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August 06, 2007

YearlyKos Coverage - Howard Dean Continues to Get It

Lest we forget, Howard Dean remains a huge star in the YearlyKos world.  These are his people; many came into the political world working on his campaign in 2003.  He knows how to appeal to us and we have enormous appreciation for what he is doing at the DNC.

I'll be writing about what I saw and heard and experienced at YearlyKos over the next few days.  It was a blast! 

In his keynote address on Friday, Howard Dean did not disappoint. 

The Watch the Vote Project

He used his time to let us know of a new project the DNC is doing in preparation for the 2008 election.*  Starting three weeks ago, the DNC will be putting people into every state to check into what is happening county by county with the integrity of voting machines and the stories of voting suppression that we’ve been hearing about.  Using the information gathered from investigating what is happening county by county, the DNC will put together a handbook that will enable every Democratic candidate to know where the trouble spots will be 10 months ahead of time.

It’s the Republicans, Stupid

Of course Dean also reminded us that we need to make it clear to the American people that it is the Republicans who are impeding their will in Iraq.  He said that the Democrats need to get Congress to vote on the war over and over again until the country gets out and gets that it is the Republicans who are keeping us there.

It is not an accident that every single Democrat running for President is for bringing the troops home and every single Republican, except the Libertarian in the mix, is against it.

The rest is over the fold.

Listening and Responding

Dean talked about another new focus for the DNC – listening to the American people across the board, not just the Democrats.  Just as we in the blogosphere have instituted a two-way communication between the people and the leaders, so too do Democratic leaders have to institute genuine two-way communication with real people.

It’s hard for me to imagine the DNC without Howard Dean.  I can’t think of how separate we would now be feeling from our national Democratic Party.  He just gets it. 

A Generational Shift

Listening has made clear there is a huge generational shift, everywhere, in every organization.  “The younger generation expects us to set aside those things that divide us and work together on those things that bring us together.  As an example, he said he’d recently been talking with Rick Warren and other new generation evangelicals about working together on issues like Darfur and poverty where we have common cause.

He noted that in 2004 the turnout of young people went up tremendously and they voted for Kerry.  While still not high, in 2006, young people’s turnout was 53% nationally, 20% higher than in 2002.  Overall, young people voted 61/39 for Democrats. 

The turnout was different by race and that difference is likely to help us over time.  It was a 8% increase for white young people, 15% for African-Americans and 23% for Hispanics.

He said we are paying the price today of not reaching out to young people in the 80’s.  Research shows that if a young person votes three times in a row, they will keep voting – and they will vote in the same pattern as they voted the first three times for the rest of their lives.  So, every election is important to the future.

For the Duration

Dean finished off by saying that impatience is a good thing.  And, what we are engaged in is not a one-day or a one-year struggle.  He was reminded recently of the dedication of Martin Luther King and his companions in the early Civil Rights movement.  It was 13 years between the first Montgomery march and the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

Be in this effort of rebuilding our democracy for the long haul.

* The State Democratic Party released more information on this program via a Press Release a couple days ago.  In it they said:

Through the Democratic National Committee’s 50 State Strategy, the DNC Voting Rights Institute and the National Lawyers Council, Democrats across America are conducting an in-depth nationwide survey to collect critical data on the often confusing and complex sets of administrative practices and decisions governing our nation’s elections. With the help of DNC-funded staffers hired through the DNC’s State Party Partnership program, Washington State Democrats will work with election officials throughout the state to help identify potential issues so they can be resolved well in advance of the 2008 election.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 6, 2007 at 08:46 AM in National and International Politics, Policy, Strategery | Permalink

Comments

Lynn - glad to have you back and posting on the conference.

"It’s hard for me to imagine the DNC without Howard Dean."

It's hard for ME to imagine the nation as a whole without him. He has proven, once again, that he is in this for the long haul, that he is ready to listen to, and learn from, the American people. He was the only presidential candidate in 2004 to meet with Bev Harris and take seriously the problem of electronic voting machines and now he is putting the mettle of the DNC behind efforts to guarantee security and integrity in the voting process. When it comes to elections, nothing is more basic or more important than guaranteeing the legitimacy of our votes.

I'm especially impressed with Dean's exuberance about getting younger voters into the process. That's a great civics lesson. And as for straight talk, well, McCain's Straight Talk Express left the station without him on board, and Howard Dean exemplifies what it means to talk honestly with the American people.

Can't wait to hear more about your time in Chicago. Did you get a chance to talk to McJoan? She did an excellent job moderating the candidates forum.

Posted by: shoephone | Aug 6, 2007 10:31:15 PM

Shoe,

More coming. It's hard working full-time and trying to write as you and others know. Next up will be a post on the Third Wave of Feminism.

We saw McJoan all the time. She is just wonderful. Dave Neiwert had a great interview with her at his blog, Orcinus, yesterday:

http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2007/08/interview-with-mcjoan.html

Nice piece.

Posted by: Lynn | Aug 7, 2007 9:30:20 AM

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