Quote Of The Day: The Problem With Howard Dean’s “50 State Strategy”

“Dean contends Democrats have become so obsessed with winning the Presidency — which, because of the Electoral College system, is really 50 statewide elections — that they have abandoned their efforts in a great many states where they can’t win the big enchilada but could possibly win down-ticket races if only anyone in Washington had a little faith. Dean has nothing if he hasn’t got faith. And Dean bets if he succeeds he’ll create an unprecedented farm team of young, ambitious Democrats who will, over time, turn those red states blue.

I’m betting against Dean’s strategy. Here’s why.

There is a reason Democrats haven’t spent a great deal of time, energy and resources in states like Mississippi and Utah in recent elections, just as Republicans have largely ignored, say, Vermont. Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman would love to make next year’s Vermont open seat Senate race competitive by dumping hundreds of operatives and millions of dollars up there. But not only would such an effort be for naught, it would also rob genuinely competitive races of those resources.

Same for Dean’s Democratic National Committee. Imagine all the DNC’s resources for 2006 are a pie. Dean could cut that pie into 20 pieces and give healthy portions to the truly competitive states. Or he could cut the pie into 50 smaller portions and give every state a little piece. By choosing to distribute small pieces to more states, Dean might starve the candidates that can make the best use of resources.

And the DNC’s pie is rather small to start with. While the Republicans have raised over $62 million through July of this year, Dean’s DNC has raised just over $31 million. And whereas the Republicans have over $34 million in cash on hand, Dean’s DNC has only $9.6 million. The RNC has more money on hand than Dean has raised all year. Now more than ever the DNC needs to target its resources to achieve maximum impact, not spread them thin.” — Patrick Hynes

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