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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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Friday, June 09, 2006


Turning Texas Purple

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, June 09, 2006 permalink View blog reactions
Anna of Annatopia blog and myDD (and Dean Nation alum) is running for a position on the State Resolutions Committee of the Texas Democratic Party. This is great news, not only because it is essential that more politically active and informed people take part in local politics, but also because breaking the stronghold of any political party on a given state is healthy for our democracy. Especially when that party is the completely insane Texas GOP.

Anna writes of her rationale:


The time has come to redefine the Democratic Party. We must clearly articulate our values in language that cannot be misunderstood. I support the concept of "framing" and would like to help advance this concept within the state party. As defined by the Rockridge Institute, framing is "telling the truth as we see it - telling it forcefully, straightforwardly, articulately, with moral conviction and without hesitation. The language must fit the conceptual reframing -- a reframing from the perspective of progressive morality. It is not just a matter of words, though the right words do help evoke a progressive frame."

I believe that if we are to take back Texas and break the GOP stronghold on our state, we must overcome the problem of Republicans defining what we stand for. We must incorporate strong, concise language into our platform that reflects our core Democratic values. This won't happen overnight. In fact, it will probably take many election cycles to get us where we need to be. But I assure you that I'm in it for the long haul, and that this effort will pay off if we are committed.

Framing is essential to winning back Texas. We can't have our candidates running around the state and saying one thing in West Texas and another in D/FW. We must be able to clearly articulate our values in ways which appeal to all Texans. For example, while I strongly support gay marriage, I would not ask any of our candidates to go run on a gay marriage platform in (for example) Lubbock. That might fly in Dallas, but it won't fly in more conservative parts of the state. However, I would feel perfectly comfortable asking our candidates to discuss equality. I believe that equal opportunity and equal rights are core Democratic values. The resolution I helped craft which reflects this core value reads thusly: "Whereas the Democratic party values diversity and abhors discrimination based on minority status; and whereas such discrimination should never be enshrined in our Constitution; The Democratic Party reaffirms that every American citizen is entitled to equal rights under the law, and that no American citizen should ever be denied these inalienable rights due to their minority status." This is a strong, clear, concise statement which reflects our values. By running on this basic value statement, our candidates will not be hamstrung by Republican frames ("The Democrats are the party of gay marriage!").

This is quintessential Purple Politics - broaden the base of support by appealing to more people, not just exciting your partisan base. Persuasion rather than vilification. Good luck to you, Anna! Turn Texas purple!


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About Nation-Building

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.