Second, we have better candidates -- both our incumbents and challengers. Democratic incumbents have been pretty diligent about paying attention to what is happening back home and doing good constituency work. Our challengers are proving to be tough candidates who understand the districts they are running in, and the needs of the people better than the republican incumbent.
Third, the only message that the Republicans have to offer is “no”. Even the pledge unveiled last week had "no" new ideas, just more of the same Bush-era policies Americans soundly rejected in 2006. Even conservative commentators agreed that the GOP has not gotten the message. Erick Erickson pointed out on Red State blog, "What is not in it is more than a little telling that the House GOP has not learned much of anything from 2006." So while it may be too late in the election season for the democrats to get credit for any economic improvement between now and November, its definitely too late for republican candidates to escape their brand as the party of “no”. Consider that in most of the national polls, Congressional Republicans are consistently even more unpopular than the Democrats.
None of this means that Democrats can afford to let up or take anything for granted. While no real meaningful predictions can be made this far out, it’s likely that there will be movement towards one party or the other in the last weeks. That will mean a lot of really close races that go either way by a couple of points. Americans don’t want to go back to the Bush years and republican rule. I’m betting that Democrats will be the beneficiaries of this last minute surge as Americans consider the real choice in November.
Howard Dean is former governor of Vermont and former DNC Chairman.