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There are few progressives in Congress, but they have more clout if there are more pseudo-progressives and fewer "moderates" and fewer Blue Dogs, so the first priority is identifying any progressive or pseudo-progressive challengers to a "moderate" or Blue Dog incumbent, and work for them. Early Money Is Like Yeast, but so is early volunteer effort.

If there is an incumbent Republican, it's the same as if there is an incumbent "moderate" or Blue Dog: try to get a progressive or, failing that, a pseudo-progressive nominated in the Democratic primary.

When there is a "moderate" available at best in the primary or general election, vote for them but don't waste any resources supporting them. When there is a Blue Dog running against a Republican, its hard to see what difference the vote makes, so picking whichever third party is likely to get the largest vote and voting for them would be a defensible strategy.

In grown up politics, forcing the incumbent to work for re-election is a penalty, whether they win or lose. For one thing, money they spend running for re-election is not money they can hand out to increase their clout inside the beltway. Enough 1 in 100 odds challengers being pushed to 1 in 20 odds challengers is electoral success in some few districts and more caution on the threat on the left flank in the rest.

If there best there is available is a phony progressive who seems likely to turn but is willing to tick all the progressive boxes during the race, they are still more vulnerable to field operations during legislative season than "moderates" and Blue Dogs, so its not a waste of resources to support them beyond voting for them, bearing in mind it is fairly inefficient, as they will require constant babysitting.

If there isn't anyone, and there is a neighboring district close enough where there is, work there.

If there isn't anyone close by, pick a progressive or pseudo-progressive under threat somewhere else in the country and back them.

That's one reason the "Movement Conservatives" punch above their weight: once pulled into the movement, they always find a horse somewhere to back, which means there is no "off" button for the market research professionals to find, which means nobody bothers with trying to turn them off. Self-described progressives, on the other hand, quite often have multiple "off" buttons available to push, with competent full time corporate persuaders with massive incentive to find out how to push as many of those "off" buttons on as many unorganized clusters of progressives as possible.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 01:59:16 PM EST
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