Congrats to Oregon's Dems

Jeff Alworth

Last night, as I bicycled through the gorgeous old trees of Irvington, knowing full well that the world had ended, I was struck by how hard it was to see the rain of fire. I mean, it was raining fire, wasn't it?

(I'll add, parenthetically, that I'm only half kidding. For those of us who thought we'd just weathered the revolution, here's an old lion of the conservative movement: "Now comes the revolution. If you don't implement a conservative agenda now, when do you?" Now? What the hell was the last four years?)

But lost in the national news is how impressively Oregon's Dems scored in 2004. The Beaver State is in many ways a microcosm of the nation--divided red and blue, urban and rural, religious and non. We have our own Karl Rove wannabe, too: Kevin Mannix, who tried to scare and smear and rig the GOP to victory. Ah, but webfeet are not so easily fooled. Let us score the election:

Dems went 4-0 in statewide races. They went 4-1 in Congressional races. They took back the State Senate by winning three key races in purple districts, giving Dems an 18-12 advantage. Although they remain a minority in the House, they picked up two seats to drop the gap to 33-27. And while many states tilted more heavily toward Bush in 2004 than 2000, in Oregon we were solidly behind Kerry.

If the rest of the country had followed Oregon's lead, we might today be celebrating a new President and new leadership in the Senate. Clearly, Oregon Dems are doing something right. There may in fact be a lesson in Oregon, should the national Dems care to look. This "swing state" swung the other direction. How did we do it? Can it be replicated? Does Oregon offer a possible blueprint for Democratic success nationally? Great questions all, and I have thoughts.

But for now, let's just stop and admire the work we've accomplished. Great job, Donkeys!

  • Elizabeth (unverified)

    Yes, Oregon does offer a possible blueprint for Dem success nationally...and the formula begins with the following factors:

    1. Grassroots Action

    2. Youth-based Civic Engagement &

    3. Changing the Way We Talk About the Issues as well as the Parties.

    It's groups like the Bus Project that made OR vital this election and beyond...groups working to not only Elect good candidates, but also to Educate and Engage their target voters; groups that know that campaigning does not begin with a phone bank a couple months out or end with a voter registration drive several weeks before E-Day.

    Essentially, we 'did' it by going back to basics in terms of what makes Oregon a leader, putting political power in the hands of the young & creative, and working day & night to Win the ARGUMENT as well as the Election.

    None of this, of course, would be possible w/out the base of support & infrastructure already in place w/in the regular political appartus. If only the DNC or other political org's placed their faith in the up & coming generation of leaders vs. just relying on them for their operational abilities while rewarding them w/none of the 'perks' they truly crave & deserve such as decent pay, a chance at upward mobility/ opportunities for advancement, and a real voice in the decisions that affect the future direction of their party/org as well as their city, state, country, and world.

    For those looking for such a seat at the table, you should hop on board w/the Bus - because the time is NOW & the opportunities are plenty and never routine.

  • Jarrett (unverified)

    Bravo, indeed, for the legislative gains. Unfortunately, Oregon isn't governed by its legislature; it's governed by an initiative system where any wingnut can put a constitutional amendment on the ballot by holding a few backyard barbeques and passing the clipboard at church.

    As a gay guy, I'm not surprised by the gay-marriage defeat, especially because of the predictable blowback from the way Multnomah County handled the issue.

    I'm much more concerned about the ongoing attacks on Oregon's land use system, another of which passed on Tuesday. The courts will probably throw it out again, as they did last time, but the longer this reckoning is delayed, the worse it will be, I fear.

    Is anyone going out looking for those pro-Kerry, anti-gay-rights, anti-planning voters? I'd love to know who they are ...

    Peace and soft rains,


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