I had started to write this up as a comment, but I think it deserves its own entry. As far as Democrats "vs" Progressives go, we have a lot of work to do, but it doesn't need to be statewide on every level.
On the local race level, we're fine. I.e., State Senators, State Representatives; I don't see any reason to change the way of doing business. Both parties are doing well in that regard.
Even on some of the statewide races, having both progressives and democrats involved in the races have not been a bad thing. I think Jerry Levy, for example, brought some good issues to the debate about the auditor's race in 2006 and added some interest in it that Salmon didn't. Martha Abbot, if she could get traction, would probably make a very good state treasurer and she brings good ideas into the race.
I think the big problem is the two top tickets: Gov and Lte Gov. I think the problem is twofold: Democrats running terrible candidates (not terrible people, but good people who make lousy candidates) and Progressives running candidates that have no realistic chance of running to the point where they sometimes help Republicans. I think that some form of compromise needs to be arranged between the parties, and I don't think it has to be something that makes everyone happy as long as it's something that everyone can respect as fair and reasonable.
If, for example, both Democrats and Progressives agreed to run a single candidate as an independent and have both parties back that candidate with their own resources, I think that would be a fair and reasonable approach. It would take some real coalition work to do so and it wouldn't be easy, but I could get behind a member of either party who was willing to wage a serious challenge to Douglass from the left, provided that candidate did the *real* work of spending some time courting both Democrats *and* Progressives.
Alternately, the parties themselves could meet together and put resources into recruiting a candidate acceptable to both.
We talk about finding some way to create a coalition party (i.e., Progressive Democrat party or some such thing) and while that's plausible, that sounds like a decade-long process. If we truly want to go that way, we can, but I'd like to see us focus on finding some way to deal with the Governor's race in 2010 and finding a serious challenger to Douglas that we can all agree is a decent choice.
In the meantime, I have one suggestion about IRV: let's bundle it with something Douglass really wants: try to get a bill passed which mandates IRV but also one that provides for a 4-year Governor's term to begin with 2012. I know a lot of people aren't fond of 4-year terms, but I think they actually allow a governor to get something done. If we have IRV, it might be an opportunity for the gov to get things we *want* done. There could even be a clause that triggers a special election in two years if the governor fails to get 50% of the vote. I.e., 4 year terms with a full majority, two year terms with a plurality.
Thoughts? Comments? The throwing of rotten fruits and vegetables?