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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Lieberman's potential 2006 primary

Posted by Bob Brigham

In my last post on a potential Lieberman primary, I used a series of maps to illustrate the problem Lieberman would have due to the unique situation of his state being situated in the middle of a high density bastion of Democratic support. The argument that I laid out was for the potential of an invasion of out-of-town Democrats focused on enforcing Party discipline.

In response, it was noted how Howard Dean’s invasion during the Iowa Caucuses backfired.

I agree with the analysis that the Iowa voters were turned off by out-of-state activists telling them who to vote for. This was heightened by the vast cultural divide between the Dean supporters and Iowa Democrats.

However, this will not apply to a potential primary campaign for three main reasons.

The blogosphere learns very quickly and having identified this, the blogosphere will adapt. Any such primary campaign will focus on organizing Connecticut residents who support a united Party to convince their neighbors to join them in support.

The second major reason why this won’t be relevant is because the cultural divide between Connecticut and the surrounding area is minimal. Many Connecticut voters work in New York and New Yorkers campaigning will not intrinsically offend their cultural sensibilities.

Finally, the lesson of the Dean campaign is that people don’t want outsiders telling them who to vote for. The inverse of this statement has yet to be tested. At this point, any primary campaign would not be a positive movement for a candidate, but a negative statement. Extensive evidence proves that voters respond as intended to negative attacks and a campaign that focuses negatively will not face the same hurdles.

When these factors are considered, it is easy to conclude that out-of-state volunteers could effectively contribute to a potential primary campaign against Lieberman. By focusing out-of-state volunteers on communicating and organizing supporters, their efforts could help build the type of infrastructure necessary for a true grassroots campaign. When interacting with undecided and Lieberman voters, having their efforts focused on a purely negative message would allow their argument to gain traction regardless of their home address.

These are only some initial points and strong on-the-ground leadership and direction will surely refine such tactics.

But it is true that if there is a challenge, people will come. By realizing how such efforts have been counter-productive in the past, organizers could construct a campaign that will minimize liabilities while maximizing effectiveness.

Such a campaign could be an exciting test case for post-modern primary involvement.

Posted at 11:02 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut, Netroots | Technorati