Saturday, November 11, 2006

Labour drafts in Howard Dean for 'our midterms' - Guardian

David Seaton's News Links
Howard Dean is in my opinion the only truly interesting major politician in the USA today. He really understands how the new forms of communication (like this blog) are changing politics. He has found the solution for taking the Democratic party away from the consultants, lobbies, celebrities and big check writers that have stewarded the decline of the party of FDR. The midterm victory will make it easier for him... I hope he gets another crack at the presidency. DS

Abstract: Labour has enlisted one of the engineers of this week's Democratic victory in the US midterm elections in an attempt to boost its flagging fortunes before the local elections in May. Howard Dean, the former presidential candidate and one of the men credited with masterminding the trouncing of the Republicans, will visit the UK next month to brief party officials about his pioneering campaigning techniques. "The Welsh, Scottish and local elections next year are our midterms," said Hazel Blears, Labour's chair. "It has to be done differently for us to carry on being successful ... We're looking at how [the Democrats] have upped their game." Labour is particularly interested in the Democrats' style of targeting grassroots voters through low-key meetings in homes. "We want to look at their experience in campaigning, getting out the vote, holding house meetings where people can come together ... You don't want to transplant American politics, but there's a lot we can share," said Ms Blears. Many political observers will regard the drafting in of Mr Dean as bizarre, given that the Democratic victory was largely founded on voters' anger about the war in Iraq - the very subject which has alienated many Labour supporters and on which Mr Dean has been so outspoken. But Ms Blears believes Labour can benefit from the tactics used so effectively by the chairman of the Democratic national committee. "Part of [their new success] is politics, but it's also about organisation," she said. She also said Labour could benefit from the so-called "viral" tactics Mr Dean helped pioneer. "Politics is increasingly local and decentralised ... People go to people they trust for word-of-mouth recommendations. It's about like-minded people talking, with concentric circles of campaigning, rather than about a political message from the centre." READ ALL

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