Saturday, November 13, 2004

Colorado May Be Blueprint for Democrats

The victory in CO of both Salazar brothers in the Senate and House, paired with Democrats retaking both State houses for the first time since 1960 shows the power of pairing progressive politics with a hearthfelt articulation of religious and ethical values. Both Salazar brothers opposed the hot-button issues of the religious right - they support abortion rights and oppose constitutional amendments to restrict marriage to heteros - and yet they spoke to values voters about their Catholic backgrounds and values. They connected with the populist leanings of evangelical and other 'values voters' without compromising their political convictions. The result is their surprising victories and the long coat-tails they demonstrated down-ticket in CO.

The Salazar brothers in many ways mirror Kerry's views and religious heritage, but they won their races. The difference is at least in part the opponents they faced, a neo-phyte tycoon and lobbyist, neither an incumbent, but maybe some portion of their margin can be attributed to their talking frequently and openly about their background and faith. If Kerry had done so more often, and more sincerely, perhaps he would have fared a little better with 'values voters' in close swing states - perhaps well enough to have claimed the POTUS.

'Values voters' may be the most overplayed story of the post-election news cycle, but it does have a few instructive nuggets embedded in the vast quantity of absolute bullshit being cranked out on the subject: the need for Democrats to embrace an ethical dialectic and not to shy away from speaking about religion sincerely is one such nugget.


At 7:56 AM, Blogger Tiny Montgomery said...

The "values voter" concept as a news item is certainly being over-played much like the blue/red state notion. The nation is far more purple as you have discussed in prior posts. News items about "values voters" are delightfully simple and powerful propaganda nuggets for creating more "us" and the evil "them". We have values and they don't. What could be more energizing to the "conservative" base?

As for setting Democratic policies and election strategy, the "values voter" concept deserves further attention and study. Cognitive linguist George Lakoff presents some interesting ideas.

At 12:57 PM, Blogger Emmett said...

The Salazars in Colorado and especially Schweitzer in Montana are examples of how Democrats not just in the West, but nationswide, can avoid the pit falls of so called "value issues" and win with our stronger stands on economic issues.

Win The West!


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