There are several factions in the Democratic Party pushing different solutions to our evident electoral problems.
One faction is advocating that the party basically write off the deeply red states -- the South and Great Plains -- in favor of an exclusively urban strategy. I think this grows out of the bitterness many feel at our defeat; I think it is an over-reaction, and ultimately a betrayal of people that should be the solid core of the democratic party.
Put morer plainly, I think this is exactly the wrong approach.
I think the democrats have had their asses handed to them in most of the last 30 years because they (we) have forgotten just what it is that makes us Democrats.
What has the party traditionally stood for? The little guy. Small farmers. The working class. Minority rights. People who don't have enough power or money to have any influence.
The Democrats could, TOMORROW, put together a winning coalition based on these people. Take, say, the bottom sixty percent of the income scale, and talk to all of them. Better yet, LISTEN to them. What are their priorities? What are their values? Who are they? We won't learn by proposing solutions to them. We will learn by listening to them.
Here's an idea that may seem strange -- give up on the BLUE states! They've been costing the democrats elections for years, and more than elections, their souls. The Blue states are the richer states (mostly); STOP listening to rich people.
Only people who are very, very economically comfortable would make abortion or gay marriage their number one, big-deal, no-compromise issues. Those of us who are well down the income ladder look at the democrats' priorities and say "What the @#$% are you people thinking?? We're hurting, the pain is getting worse, and you're all bunched up about gay marriage?! What is wrong with you?"