blue.

One can assume that the next RNC chair might adopt a similar policy.  But it won’t work.  Why?  Because the idea is already out there.  The way you win is to have a new idea that the competition has never thought of.

In 1965 Ed Thorpe wrote a book called Beat the Market: A Scientific Stock Market System. In the book Thorpe detailed how he used derivatives to make a ton of money in the market.  In the introduction of the book he answered the question: “If this is making you so much money, why tell everybody about it?” by saying that others would soon discover these methods, thus rendering it unusable.

In the 2004 book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game Michael Lewis wrote of Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane’s analytical approach to assembling a competitive baseball team despite Oakland’s disadvantaged revenue situation.  Other teams have since tried to replicate these methods, and have failed (baseball fans, I know the last two NL/AL champs have been exceptions, but Paul DePodesta, the brains behind the A’s success, has gone on to fail at LA and San Diego).   The horse is out of the barn.

For Republicans to regroup, they need to think of something new and fresh.  The 50 state strategy will not work for them now.



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102 responses to “The 50 State Strategy, by dnd

  1. dog's eye view

    Nannym: condolences on the loss of BT. Know you will miss your pet.

    I look forward to the GOP thinking of something new and fresh too, and maybe even worth trying.

    Interesting column, and kudos to Dr. Dean.

  2. horsedooty

    add my condolences on the loss of BT.

  3. Nannymm

    Thanks, Brian and dog’s eye.
    I, personally, am in no rush for the repugs to regroup or recover. The longer they remain in the wilderness, the better.
    Fortunately, I don’t have to worry too much. If they are true to form, they will retreat into cultural conservativism, and that’s not going to help them make gains in 2010.

  4. Nannymm

    Thanks, Doots.

  5. dnd

    Nannymm, Sorry to hear about BT. Dogs are special members of our families.

  6. horsedooty

    I agree with Brian…what a beautiful map.

  7. dnd, as always, an interesting post worth the read. While Dean and Obama deserve a lot of credit for the 50 state strategy, whomever made the decision NOT to participate in the presidential public financing made it possible to have the 50 state strategy and leave the old southern strategy to the Republicans because the Democrats collected more money than in any other presidential election. I’m afraid the public financing of elections is now dead because the liberal, progressive candidate said no. Thus, the Republicans will say no next time and it will be a free for all in raising as much money as each party can possibly accumulate. The Internet money machine did make it possible for millions of people to contribute to their favorite candidate. The Republicans will catch up on how to make the Internet work for them, too, along with new ways to tap into other money making schemes. Money is still at the root of presidential politics, regardless of the surface strategies!

  8. horsedooty


    I agree with your contention. I think public financing as it is now listed is a Republican flawed policy. Maybe sometime in the future someone will try to rewrite it.

  9. Palin on Fox tonight, Today Show tomorrow, sounds like someone is planning on running in 2012

  10. dnd

    I think you’re absolutely right that Republicans will figure out new ways to raise money. And I think you’re unfortunately correct that public financing of elections is off the table for a while.

    It’s an interesting mental exercise to question if the 50 state strategy wouldn’t have worked if Obama had opted for public financing. My thinking is that Obama may have won the GE, but it brings into question the down-ticket races. What the electoral map doesn’t tell us is how close races were in each state.

    My hope is that the Republican party returns to fiscal conservatism and keeping the government out of one’s personal life. That they cut the mean spirited crap of Atwater, Rove and Gingrich. That could help them with the blue dog Democrats. The Republicans need a leadership a la Barry Goldwater, Bill Miller, Bob Dole, Chuck Hagel, Nelson Rockefeller, Lincoln Chafee and Teddy Roosevelt. They need smart, ethical, honest people. They do not need Sarah Palin.

  11. I wouldn’t count on it dnd, the crazy right wingers are going to end up with control, they are far more organized than the moderates.

