Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008 | 2:04 a.m.
One refreshing aspect of the victorious campaign that captured the White House for Democrat Barack Obama was a 50-state strategy that rejected prior Democratic practice of writing off traditionally solid Republican states.
By turning their backs on those states, previous Democratic presidential candidates didn’t give voters the chance to consider opposing viewpoints.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, who devised the new strategy, clearly understood the value of taking his party’s message to every state and to regions of battleground states, such as rural Nevada, where Democrats did poorly in past elections. Even in states Obama did not win, the Democrats began building the political infrastructure that could pay dividends for the party in future national and statewide elections.
Obama won Nevada mostly with the help of a landslide in Clark County, and he made inroads in Republican-heavy rural counties. He earned 10,175 more votes in the rural counties than did unsuccessful Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry in 2004, while Obama’s vanquished Republican opponent, John McCain, received 1,901 fewer votes than Republican President Bush gained four years ago.
That success was not lost on Elko County Democratic Party Chairman Lance Whitney, who told Las Vegas Sun reporter Alexandra Berzon: “When people see we are not radicals who shut down mines and take away their guns and we go out and fix the economy, things switch. People’s minds switch.”
The Democrats, to their credit, recognized this election that democracy is strengthened when all voters hear what their candidates have to say. It certainly beats allowing Republicans to have the field all to themselves.