Winner To Loser: Embrace Your Base

Successful Gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine gives some retrospective advice to failed Gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds:

Kaine said the key to victory for Democrats in a highly competitive Virginia is recognizing that party members need not be “apologetic” about their affiliation to find success. He noted that about 200,000 more people voted in the Democratic primary for president on a frigid February day in 2008 than cast ballots for Deeds this year, and said McDonnell successfully spooked Deeds by suggesting that Virginians had grown anxious about the Democratic agenda.

“I think the issue of being nervous about the Virginia electorate was overdone and I think Creigh did exactly what the McDonnell campaign hoped he would do, which was distance himself from the president and national issues,” Kaine said.

[Emphasis mine]

The absolute worst thing Democrats can do in 2010 is to abandon their core values.

Democrats lost in 2002 and 2004 because they ran away from their beliefs and tried to act like Republicans. Democrats won in 2006 and 2008 because they embraced  and ran on progressive ideals.

I live in VA and I can tell you that Deeds ran an abysmal campaign–it was something you would expect a Democrat circa 2002 to have run. He ran away from his party, away from progressivism and away from his President; Deeds ran a soft, weak campaign steeped in ideological capitulation.

Embracing your base vs. running away from them makes the difference between winning and losing.

Democrats can’t allow themselves to be cowed by the right. Why do you think conservatives are always concern trolling about Democrats being too liberal? It’s because they want to scare Democrats away from progressivism, because weak Democrats create Republican majorities.

Want proof? Just ask Governor-elect Bob McDonnell. I bet he could tell you all about it.