Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the great questions heading into the 2010 elections is what Democrats can do to get their base motivated again. While there are several different answers to that question, the right answer isn't clear. What is very clear, however, is that Republicans have it within their power to motivate the Democratic base. The simple way to do it: Nominate divisive candidates.
That's the context I was thinking about when I heard that Tom Tancredo, the firebrand former Republican congressman from Colorado, was thinking about running for governor. A Tancredo candidacy certainly would have motivated a certain segment (and perhaps a wide swath) of the Republican base.
However, the possibility of a governor Tom Tancredo would have inspired every Hispanic Democrat who was remotely interested in politics to show up at the polls. It would have inspired a lot of other Democrats too. Complacency after the party's 2008 victories wouldn't have been a problem. And, any Democratic disappointment with the pace of change coming from Washington wouldn't have mattered.
Now, Tancredo has indicated that he's not running for governor. In some election years, that decision might be bad news for Republicans. Scott McInnis, the likely Republican nominee, is not someone with quite as much capacity to motivate the G.O.P. But, in an election year in which the Republicans will be motivated regardless of whom they nominate (almost: see NY-23), I have to think that the G.O.P. has dodged a bullet.
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