  12. Boy I just got a little misty eyed seeing the Obamas welcomed to the white house

  13. Nannymm

    I’m not sure that public financing is a good idea anymore, What Obama did this election cycle was voter financing: we voted first with our contributions, then at the polls. I think it worked because he earned our support and made us want to contribute to his campaign. Even if McCain had not accepted public financing, Obama would have been able to raise alot more money. In fact, I suspect that the real reason McCain wanted public financing was because he had such limited appeal and limited fund raising potential.

  14. dnd

    No, the crazy right wingers won’t go for it. But the conservative pragmatists are probably thinking they can’t let the loonies run the party anymore.

  15. Well it’s sure to be a battle royal, and going to be great fun to watch!

  16. dnd

    While I think voter financing is a good first amendment argument, I worry about the tyranny of the masses. I prefer a level playing field, a shorter campaign, and instant runoff voting.

  17. dog's eye view

    What aircraft is PEBO (Pres Elect Barack Obama) flying around in? Is it Air Force Two, or a government jet? Would assume he’s under protection and traveling on the public nickel now elected?

  18. Govt. chartered American Airlines jet

  19. Nannymm

    It’s a chartered jet, American Airlines, I think. The travel is arranged and paid for by the gov’t.

  20. My only concern regarding campaign funding is that it be a completely transparent process. Public financing is dead!

  21. dnd

    Well, public financing has always been dead. The losers want it the winner’s don’t. Guess who gets their wish?

    Complete transparency would be a good thing. I’d get rid of 527’s too.

  22. chefsheila

    I hate to say I told you so… I don’t!

    I told you so brian. 😈

  23. dnd

    Circuit City has declared chapter 11. DHL has shut down US operations.

    Things are probably gonna get worse before they get better…

  24. chefsheila

    Nanny, So sorry about BT. I hate to hear of pets passing on.

    So what does BT Stand for?

  25. Public financing is a first amendment issue in my mind as well, dnd. In addition to those ideas you’ve listed, a shorter campaign, and instant runoff voting, I would argue for free television time. Ask yourself, where does an overwhelming majority of campaign money go? To television! If the campaigns want to add to the free television time, so be it. But, at the least, let’s have free access for some time for the lesser known candidates without money to gain public exposure.

  26. Off thread: Let’s see if KO will list his MSNBC colleague tonight on Worst. In case you hadn’t heard, Joe used the F word, which doesn’t bother me, except he’s been a huge hypocrit campaigning to the FCC over Janice Jackson, Howard Stern, Bono, and everyone else who uses the F word on television, cable or otherwise.

  27. dnd

    Free air time for both broadcast tv and radio is a great idea. I’m guessing cable and satellite would be immune. There’s probably got to be some threshold for who would be allowed, but I think that’s a great idea.

  28. chefsheila

    dnd, Dean was Brilliant! When the Bellyaching first start in 2005, I wondered if he had the !@#$ to stick with it, bu WOW! He did a brilliant thing. It allowed Obama to add to the numbers in each state and thats how we blew them away.

    I bet there some satisfaction in hearing all the naysayers congratulate him.

    I have to say, If we weren’t a majority now, They Republicans wouldn’t have time to rest on their Burnt little Booties. THey’d be slamming back hard.

    However, my prediction is that most of the reality based Republicans are going to Be bipartisan like it had never left Capital Hill.

    The Ultra Right Wing will feel very bitter and alone if they try anything in the next 4 years and maybe into the next decade.

    No, I think we’ll see little flaps and a lot of whining, but that is all.

  29. dnd

    Didn’t take too long for Scarborough to make it to youtube:

  30. Nannymm

    Thanks, Sheila. It’s been a hard day for our family today.
    Sorry to disappoint you, Brian, but BT doesn’t stand for Bitch. He was a male toy fox terrior. BT was short for “Baby Tony.”

  31. chefsheila

    Oh Nanny! How cute was that!

    He must have been a real fun guy!

  32. The “Bitch” wasn’t directed at you nann. it was for Sheila, and she knows why!

  33. In case you didn’t get to see it in real time:

  34. chefsheila

    You need to name your “B’s” Babe. 😉

  35. dnd

    Whoa, Michelle Obama is a babe.

    One of the things I love about America is the peaceful, civil, cooperative passing of the torch.

