Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

A longterm plan for a Progressive Party

Posted by shannonclark on November 3, 2004

Ideas for a Progressive Party

Many people, myself included, think that a Progressive party is a good idea. Perhaps it will be built out of the current Democratic party, or perhaps it will arise as a third party and pull from the center of each party.

This evening I had an idea for a few, fairly simple, tasks that could be done and started that might offer a direct approach to building a successful Progressive Party. It will involve lots of people making very serious commitments and investments, but it also can work and can help literally reshape the map.

But before any action, some research. Start with an underlying detailed analysis of the entire US electoral map.

The steps for this would be:

  1. Take ALL votes, from ALL states, break them down to as granular a level as possible,
    overlay it with GIS software.
  2. Next add in voter registration data – so high vs. low voter turnout areas can be
    seen.
  3. Now add in data from prior elections, including primaries (noting if primaries are
    by party or open) and start to look at ongoing trends.
  4. Combine with census data to get a measure of “possible” voters vs. registered vs.
    voting.
  5. Add-in economic data about households – how many children vs. parents; how many non
    -citizens; what general income ranges (including if possible whether income is earned
    or unearned.)
  6. Combine with data from other sources, such as marketing data that might note car
    ownership; gun ownership; shopping habits for each region; home ownership vs. rental,
    size of home, attached vs. detached, level of property taxes etc.
    Now comes the fun stuff.
  7. Add-in available housing stock, homes for sale, businesses for sale.
  8. Look at infrastructure data – wireless cell phone coverage, DSL/Cable modem
    availability, etc (i.e. can the area support high tech workers)
  9. Look at and add in specifics about “time of residency before you can register to
    vote” (and “time of residency before you can run for office, locally, statewide and
    from that district nationally)

The goal is to identify areas of the country – ideally in current “red” zones – where with planning a group of people of voting age, acting together, could move in and literally “take over” that district and area.

It should be possible for a relatively small number of people, acting together and taking a longterm view, could by shifting where they live and work change the electoral map to the point of electing anyone whom they might want to elect – starting at a local level but likely including state house and senate (perhaps even in some lightly populated states governers) and ideally House members (Senators might be more difficult, though possible perhaps in a few small population states.

This is a long-term, many people, very high cost plan – but it could quite literally reshape and reorganize politics in the US.

It is also not without precedent – people of similar interests have historically lived together – so why not do it specifically for a political purpose? Why not do it in a way that can shape and influence elections nationwide?

How many progressives work in careers which they can pursue anywhere in the country
with decent infrastructure?

How many people have careers which they can transfer to other regions (teachers,
police, firemen, clergy, restaurantuers, etc?

How many people feel so passionately about the future of the country that they would be
willing to move out of comfortably “blue” states and into “redder” districts?

Further, how many of those districts are so small and economically challenged that they would not welcome the influx of new home buyers (the key of course being to arrive enmasse – ideally in a way in keeping with the “new urbanist” movement – so my personal choice would be to do this in ways that might also have the side benefit of reinvigorating small cities and towns and discouraging urban sprawl, but that is my personal bias.

This process might start by “taking back” some of the red parts of otherwise “blue” states (Part of New York, large parts of PA, some parts of New England such as Maine, etc) But clearly a focus of this should be two other critical parts of the country – the south and the west/southwest.

The sparsely populated plains states might be one place to start. As well lightly populated parts of the south another.

If this process simply started with people who already lived in a given state all moving to the same districts, to the same towns – gradually taking over local, state, and then nationwide elected offices in the process we could take over.

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