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View Full Version : Re-Handicap the Race after Iowa


Sam Stone
01-19-2004, 09:18 PM
Well, the Iowa Caucus results are coming in, and it looks like John Kerry and John Edwards are the big winners. Dean placed a distant 3rd, and Gephardt was almost shut out.

First of all, I think this was very good for the Democrats. They picked the two guys who actually have a chance of beating Bush. Very smart.

So... Given the results, where do you all think the candidates stand now?

I'll go out on a limb and say right now that the nomination is John Kerry's for the taking. He had already moved ahead of Clark in New Hampshire, despite the fact that Clark is already campaigning there in force. After tonight's win, I think Kerry is going to pick up steam.

Edwards is in good position to continue his run. He's now a heavyweight, whereas until a couple of weeks ago he was almost a footnote. I still don't think he'll win, but he's in a good position.

Gephardt is done like dinner. I think we'll be hearing a withdrawal speech from the campaign in the next couple of days.

I think Dean is in big, big trouble. He's been falling steadily in the polls, the media has turned against him, and today he lost big. Coming in 3rd wouldn't have been a big deal if he was within a few points of the leader, but getting only 18%? Bad news. It's still very early, and he could turn it around, but it doesn't look good.

My guess for best chance to take the nomination, in order:

Kerry
Clark
Dean/Edwards tie

The rest don't matter.

minty green
01-19-2004, 09:49 PM
Clark's decision not to run in Iowa now looks like a very bad move. He's stuck in third place behind two moderates with serious momentum behind them. He will now have to place all of his eggs in the basket labeled "New Hampshire" and hope he comes out on top there. Otherwise, he's toast.

You can't give enough credit to Kerry on this one. From frontrunner to afterthought to frontrunner once again. Now if they'd just pull that metal rod out of his back, maybe you'd have a guy who could squash Bush like a cockroach. [No offense intended if he actually has a metal rod in his back from Vietnam. I really do like the guy, but he's a tough package to sell to Joe and Jane Dumbass.]

Edwards benefitted hugely from the Des Moines Register endorsement a week or two back. He is, by all accounts, a very engaging and compelling campaigner when people actually get to see him. He's still got a road to hoe, but he can win it if he's able to capitalize on Kerry's remarkable resemblance to Al Gore.

Go back to St. Louis, Dick Gephardt. Your career is finished.

Go away, Howard Dean. The adults are in charge now.

Patty O'Furniture
01-19-2004, 09:53 PM
I don't know what to think now. I was for Dean, and thought Kerry was just so unappealing. Maybe I had Kerry tuned-out for cosmetic reasons. This will cause me to reexamine my (mis?)understanding of Kerry's position and apparent electability.

laigle
01-19-2004, 09:56 PM
I'm gonna go with a Kerry-Edwards or visa versa ticket. It mostly depends on how Kerry plays in the South. Clark's not dead in the water, but with the surge of momentum those two will get from rising so far in the polls he's in trouble.

minty green
01-19-2004, 10:01 PM
The entrance poll results (http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/primaries/pages/epolls/IA/index.html) are interesting. Looks like both Dean and Gephardt went in with slightly higher numbers than they emerged with, and Kerry and Dean went in with slightly less than they actually received. That's likely due to the Iowa caucus system (in which I proudly participated last time around), which kills off anyone with less than 15% of the vote in a precinct, then gives the voters whose candidates were eliminated a chance to throw their support elsewhere.

Kerry's support is also pretty interesting. While you see significant variations among different groups supporting different candidates, Kerry drew relatively steadily among all the groups. There was a bit of a gender gap--men were somewhat more likely to support Kerry (a trend reversed for Edwards. But overall, very consistent support. I have no idea what that means, but I found it interesting.

Diogenes the Cynic
01-19-2004, 10:14 PM
The Iowa caucus doesn't really mean that much. Don't forget that neither of the last two GOP nominees won the Iowa caucus.

It's a boost for Kerry's momentum but don't look for it to translate for Edwards. New Hampshire is still very much in play and Dean still has a lot of money and support. Clark is a dark horse in New Hampshire as well. I think whoever wins New Hampshire will probably win the nom but I don't really care who it is. Kerry's just fine with me. It would be nice to see the Deserter in Chief have to face a war hero in the debates.

John Mace
01-19-2004, 10:41 PM
Doesn’t surprise me too much as I called a Kerry win in JC’s thread last week…:D In a sense, though, this just gets him back to where he was in the early days of the campaign. And, echoing minty’s comments, Kerry make Gore look like Mr. Personality.

This is a huge blow for Dean and the press will probably dump their former darling like yesterday’s fish dinner. Edwards scores big, but I think he has a big task ahead of him to demonstrate that he’s got the political weight of someone like Kerry. He seems much more like VP material, although I can’t tell if he’d be willing to take the 2nd spot. If the team loses, he’ll have to go up against Hillary in ’08 in addition to whoever was at the head of the ticket. If the team wins, he’ll likely have to bide his time until ’12. He’s young enough (and looks even younger) so maybe that latter scenario is not so much a problem with him. And the Kucinich quasi-endorsement in Iowa (if there is any substance to it) pushes him further out to the loony fringe. Maybe that was a one-shot deal to boost him in Iowa.

Clark just seems like such a wildcard to me. I can’t see how he’ll play out.

But it’s still so early! DtC is correct in saying Iowa isn't all that important. Kerry needs to show that he can run in the south. If he can, I think he could give Bush a good run for his money (both figuratively and literally).