    Yeah I was not pleased with the Clinton camp taking the ‘B’s off the keyboards, and Caribou Barbie is an insult to anyone with a brain, but by in large I’m really happy with the civil, cooperative transition of power.

  36. dnd

    I know you don’t buy the “Africa” thing with Palin. Me neither. I don’t think Palin knows what a continent is, nor could she name the seven continents.

  37. Nannymm

    Opps! I’m not too with it today, Brian. But I don’t think Sheila is any bitchier than the rest of us. LOL

  38. Something about tonight says “pizza”!

  39. dnd

    Pizza is nature’s perfect food and proof God loves us.

  40. You don’t expect much from God do you?

  41. dnd

    I don’t expect much from God, as I’ve received so many blessings in my life. I do think that God expects much from me.

  42. chefsheila

    What philosophical day on BackChannel. 😉

  43. chefsheila

    WOW! Coming across the wires.

    Dean not to seek 2nd term as Dem chairman

    I say Clear cut Cabinet Post like HHS. I hope this is what is happening behind closed doors.

  44. Cause he’s going to the cabinet to HHS. And not just over the wires over, that news is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo two hours old!


  45. Baby Tony rest in peace. I lost one love dog of my life, recently….okay maybe two years, ago but I still hurt when I see her photos…..seems like yesterday

    Nannymm -Let the tears flow and remember in love.

  46. chefsheila

    Show where he is going to HHS and I’ll be happy, but can’t find that yet.

  47. “Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.”
    – Ben Franklin

  48. Maybe Dean has taught them so well that they can continue without his direction…..after the play-book is published all you have to do is follow it

  49. I can’t show you, but I know!

  50. Sarah seems to be a bit ticked off that she was made the fool. How professional…..and statesmen like….”jerks”….Oh I forgot ….McCain says, “you little jerk.”

    imo They are all the same.

  51. chefsheila

    I have no doubt that he has laid the base for the next 20 years.

    I’ve just been wanting him for HHS for a long time. His Health care reform in Vermont was revolutionary compared to the rest of the US.

  52. chefsheila


    She is sooooooo Ignernt Sounding. She needs to take lessons somewhere. Cause you can follow fool some of the people some of the time,,,,But you can’t fool all the people all of the time..

  53. Then why did you put Hillary in that post on fantasy cab picks?

  54. chefsheila

    Because that was a while back and one of you influenced me that Dean would never resign from DNC.

  55. chefsheila

    But seriously. Dean is a long shot, but he would be great. Maybe take over FDA and clean that nightmare up.

  56. Just informed that my son would not want to be a child living in the white house. ( watching the Obama girls going to school on camera) I think the Obama girls will thrive. I believe that this election didn’t just give us Barack, but also Michelle and, in the future, their sweet girls. The wealth of this experience for all of them will be far reaching for years to come.

  57. You were just sucking up to Clintonist, you can’t fool me, LOL

  58. chefsheila

    The one great thing the Press has done for all Children of the White House through history is leave them alone.

    Its hard enough for children to have SS walking a couple of feet away at all times. So the Press who are parents too, are very good to them. Thank Goodness.

  59. It’s nice to know that the younger generations are decidedly supportive of Democratic values…..after all they will be shaping the future, just happy they are on our side.

  60. Shady Pines UB, Shady Pines!

  61. lol

    Shady Pines with crops – that way everyone will be happy

  62. dnd,
    I think Michelle is a babe! You meant it sincerely ?

  63. chefsheila

    The Way I see it, we’re ripe for “Soilent Green”…. 😈

  64. chefsheila

    Oh Buddy Mark has been shooting all day in Chicago for 360. Anderson Cooper is doing something on the hard realities and discomfort of what the residents of Hyde Park (subdivision) are going through since Obama began his campaign.

  65. lol

    we are ready ….we already drank the kool-aid

  66. Mark – get no sleep….I would think after a while he’d star seeing everything as a blurrrrrr…..except the meteorite crater.


  67. chefsheila

    lol Mark has more energy for his age….I wish.

