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.