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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Sunday, March 21, 2004


Parties and Change

posted by Brian Ulrich at Sunday, March 21, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
In American history, change has come about through lots of different means.

Third parties have forced the major parties to compete for votes by addressing certain issues. The Populists and Progressives followed this path.

Highly organized grassroots movements have gained influence over one of the major parties, especially when they had minority status and were looking for a way to return to power. The religious right is the most recent example here.

Major parties have tried to reach out to new voters "from the top," usually getting them from the pool of swing voters. This is the DLC path.

Admittedly, the above analysis is really general and may not hold up in the eyes of real historians. Democracy for America has set itself on the second path. Was this the right decision? I think it was, because the Democratic base already agrees with our core principles (as do many Republicans), and they're just afraid to fight for them. What do you think?


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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.