Nebraska's Democratic Party is dead. The only candidate the Democrats have in any office of any sort above county level is Ben Nelson, and it's just a matter of time before he bails on the Demos and becomes a Republican. He might as well; he meets all the criteria for membership (pro death penalty, anti-choice, pro-big business, boring). Even Terry Moore, the High Muck-a-muck of Nebraska organized labor, bailed on the Demos this year. From his standpoint, he was smart to do that: the Demos have no clout of any sort in this state.
Now the Lincoln Journal Star (http://www.journalstar.com)
has offered a few areas on where the Democrats can take stands to fill gaps left hugely open by the GOP. I am not always a fan of the Journal Star, although I think Gordon Winters is the last remaining true journalist over there. Nevertheless, I recognize good ideas when I see them. A couple of quotes from the article:
"One area in which the Republicans need help is protecting the environment. For inexplicable reasons the GOP consistently underestimates American concern for the quality of its air, water, soil, natural beauty and wilderness."
"A second area in which the Republicans need help is in tax policy. It's one thing to want low taxes and small government. Even many Democrats now espouse this philosophy. The day of seeking governmental solutions to every problem was over long ago.
"But it's quite another thing to put tax policy and corporate oversight in the hands of plutocrats. America is great because its system allows a person to work their way from poverty to wealth by dint of effort, genius and discipline.
"The system needs to be protected from those who would permit the country's wealth to be concentrated in a permanent aristocratic class, which makes most of the country's investment decisions. "
I'd add farm policy to that. Twice now recently the GOP has gotten "farm bills" through Congress which have done nothing but help the big agricultural processors and corporate farming entities, and left family farm states in the dust. Farmers are still pretty sore about that. The newly-elected AG has made it clear that he has no interest in enforcing the Family Farm amendment. The current AG only did so around election time. Eventually those farmers will realize that it's all well and good for the GOP to be "pro-life" but if it's anti-farm, that hits a lot closer to home. The Democrats need to be there when he comes to that realization.
Boys and girls, these are traditional Democratic areas. More importantly, they get back to the liberal
roots of the party, which is where the DNP needs to be. This state is awash in football analogies, so here's one: to win, you go where they other guys ain't. We can't fight for the right or the center because it's firmly occupied. We have to hold the left. And we need to make our own definition of what the left is!
We may be surprised how many people stand with us. Remember, this is the state that gave us William Jennings Bryan, one of the original Populists.