December 1, 2004


Dems plan to redirect DNC away from presidential race (Hans Nichols, 12/01/04, The Hill)

Congressional leaders and state party officials are insisting that the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) radically redirect the committee’s resources toward congressional races and other local contests and away from the presidential enchilada.

In behind-the-scenes positioning, key congressional lawmakers are seeking to prevent the national party from lapsing into another four-year presidential gestation cycle, where the DNC serves as nothing more than an incubator for the party’s ambitions to capture the White House, say leadership aides.

That congressional strategy to deemphasize the presidential race is being paralleled at the state level, where party chairmen are withholding their endorsements and plan to swing their 112 votes in one bloc for a single candidate.

A sensible recognition that, no longer a national party, they can't contend for the presidency anymore. But they'll need to further retrench and accept that there are really only 40 Senate seats and 40% of House seats they have a regular shot at.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 1, 2004 1:31 PM

If the Democrats want to hire Howard Dean as their new DNC chair and have him act like the 2003 Howard Dean (the same way people who met Julius Henry Marx wanted him to act like Groucho), then keeping the DNC chair away from the national spotlight is a great idea. Let Howard put on his "Yaaarrggg!" act for those parts of the country receptive to it on the local and regional level, then stick him in the closet in 2008 so he won't step on Hillary's storyline of being a former liberal turned moderate Democrat.

Posted by: John at December 1, 2004 1:38 PM

The Dems probably have a shot at 50% of the House seats, since unlike Senate seats, they are distributed according to population. Even assuming that Reps have more gerrymandering opportunities that do Dems (not at all clear, since many of the Red states have only one or 2 House seats, and are disproportionately Red anyway), there arent enough Red voters to lock up a large majority of the seats.

Posted by: curt at December 1, 2004 3:09 PM

curt - Once the Democrats get down to 45% of the voters, gerrymandering plus the swing to the majority by the give-money-and-votes-to-the-powerful-in-exchange-for-rewards-crowd will lock up 60% of the House seats for the Republicans.

Posted by: pj at December 1, 2004 3:28 PM


Recall that House seats parallel the Electoral College and the GOP thus has the same advantage. Even in 2000 George Bush carried 60% of House districts.

Posted by: oj at December 1, 2004 3:32 PM

Demographics which indicate an increasing number of Hispanic voters along with a shift to the South and Southwest away from Blue State America does not bode well for the Democrats. OJ's favorite statistic, the higher birthrate among religious people, also is pretty dire for the Dems.

Posted by: Bart at December 1, 2004 3:38 PM

"Even in 2000 George Bush carried 60% of House districts."

oj --

That is a surprising statistic, considering the popular vote. Gore must've carried his districts by HUGE margins. At any rate, the Dems will have been replaced by something else long before there are 261 (60%) Rep Congresscritters.

Posted by: curt at December 1, 2004 10:42 PM


It's totally typical for a dominant party to get up over 60% of the House:

Posted by: oj at December 1, 2004 11:18 PM

oj --

True, but the party of FDR is used to governing, or at least contending. When it stops doing so, a new coalition will arise...if history is any guide.

Posted by: curt at December 2, 2004 9:53 AM


Yes, but the new party doesn't come to power anytime soon.

Posted by: oj at December 2, 2004 10:05 AM