Sunday, January 24, 2010

Off-Year Politics 2010 Should Be A Barn-Burner

Well, we are moving into the 2010 off-year political cycle. The President is moving to centralize control over party strategy and have it run out of the White House. He has brought back in political genius David Plouffe, who orchestrated the successful 2008 Obama victory.

John Avlon, author of "Wingnut: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking American Politics" says that Obama should use the State of the Union speech to call for an end to "playing to the base" politics. He says the voters don't want more ideology, they are looking for solutions. I would certainly agree with that.

If the President does this, coupled with the arrival of Plouffe, I would be concerned if I were the opposition party. I wouldn't be sitting back and resting on my laurels. These people are genius political operatives. They took on the Clintons and won, and they ran a flawless campaign in 2008 to help a young first-term black Senator capture the White House. Elections are about political tactics and the execution of a political strategy. And off-year elections are no different, except the Presidential candidate is not at the top of the ticket.

The White House has not been paying attention politically. That is being fixed with Plouffe coming on board. The voters remain anxious about the future. Tighten you seat belts. This should be quite an off year "knockdown, dragout" election .

(The photo above doesn't obviously relate to this years race, but it is a great political photo. It is Terry Sanford, JFK, Luther Hodges, and Sam Ervin at the G'boro/High Point Airport during a 1960 campaign stop).


  1. Two problems with Avlon's thesis: 1) Historically, you prevail in off-year elections by turning out your base. 2) This poll says Americans are more likely to believe standing up for principle improves public trust in government than to believe that compromising with members of the opposing party does.

    I think that this year the party that manages to convince the public it is more attuned to concerns about 1) jobs and 2) a rigged system will be the one that succeeds, because those are the issues Americans currently seem most exercised about. But a lot could change between now and November, and even if nothing changes I could just be wrong.

  2. I think Avlon is onto something. 2008 election of Obama was largely driven by new, young, unaffiliated voters. The Mass. senate race was driven by independent voters. Ron Paul's movement seems to continue to have "legs". Voters are looking for new ideas and solutions. The partisens will still be around, but elections are turning on that middle 20% (and growing) center / independent / unaffilated voter more so thatn ever. Voters are growing less and less patient with the lunatic fringes on both sides.


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