Tag Archives: eight

Democrats Firmly Hold Just 24 Seats in House, Eight in Senate — But There’s a New Plan

State Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester tells Steven Hale that the party’s present strength in the Legislature could be reduced to as few as 24 seats in the House (versus 34 now) and eight in the Senate (versus 14 now). That’s “the line” of solidly Democratic seats after retirements, redistricting and such.
On the other hand, there’s a new plan for the fall campaigns:
The hole is deep, but Forrester said Democrats have a new plan. Over lunch just a few blocks from the party’s midtown offices, he laid out what’s called the New Path Forward. It’s a strategic plan, produced with the help of the Ohio-based consulting firm summoned last year to aid a political party on life support. If a Democratic resurgence is to occur any time in the next decade, party leaders say this is the roadmap.
As summarized by Forrester, it sounds like a new political business model. His presentation, replete with the type of jargon that could only come from a political strategy team, includes talk of financial stakeholders, staying on message, metrics-based campaign systems and building the party’s bench.
Some party leaders describe the plan as a return to the basics, which would seem to say something about the state of things before its inception. But it’s also intended to bring the party into the brave new era of political campaigning, inspired by Obama’s digital-era ascent.
“We’ve been doing campaigns this certain way for 10 to 15 years,” Forrester says. “If we run the campaigns in 2012 in the same way that we’ve been running them and expect a different outcome, that’s kind of the traditional definition of insanity.”
With political insanity as an alternative, the New Path has earned a fairly good reception in the opening stages of the rollout. The party recently enjoyed its best fundraising quarter on record, bringing more than $550,000 in three months, and Forrester says the aforementioned financial stakeholders — that is, donors — are very pleased with “the most detailed, goal-oriented, specific proposal they’ve ever seen.” Whatever the merits of the plan, however, that might have reflected a sense of sheer desperation in the Democratic base; it remains to be seen whether the enthusiasm can be sustained.