After almost winning

red state See that little blue county in the expanse of red in the image on the right? That’s where I live.

Back in January, I said: “It’s about bringing more people into the process. But to do that right, we need a candidate who can speak passionately to the issues and inspire voters.” Kerry ran a good campaign, but I can’t help thinking that something was missing in both the man and the message.

Kos is calling on Dean to replace McAuliffe as head of the DNC. It’s time for the Democratic party to get back on the offensive. The last two years have been about building the groundwork for future wins — the internet infrastructure, the radio, the organization. It’s not there yet but it will be in 2006. All that’s left is to pick quality opposition candidates and to absolutely stop letting Republican’s frame every issue on their own terms.

One of the things that really bugs me is when Republican candidates run unopposed. This year, thanks to redistricting, our congressional district went from being all of Austin to a tiny strip of rural counties stretching from my neighborhood to Houston. The district was designed for a Republican win, and the Democratic party didn’t bother to challenge it until Lorenzo Sadun signed up as a write-in candidate.

There was no chance to win as a write-in, but he received 12% of the vote! 11000 people took the time to spell his name correctly because they wanted to send a message. And in the Houston suburbs, Richard Morrison came within 10 points of beating Tom DeLay, the closest contest DeLay has ever faced.

The truth is, we almost won. We almost unseated a war-time president who had 90% approval ratings after 9/11. We almost beat a party that used fear (terrorism and gay marriage) to get people into the voting booth.

We almost won, and all the hard work of the last 18 months will pay off big in two short years.

Manton Reece @manton