Obama to Test 50-State Strategy
DNC Chairman Howard Dean’s “50-state strategy” has been controversial but Barack Obama is going to attempt to test it this fall, Sam Stein reports.
Obama will likely start the general election with 180 or so “reliably Democratic” electoral votes. With the goal of getting to 270, the DNC believes it could play a role in carrying the rest of the burden. The party already has more than 200 field staffers on the ground, and grassroots training programs in all fifty states. In addition, new Internet and communications operations have been started with the goal of facilitating participation in, and donations to, Democratic causes.
These might seem like ad-hoc measures. But if Sen. John Kerry had received ten additional ten votes per precinct in 2004, he would have won Iowa, Ohio, New Mexico, and, subsequently, the White House.
But that’s a lot of votes! Presumably, it would have been a Bush landslide had he won 10 additional votes per precinct in states that he narrowly lost.
Still, Obama is a particularly attractive candidate, it’s an unusually bad time to run as a Republican, and there are a lot of open Republican seats, and Obama has a huge fundraising advantage over John McCain. So, if ever there was a time to try to expand the coalition, this would seem to be it.
To the extent that Obama remains relatively popular and a big draw, it’s certainly a good strategy down-ballot, regardless of whether it helps him get past 272 Electoral Votes. If the election is looking tight after the conventions, though, expect to see Obama revert to a more traditional swing state strategy.