Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Winning Coalition vs. A Governing Coaliton

Hinted at in the coverage of the Obama campaign but never made explicit is that they appear to have made the transition from trying to put together a winning coalition to putting together a governing coalition. A winning coalition strategy, perfected by Rove, is trying to put together 50%+1 votes in states with 271 electoral votes. With that strategy you essentially are able to win with 26% of the assuming they are exactly in the right places. It also means you focus like a laser beam on a few of the swing states and ignore the rest of the country.

The downside of the strategy is that it provides neither a mandate supported by the majority of the country nor a basis of power to then govern the country.

What Obama is doing is putting together a governing coalition. It has not only meant expanding the number of states in play and putting states in play through party building and registering voters -- but putting resources into states like Texas. Although Obama will never win Texas, taking a few state legislative seats will give the Democrats control of the legislature and redistricting. That means more Representatives voting on Obama's legislation in 2010. Also Members who's election Obama helped will have some reason for loyalty and sticking with him on tough votes. That is building a governing coalition.

But now comes the worry time for that strategy. It was implemented at a time when Obama's campaign thought it would be able to drown the McCain campaign with $. Now it is clear the Republicans have given up on the House and Senate and are putting everything into the Presidential. Although Obama should still be able to outspend McCain it is not going to be the blow out in spending it had looked like a few months ago. So our breaths are held.