The Powell Memo: the memo from 1971 that most repays reading

OK, the list of memos from 1971 that you were thinking about reading may not be that long … but this one is worth a read.

Now that the Democrats are back in control of both houses of Congress and with Barack Obama about to formally take office as President of the United States, it may seem a long time since pundits were heaping praise on the efficacy of the Republican political machine, its long term building up of support and changing of the terms of political debate.

Although the edifice has largely coming tumbling down (though not completely – in November’s elections, the Democrats made no net gains at the state Governor level and only one net gain in control of state legislatures), the lessons from that long period of Republican electoral and political success are still relevant. Part of the relevance is that very combination – electoral and wider political success were seen as an inseparable pair, both of which had to be sought and both of which nourished the other.

In many ways the successes can be traced back to the Powell Memo, written in 1971, which set out a long term plan for building political dominance. You can read more of the background, and the actual document, here.

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This entry was posted in LDVUSA.

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