Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

January 16, 2004

by J

Kamarck For Dean

Elaine Kamack, who worked for the Clinton Administration, has written a nice piece explaining why she's for Howard Dean. It reflects some of my thinking on the electability question and is amusingly written with an American Idol metaphor. It's somewhat long and worth reading the whole thing.
But the most compelling reason to support Dean is that only he can change the nature of the political game. No Democrat will win unless he can make the country see through Bush, and Dean has been so good at this that by last fall all the other candidates were mimicking his outrage.

Furthermore, if Democrats play old-fashioned politics, they lose, plain and simple. George W. Bush is the incumbent; he has the Executive Branch, Republicans control Congress, and this White House has shown an uncanny ability to bamboozle and intimidate the national press corps. The Republicans own the "Establishment," and they will use it to raise $170 million or more to destroy the Democratic candidate.

Dean has built a primary campaign that makes the Establishment pretty much irrelevant. The only way a Democrat wins in November is to keep it that way. By the end of last year Dean probably had at least 300,000 individual contributors. If Dean wins some early contests and locks up the nomination by mid-March, each of these people will have a great story to tell to 10 new contributors. How much could Dean raise from these 1.5 to 3 million people (you do the math; the numbers of potential donors are huge) in the months before the Democratic convention?

No other Democratic candidate is poised to do as well. Even operating in Internet time, they all start from donor bases that are too small and mind-sets that are too old-fashioned.

Posted by J at January 16, 2004 08:52 PM

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