The lessons learned from this year’s midterm elections are clear. Democrats won key races and the majority by turning the Red states of the Heartland Blue. Indiana, which has voted for the Republicans in 16 of the last 17 presidential elections, sent three new Democrats to Congress. This was no accident â€“ the model of fiscal responsibility, tough and smart on national security, sharing the values of middle class families and valuing progress over partisanship has proven successful in my 5 state-wide victories and was equally successful for Joe Donnelly, Brad Ellsworth, and Baron Hill.
These elections offer Democrats a real opportunity to put American back on the path to greatness. I am hopeful that we can all come together to make real progress.
Having served two terms as Governor and in my second term as Senator from a state whose electorate is 63 percent Republican and Independent I have learned that if Democrats are going to win in predominantly Red states we need to appeal to Independents and sensible Republicans to be successful. Joe, Brad, and Baron knew this and all used this model to their benefit. Joe focused on trade and bringing back high-paying middle class jobs to the community. Brad was a tough and smart democrat who made national security his main issue and Baron reached out to voters who wanted a candidate who shared their values and would end the corruption and partisanship in Washington.
On Tuesday the American people sent a strong message to Washington that they are sick of the partisanship, the ideological extremism, and the corruption that has impeded our path to national greatness. They voted against business as usual in the nation’s capitol. Now we must step up to this challenge and show them that we can be something other than the mirror image of the Republicans. We have an opportunity, a moral responsibility, and a political imperative to deliver on issues that matter to most middle class Americans. But before we can begin to address middle class concerns we must first prove to the American people that they can trust us to keep them safe. Families will not trust us to provide their children with the best education in the world if they first don’t trust us to protect them from terrorists. The American people for the first time in decades now say they trust Democrats more or equal to Republicans to keep them safe. This is due in large part to the Republican incompetence in Iraq and on Homeland Security issues.
We must take advantage of this and reclaim the mantle of Tough and Smart democrats like Harry Truman, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and Bill Clinton. A tough and smart agenda includes among other things immediately implementing the full recommendations of the 9/11 commission and developing a responsible path towards bring our presence in Iraq to closure so that we can refocus on the threats facing America in the War on Terror.
We must recognize the challenges and unprecedented changes facing Middle Class families. Globalization, innovation, and technology have all change the world we live in and we must confront these challenges and make sure all who aspire to join and thrive in the middle class can. We live in a new global economy and the American worker is poised to lead but they need a partner in the Democratic Party and the federal government. They need bipartisan, common sense solutions to address these issues. We must reduce our dependence on foreign oil and provide incentives for Americans to build the next generation of fuel efficient vehicles. We must make health care and a college education more affordable and we must protect the pensions that so many hard working Americans earned and deserved.
If we as a Party follow the lead of Indiana and the Heartland and are willing to reach out without selling out our progressive ideals, we can build a true majority and reclaim the White House in 2008.
For more from Evan Bayh please visit: www.allamericapac.com