DNC Chair Tim Kaine held a press conference today for progressive new media types. The subject of the call was the DNC's 2010 election strategy.
After Governor Kaine went over the basic strategy that President Obama presented on Monday--increasing turnout among first-time voters in 2008--I asked the Governor a theoretical question about politics that has been occupying me ever since Democrats took control in early 2009. What plays a bigger role in electoral outcomes for a governing party, as Democrats are now: real improvements in people's lives, or the proper application of resources and strategy?
Kaine's response was very much in line with my own thinking. He stated the improving people's lives was the most important, "the key." However personalizing those improvements to people, and making the stakes of the election clear to them, can make enough of a difference in turnout to swing several marginal campaigns.
It was heartening to hear the head of one of the three Democratic political committees admit that the important important factor in electoral outcomes for a governing party is to actually improve people's lives. There is, in the end, a limit to what campaign strategy can achieve. Even if it is of course necessary to sell your governing accomplishments to voters, that is a lot easier when you actually have real governing accomplishments. Whether Democrats have done enough by Novemmber 2, 2010, will be the main determining factor in the 2010 elections.
Update (Adam): I was also on the call, and there has been a lot of hay made of President Obama not mentioning LGBT voters in his call to action video (see Pam for more). On the call, Kaine reiterated that focus will be on "15 million surge voters who registered and voted for the first time in 2008... over half of which are African-American, Latino or young people." He did go on to say the DNC will be working with "regular, reliable midterm voters, including working families, AAPI, LGBT, women, Native Americans. We'll be working with these constituencies just as we always do."