Conservatives, Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

I am writing this from Rootscamp DC, a gathering of about 350 progressives involved in the last campaign who could be broadly categorized as part of the netroots. It really was an amazing group of people from all over the country and from many different groups. There also is a healthy number of people from organizations of the progressive establishment, like the DNC, House and Senate staffs, unions, America Votes, etc.

The conference takes the form of what has been called an “unconference,” one that has none of the sessions or speakers set before the start of the conference. Those who gather propose sessions that they stick on a grid on the wall that lines up rooms and times. In the Rootscamp case, there were slots for about 180 sessions over two days, which, remarkably, have all been filled out.

The New Politics Institute ran two of these sessions. Simon and I did a version of a talk we give, this time on Defining the Overarching Narrative of this Election. It took a big picture look at the overall strategic terrain and made our argument that this is the beginning of a new politics. The election only validated that thesis that we have been pushing for the last year.

The feeling and energy at this Rootscamp conference also bolsters the New Politics frame. Everyone here is extremely energized and excited about transforming government and politics for the long run. One session is about carrying out the progressive revolution for the next 50 years. Most of the people here are relatively young and have a long career ahead of them.

For a sense of who is here check out the stream of photos coming out of flickr, posted there by random participants.

If I were part of the conservative moment, I would be worried. There is a structural, generational development going on here. This group is going to make a difference for a long time.

Peter Leyden