The Democrats’ Big Down-Ballot Losses Leave Door Open For Independents

Republican strategist Rory Cooper posted this political jab at the Democratic Party on Nov 4:

Regardless of whether these are actual factual numbers (they do seem to be), he’s definitely pointing out a growing concern in Democratic circles — i.e. an inability to create vast ‘coat-tail effects’ during national elections.

The House and Senate ebb and flow each two-year election cycle, but losing so many state-level officials seems almost crippling to the party.

In less than a decade, it seems that the Democratic Party has abandoned its widely successful ‘50-state‘ strategy, a brainchild of Howard Dean, a Democratic guru and once party chairman.

Employing this strategy from 2005 to 2009, the Democratic Party made gains even in the reddest of the red states, gaining 39 state legislative seats, 3 U.S. House seats, and 1 U.S. Senate seat.

But now, it seems these gains have eroded to almost total losses.

Dropping the ball has allowed independent candidates an avenue to challenge seats. Greg Orman‘s nearly successful Senate bid was fueled partly by the Democratic Party’s total lack of support for their own candidate, Chad Taylor. This allowed Orman to challenge what was once thought to be a completely secure Republican seat.

Modern campaign strategy seems to be based in two parts: consolidate the base during the primary, then move to the center to win over the moderates.

Independents can upset this strategy by capturing and holding the moderate vote from the earliest moments of the primary, then work on capturing swing-voters during the general election when the other candidates are scrambling in their attempts to ‘fake moderation.’

As the Democrats seem to be solely interested in holding the presidency and reclaiming the Senate in 2016, independents have the best opportunity yet to challenge Republicans in the ‘forgotten races.’

Time is running out for independents to launch viable campaigns, but the current political climate has definitely presented potential candidates with the chance at a bottom-up strategy for 2016 — one that could easily carry into 2018 and beyond.