As a timesaver, I have decided to try to consolidate all of my pet ideas into a single handy post. So unless you like photography or bizarre videos, there's really not much reason to come back here ever again. I am a Marketing Genius!
1. Accountability is the hallmark of democracy; impunity is the hallmark of dictatorship. The two principal mechanisms of accountability are media and elections, and the Republicans have co-opted both.
1.1. The media's primary objective is to advance and defend the Republican narrative up to the limit of credibility. Maximizing profits is a secondary goal, as the media's parent companies stand to gain more from Republican government than they could through mere ratings. One need look no further than their lackluster coverage of a male prostitute (complete with website of lurid pictures and testimonials) for proof of this.
1.2. The Democrats should push loudly for election reform, stressing the democracy ("Everyone should have the right to vote") and legitimacy aspects ("Americans need to know that their votes count, and that our leaders are fairly elected"). Force the Republicans to defend the indefensible.
2. The Democratic establishment's pandering to an illusory center is a grave error.
2.1. When polling is broken down by party affiliation, Independents look a lot like Democrats on Bush approval rating, as well as most of the issues. Democrats are playing to the right, and they are actually alienating the "center."
2.2. Democrats must consistently oppose Republican policies and nominees, even when they can't win. When campaign season rolls around, they need to tie the Republicans' votes around their necks, and this is considerably more difficult when half or more of the Democratic caucus voted with them.
2.3. Republicans understand the significance of turnout; Democrats do not. A motivated base's passion and conviction drives them out to vote; the center is not as passionate, and will not turn out en masse. For every "swing" vote gained by tacking right, more than one "base" vote is lost. It is a self-defeating strategy.
2.4. Voters respect conviction, passion, and heart. Candidates like Hackett with firm convictions, who tell it like it is without pulling punches, who say things like "I said it, I meant it, I stand behind it" will gain the voters respect, even from voters who don't agree with all their positions.
2.5. The Democrats must start calling the Republicans on their strategy of using smears, fear, and hate every single election. They must make voters realize just how stupid, cowardly, bigoted, and easily distracted the Republicans think they are. When the American people finally reject these tactics, the Republicans will have nothing left - it's not like they can run on their record or their policy positions.
3. Progressives must reclaim the Democratic Party from within.
3.1. Politicians and their parties listen to and obey whoever can get them elected, or un-elected. Until the progressive netroots can demonstrate to the Democratic Party that they must have them on their side to win, they will have no leverage, and will remain marginalized.
3.1.1. A Ned Lamont primary victory, followed by a Ned Lamont general election victory, would mean far more than a truly Democratic seat in the Senate. It would announce to the Democratic Party that the progressive netroots are capable of toppling a corporate- and establishment-backed incumbent.
3.1.2. Ned Lamont notwithstanding, the House of Representatives affords the best opportunity for a progressive takeover. All the seats are in play every two years, the campaigns are smaller and therefore easier to impact, and the seats are safer thanks to the magic of gerrymandering.
3.2. Bill Clinton inadvertently ruined the Democratic party by using his immense charisma and political talent to legitimize the DLC's corporate-friendly "triangulation" strategy. The Democratic Party never figured out that he won because he was Bill Clinton, not because he was a centrist.
4. The judicial confirmation process needs the opposite of the nuclear option. Instead of eliminating the filibuster, the Senate should make 60 votes the official standard for confirming judges, and retire the notion that selecting judges is solely the President's prerogative. A judiciary that is confirmed by a simple majority becomes effectively another branch of the legislature, as decisions are determined by party affiliation rather than honest interpretation of law. A 60-vote requirement would force presidents of both parties to nominate highly-qualified moderates who would be acceptable to both parties, and who would make their decisions based on law.
This is what I could think of off the top of my head, so far. I will probably continue adding to it and tinkering with it, and try to figure out a place to link it on the main page. Oh, and if someone could tell me how to indent (Blogger eats leading spaces and tabs), I would be very grateful...
UPDATE: I've added a few more, and hyperlinked to any posts that elaborate on the particular topic.