Saturday, May 21, 2005

Pew Reports: Republican’s strength in Unity

The latest Pew Report on political typology has been released and its findings are useful and impressive.

The good news is that the research says that Republicans have not actually made significant inroads to minority groups nor have they turned conservative southern Democrats to identify themselves as Republicans. These groups did however identify specifically to Bush during 2004 over Kerry.

Pew’s summation of the Democrats is not surprising.

The Democratic party faces its own formidable challenges, despite the fact that the public sides with them on many key values and policy questions. Their constituencies are more diverse and, while united in opposition to President Bush, the Democrats are fractured by differences over social and personal values.

Foreign affairs assertiveness now almost completely distinguishes Republican-oriented voters from Democratic-oriented voters; this was a relatively minor factor in past typologies. In contrast, attitudes relating to religion and social issues are not nearly as important in determining party affiliation. Still, these issues do underscore differences within parties, especially among the Democrats. While Republican-inclined voters range from the religious to the very religious, the Democratic Party is much more divided in terms of religious and cultural values. Its core constituents include both seculars and the highly religious.

Basically, Democrats are unified against Republicans and their agenda, but the party does not have a unified voice nor answer to oppose it. The Republican’s on the other hand are unified, but the public doesn’t view them as open minded or having the right answer. This seems problematic. Pew also comes up with 15 other major findings, and all of them seem to basically clarify what many activists and political operatives are already seeing.

What is the solution for the Democrats? First, let’s get our head out of the sand. We are now having other independent research groups tell us what we have known to be a problem for a couple cycles. This should finally tip off the DNC, DCCC, and state parties to clarify the party’s municipal, local, county, state, and national platform. If the points of contention are the value and social issues like choice and the environment, then let’s actually use conventions and national meetings to have a unified stance on it. At the very least let’s come up with some good talking points.

The next step has got to be developing think tanks and messaging tools that will filter down to the grassroots level. Pew makes it clear that one of our greatest assets is our diverse active base. Let’s teach them to go to their churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples and talk about issues. Let’s have them expand the environmentalist base, the business base, and the southerners with “gun racks on the back of their truck”. If we have a diverse base, then let’s use it.

Pew tells us the problems. The good thing is we have the solutions. Read the report and post your thoughts, solutions, and concerns. The larger the dialogue the better.


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