After the Midterms

The way the Democratic leadership is quarterbacking the election -- which is to avoid "nationalizing" the election around a set of core principles -- is not ideal.
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Bill Scher is the author of the new book Wait! Don't Move To Canada!, published by Rodale, in stores as of today.

I'm afraid of what might happen after the midterms, November 7.

If Democrats fail to earn control of one or both houses, I fear grassroots Democrats and liberals may become paralyzed with defeatism, having missed a major opportunity with Republicans mired in bad poll numbers.

If Democrats successfully win a majority of one or both houses, I fear we will become complacent and take a breather -- when in fact, we will have won just one small battle in a very long struggle. And the conservative movement will surely come right back at us on November 8.

No doubt we need to give our maximum effort, in dollars and time, to win on Election Day -- if for nothing else, to ensure that Dubya doesn't have another two years of unchecked, unbalanced power.

However, the way the Democratic leadership is quarterbacking the election -- which is to avoid "nationalizing" the election around a set of core principles -- is not ideal.

Victory may still come our way, thanks to the failures of six years of Republican rule. But without a national campaign, clearly contrasting our overarching political philosophy with theirs -- a November victory will not come with an ideological mandate. In turn, we may find that we'll start out on the defensive for looming fights over huge issues like judges, health care, taxation and foreign policy -- despite having a majority.

This fall election game plan is not just the fault of Democrats in Washington, but those of us in the grassroots too. In the months and years prior to big elections, we must strive to work with our leaders in a coordinated fashion (leading our leaders when necessary) to engage our fellow voters about our vision for America and the direction we would take the world.

When we don't do that, we fail to set the stage for our vision to be properly understood come election time, instead of distorted, disparaged and dismissed by the Republican Noise Machine and its unwitting accomplices in the Washington press corps. And when the stage isn't set, it's harder for Washington Democrats to design a national campaign on core principles.

With my new book, Wait! Don't Move To Canada!, I hope to kickstart a renewed grassroots effort to articulate our liberal vision.

Taking to heart George Lakoff's call, "Know Your Values and Frame the Debate," Wait! Don't Move To Canada! lays out how liberals can frame the fundamental issues of the day -- role of our government, levels of taxation, direction of our judiciary, and defeating the terrorist threat -- to appeal to the broader electorate. Further, the book offers guidance on how you can best bring about positive change, both online and off.

I encourage you to buy it, read it and share it. Talk about it with your friends, colleagues and representatives.

No matter what happens on November 7, there will be much, much more work to do. If you want our government and foreign policy to be rooted in true American values, so we can achieve real freedom, security and prosperity, this book will get you started.

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