    Well who has better flavor “Soilent Green” ? The Democrats or the Repulicans or the Independents?

    I’d say the first to go would be the Indies. They are more open to a wider variety of foods, that would flavor……lol

    republicans at this point need a couple of years to get the sour out of the mix.

    Democrats would taste like BBQ

  68. One thing, there are hard times like Hyde Park in every mid-sized nothing town, Cleveland, Memphis, Cincinnati, Detroit……Buffalo….and on and on…..too bad Cooper has to pick on Obama ground, at this time and place….what is he serving up……more negativity and despair….

    Hopefully – that will not be the tenor of the Cooper’s report.

  69. chefsheila

    Boomers are the largest sourse of Soilent Green in history. 😉

  70. Never repugs, Soilent Green made from fat cats is too greasy for me.

  71. chefsheila

    lol @Brian

  72. If Obama lets Lieberman off the hook it won’t thrill me, but it’s brilliant politics.

  73. chefsheila

    Its in the measure of what he is trying to do. Yes, its brilliant but its bitter sweet too.

  74. chefsheila

    Senator Palin is enough to make me want to move to another country!

  75. chefsheila

    The Obama move would be seen as very positive in alot of circles. the republicans would be silenced about “Same Old Politics” and would not gain a seat.

    The Progresive Christians like moi, would see it as a real live Jesus Move. The Christian Conservatives would go silent because it would remind them of it too. lol


  76. chefsheila

    SO glad to see this push back on Prop 8

  77. Obama needs and wants the power required to win and make change…..

    He is really an intelligent man. It’s been so long since we’ve seen that in power it is awe- inspiring

  78. okay off to play poker…..

    you guys should try it some time….we could get a table together with chips….no real money, it would be fun….

    I have to win back the 10 bucks I lost last night

  79. chefsheila

    have Fun UB!

  80. yeah brian, strip poker on the internet….I blushing that you knew

  81. peace ~ you guys are the best

  82. chefsheila

    …….Brian, if UB did, you’d Blush! lol

  83. Yeah like I haven’t enough middle aged naked women in my lifetime!

    *runs and hides*

  84. BTW Sheila you know Rick Warren was big force behind prop 8. He’s officially a scum bag now!

  85. chefsheila

    Too bad…..

  86. really good post, DND, just getting around to it today since i am off for Veterans Day. I had a similar conversation about Dean with my wife and another old buddy. Dean even talked abuot turning Utah blue one day in the future. Its turned out to be a great strategy.

  87. Thanks for the update on Georgia Senate race Brian. The ads down here are all about Obama from a negative as well as a positive stand point. The republican here (Chambliss) has the advantage of nearly having won the primary. So, he will have the built in edge.

  88. I’m still waiting on President-Elect Obama to give us some cabinet picks.

    C U Soon…..

  89. dog's eye view

    Good morning. Happy Veteran’s Day. 90 years since the Armistice of the Great War. (Like how UK and Canada ppl wear poppies in remembrance; we should do that too!)

    Sheila will like this one. WaPost columnist Richard Cohen on his fantasy cabinet:

    Obama’s Cabinet: Start With Al Gore

    If there is a single appointment Barack Obama could make to signal how dramatically things will change in Washington, it would be to name Albert Gore Jr. — former House member, former senator, former vice president, former presidential nominee and current Custodian of the Planet — as secretary of state. For all the other aspirants to the job, sorry — this is an inconvenient truth.


    Joel Klein : Secretary of Education

    I like what the was stated in the article above, United States has to have someone in this position that “knows” something….the current educational system is a big disgrace ( speaking from having children at the tail end of high school) it’s truly appalling…..and they go to a school that is considered “good.”

    Good morning dog and anyone else out there.

    Missed a veterinarian appointment, I thought it was today it was yesterday- dang!

  91. chefsheila

    Good Morning from the Left Coast everyone.

    Just getting a cup of Coffee…….but Dog, I laughed. Of course I would LOVE to see my AL in his cabinet and frankly Al Gore would be the absolute best Secretary of State. But I Don’t Think So.

    That would be the impossible pick.

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