The first step to solving a problem, is to correctly identify what the problem is. Otherwise you spend all of your time trying to solve something that is not the problem.
I know that after 2002 and 2004, the Democrats felt that they were not getting their message out to the public. Always ask the question: What else could it be? And the answer could be that their message did get out, but was rejected.
Part of the problem for the Democrats is that they are not really a cohesive and easily indentifiable group. In fact, many of the core constituents of the Democratic party are in direct opposition to each other. When Howard Dean ranted about the Republicans being a party of white men and Christians, he may have been onto something. Under his view, gender, race and income are predeterminates for how you will vote. Therefore, there is no reason to persuade them, because they are unpersuadeable.
For instance, Democrats are the party that champions the poor, and protects the environment. Well, if you are poor, one of the problems is that you can't afford housing. Why? because the cost of lumber is so high. (Although, it has been dropping recently) Why is the cost of lumber high? Because it is difficult to get into the woods to cut it, thanks to law suits, environmental regulations, etc., thereby also depriving poor lumber cutters and mill workers with jobs.
How about the cost of food? Environmental groups want to end subsidies for ranchers on public land. If you do, does that not drive up the costs of doing business, and therefore, the cost of food? An example of this conflict, was the opening of ANWR. Democratic environmentalists were opposed, but the trade unions were in favor because of the jobs that would be created.
Another example, African Americans give their support to the Democrats at almost 90%. Yet most are also heavily involved in the religious aspects of their lives. How does that comport with the Democrat's position on abortion?
I could go on and on, but I hope you get my point.
So, what are the Democrats to do in light of these conflicts. I think that the first thing they have to do is to wake to the fact that it is now the 21st Century, and we are no longer living in Dickensonian England, with Bob Cratchitt slaving for the evil Republican Scrooge.
In the next 20 years, the Baby Boom population is going to be retiring. When they do, there will be a shortage of workers. When you have a shortage of workers, their pay offers will go up, along with their choices for employment. The future for the American worker is not going to be a union job at a major manufacturing plant. It is instead going to be self employed independent contractors, who will be able to bid for jobs based on their own rational perceived self interest. And when they have that first good year as an independent contractor, they will bump smack dab into the realities of the tax system. My wife, the good Democrat, becomes Republican around April 15th of every year because she is an independent contractor as a paralegal.
Democrats and Republicans have the opportunity to help these people, but neither at the moment seems to even be aware of this coming issue. Whoever can support these future entreprenuers are going to be the victors in future political struggles. It is not enough for Democrats to rely on past achievements. They need to answer the question that these younger workers are going to ask: What have you done for me lately?