Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Partybuilding

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The 7,383-Seat Strategy

“Taking inspiration from Virginia, Democrats are finally running to win in the states,” writes Joan Walsh. “But will the party make room for a different kind of candidate?”

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Why rural America isn’t a lost cause for progressive ideas

Too often, liberal candidates write off red states. But their policies could find a willing audience there,” writes Ivy Bashear.

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Republicans’ yellow brick road always leads back to bashing Seattle

Columnist Danny Westneat calls out the Washington State Republican Party and its legislative caucuses for their divisive, counterproductive Seattle-bashing, which they’ve said they intend to do even more of in 2018, even though it hasn’t worked for them in the past.

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Democrats leave few seats unchallenged in quest for House control

The New York Times examines the Democratic Party’s candidate recruiting successes and concludes the party is doing a good job of returning to the fifty-state strategy championed by Howard Dean.

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In La Follette Territory

“How did the Democrats lose a once progressive and populist hotbed like Wisconsin?” The Nation’s Sarah Jones asks.

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Lessons learned, the healing within the Democratic Party begins

The Democratic Party is on its way to finding its way out of the wilderness thanks to a willngness by elected Democrats to listen to the grassroots, writes David Atkins.

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“Neoliberalism” isn’t an empty epithet. It’s a real, powerful set of ideas.

“It’s hard to think of a term that causes more confusion, yet is more frequently used in political debate, than neoliberalism. It’s one thing to argue that the term should be discouraged or retired from public discussions, because it generates heat instead of light, but it is another to say that it doesn’t have any meaning or use,” writes Mike Konczal.

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Can Ben Ray Lujan lead House Democrats to a majority?

The Los Angeles Times profiles New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).


By transforming the election into a referendum on character, Team Clinton let Trump off the hook as the frontman for the extremist GOP platform.

— Matt Taibbi: Can Democrats fix the party? (Rolling Stone)


Democrats must make tough, data-driven decisions about how to prioritize their work. Right now, too many are using bad math and faulty logic to push the party to chase the wrong segment of white voters.

— Steve Phillips: Move Left, Democrats (The New York Times)


Republican politicians have pushed one policy after another that has favored the rich and powerful over everyone else, and far too often, Democrats have gone right along… And no matter how extreme Republicans in Washington became, Democrats might grumble or whine, but when it came time for action, our party hesitated and pushed back only with great reluctance. Far too often, Democrats have been unwilling to get out there and fight.

— Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren gives progressives in Congress a rousing call to arms against Trump (The Huffington Post)


Pushing back hard on McCrory worked. The seeds of his final defeat today were very much planted in the summer of 2013. And it’s a lesson for progressives in dealing with Trump. Push back hard from day one. Be visible. Capture the public’s attention, no matter what you have to do to do it. Don’t count on the media to do it itself because the media will let you down. The protesters in North Carolina, by making news in their own right week after week after week, forced sustained coverage of what was going on in Raleigh. And even though it was certainly a long game, with plenty more frustration in between, those efforts led to change at the polls 42 months after they really started.

Why Pat McCrory lost and what it means in Trump’s America (Analysis by Tom Jensen, Director, Public Policy Polling)

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Rural Democrats: Party ignored us, suffered the consequences

“Strategists say candidates need to emphasize broadband internet for all, consider advertising in rural newspapers, radio,” reports Alex Roarty.

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Bernie Sanders to launch two new organizations: The Sanders Institute and Our Revolution

Bernie Sanders has given USAToday a preview of his future plans, saying that he plans to launch an organization called The Sanders Institute to raise awareness of structural problems like money in politics, and another called Our Revolution to recruit, train, and fund progressive campaigns.


The fundraising base is phenomenal. You can’t ignore that. You can say that winning a primary is ephemeral. But that funding base — millions of people willing to donate, more than Obama. Wow, that’s something amazing.

— Democratic U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly of Virginia (via Politico: Congressional Democrats look to copy Sanders’ success).


Titles are good; purposes are better.

— Ohio progressive activist and former candidate Nina Turner, reminding everyone that there is no such thing as an “off-year election”.

Video Clip

Happening NOW: NPI President Robert Cruickshank’s panel A New 50 State Strategy: Reversing the Democratic Collapse in the States (Netroots Nation 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona). Panelists include California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, Progressive Majority’s E.J. Juárez, the DLCC’s Michael Sargeant, and Nina Turner.

Click the player above to begin watching.

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New poll: Trend favors Idaho Democrats

The Idaho Democratic Party responds to a poll that finds that voters in Idaho are increasingly disillusioned with the Republican Party and changing their registration to independent. Party leaders say that they will work to capitalize on this trend. If they’re successful, within the next few years, we could see solidly-red Idaho become more competitive for Democrats.


Here’s an idea: Spend less time aggressively raising millions of dollars for ads that no one watches, and more time inspiring people to want to vote Democratic, and building a GOTV machine to get out our base — people who are browner, younger, and more female than Steve Israel. And stop telling people they’ve lost a year before the election even happens.

— Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas, reacting to the news that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi intends to have Steve Israel “run a new policy and messaging shop” that’s supposed to help return the party to the majority.

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How the Democratic Party lost its soul

The trouble started when the party abandoned its working-class base, writes William Greider for The Nation.

Chat Transcript

Howard Dean’s prescription for Democratic success: Strengthen the state parties

CHUCK TODD: Dan Balz had, I thought, a rough piece about the Democratic party. But two things, the headline is, “Two midterm elections have hollowed out the Democratic Party.” And they said this about the state parties in particular, “Without prominent statewide-elected leaders, Democrats are in danger of seeing their state party structures atrophy.”

HOWARD DEAN: We’ve been there before. We know what the solution is now.

CHUCK TODD: And what is it?

HOWARD DEAN: It is to put money into the state parties. They get to pick their own people, we do the training, we do all the intel, we get them to weave together this incredible organization that the president has done in the last eight years for his campaigns, two of the best campaigns ever run in the history of American presidential politics. But you’ve got to strengthen the state parties. It requires discipline, accountability, but it also requires money to go to the state parties and we have to trust the state parties.

(Meet the Press transcript courtesy of NBC