Democratic victories in the 2006 Congressional elections were part of a wave of grassroots populism, according to Robert Borosage, Co-director of Campaign for America’s Future. His remarks, made at a CAF event at the National Press Club Thursday on the results of a new post-election poll released by renowned Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, were echoed by the head of Moveon.org, Eli Pariser, who said that voters “chose the highway” over President George Bush’s ultimatum to choose his way or the alternative. Borosage stated in his introduction to Greenberg that “the populist temper of this campaign can’t be emphasized enough.” Greenberg, while telling the standing-room only crowd of more than 100 that “this is not a subtle election” in its message for change, emphasized that the Democratic Party “is still being defined” and that the Dems “left a lot of seats on the table.”
The atmosphere at the event was overtly partisan towards the left side of the aisle. Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” greeted a diverse crowd of reporters ad nauseum, be it serious journalists from The Guardian and the LA Times, bloggers blogging away on their laptops or even a polite homeless man with a tote bag full of old newspapers and an odor to match his stained sweatsuit who sat down next to this writer midway through the talk and started to take down profanity-laden notes (though this could have just been another blogger).
Many in the crowd greeted each other with hearty pats on the back and congratulations tempered with hugs and pecks on the cheek usually not seen in the stodgy, oak-lined corridors of the National Press Club.
Despite all the reasons that Greenberg gave for Democrats to be optimistic, the overall message was that more can and must be done to ensure a liberal majority in the future. Borosage warned that even though this election was “the end of a conservative era that began in 1980”, voters are still “unclear what Democrats stand for.” This may be attributable to the lack of an overarching party message in favor of a more localized, straightforward tone.
When asked by Colorado Confidential, Pariser responded that Democrats were “moving back to their roots,” a trend seen in the party’s Western Strategy. This thought was echoed by Greenberg, who said that there was “a major change in the map” in states like Montana and Colorado, places that used to be off limits to Democrats but are not anymore.