I think the general election will hinge on something that hasn’t happened yet. Either a terror attack, a significant development in Iraq (either good or bad) or maybe even the capture of ObL. The economy seems to be perking up well, and should be a net plus for Bush.

Dewey Cheatem Undhow
01-19-2004, 10:44 PM
The Iowa caucus doesn't really mean that much. Don't forget that neither of the last two GOP nominees won the Iowa caucus.True dat. Iowa's record at picking the eventual nominee is spotty at best (http://desmoinesregister.com/extras/politics/caucus2004/pastresults.html). (You're wrong about GOP nominees, though; Iowa picked George W. Bush in 2000 and Bob Dole in 1996, though both wins were narrower than expected).

Especially note 1988, when the finishes were as follows:

GOP:
1. Bob Dole
2. Pat Robertson (!)
3. George H.W. Bush

Dems:
1. Dick Gephardt
2. Paul Simon
3. Michael Dukakis

Lamar Mundane
01-19-2004, 10:52 PM
Good Lord. Dean is history after that speech he just made. He looked like a drunken football fan trying to rouse his barmates while his team goes into the fourth quarter down by four touchdowns.

That was embarrasingly bad.

Sam Stone
01-19-2004, 10:54 PM
Clark's decision not to run in Iowa now looks like a very bad move. He's stuck in third place behind two moderates with serious momentum behind them. He will now have to place all of his eggs in the basket labeled "New Hampshire" and hope he comes out on top there. Otherwise, he's toast.


I don't think it was a bad move at all. Clark didn't have a chance in Iowa, because the caucuses are all about organization, people on the street, and the core of the party. Clark is an outsider, and he doesn't have the kind of organization that could have worked for him in Iowa. He saw a major defeat if he had run in Iowa, so he decided to go for the long bomb and focus everything on New Hampshire. I think that was a smart move. Unfortunately for Clark, the results of this caucus were not good for him. He really needed Kerry to get creamed by Dean, so that he could have stepped in as the last adult standing and provided a stark choice. Now he's got to go against a front runner with serious credentials, and it's going to be tough for him.

The problem Dean has now is that his whole movement was based on momentum, excitement, grassroots agitation, etc. All that has come to a screeching halt. He's said one too many stupid things, and annoyed too many people. And, he's got nowhere to go if he misses the nomination - he's not liked well enough to make it onto the ticket as VP, and there's no strategic reason to pick him anyway.

Edwards is in great shape. Well liked by all, he's made it this far without having to sling mud and damage his campaign. He could still win, but more likely is that he'll put in a solid 3rd place showing in New Hampshire and position himself for a shot at the VP position.

Personally, of the field I'd like to see a Clark/Edwards ticket.

pantom
01-19-2004, 11:06 PM
Good one, John Mace.
I agree with those who say Clark has a tough road now. The soldier slot is taken by Kerry now, and that doesn't leave him with much of a niche.
The real winner IMO was Edwards. I listened to him for the first time tonight and was impressed; the contrast with the amateurism of Dean was striking. I think, given that he's from the South and therefore can challenge Bush in that region means that he's guaranteed VP and is a very serious candidate for the Presidential nomination. Kerry is probably figuring that very soon it'll be him vs Edwards.
Bush is a real big loser out of this. It's obvious the Dems care less about ideological purity and far more about beating him. It's going to be a close race, right up until October, when OBL is captured. Wotta surprise that'll be.

Spavined Gelding
01-19-2004, 11:06 PM
As a guy who actually participated in the Iowa process, Diogenes, let me suggest that Iowa may not be as pointless as you think. Iowa gives people a chance to actually interact with the candidate on an eyeball to eyeball level. I suspect that more than 75% of the people attending the caucuses tonight had at one point or another been within 10 or 15 feet of the candidate if they had not actually spoken to him and shaken his hand. It is a wonderful device for sorting the sheep from the goats. Like the wolves prowling the edges of the great buffalo herds, we Iowans pull down the old, sick and lame. As decent a man as he might be, we have done in Congressman Gephardt and I suspect Congressman Kucinich is not far behind.

Save maybe New Hampshire there is no place that puts as much emphasis on a candidates ability to deal with people, answer their questions, avoid arrogance and self importance as does Iowa. We can pick out phonies and losers and hand them their heads. Regrettably the rest of the country is not always so perceptive.

hermann
01-19-2004, 11:15 PM
When I saw Dean's speech he made me think of Jesse Ventura, or any other loud-mouthed "wrastler". Gephardt, on the other hand made a very good speech, and knows when to fold his cards, unlike others who didn't even receive as many votes as he did (Kucinich and Sharpton, for instance). I'm inclined to think that Gore should have held off on endorsing anybody. And what's the deal on Kucinich telling his people to go to Edwards if they didn't have the numbers? Are they that much alike? :confused:

minty green
01-19-2004, 11:21 PM
Clark is an outsider, and he doesn't have the kind of organization that could have worked for him in Iowa.Yes, but that's because he didn't run in Iowa.
Unfortunately for Clark, the results of this caucus were not good for him. He really needed Kerry to get creamed by Dean, so that he could have stepped in as the last adult standing and provided a stark choice. Now he's got to go against a front runner with serious credentials, and it's going to be tough for him.Pretty much my point exactly. If Dean had come out on top in Iowa, Clark was positioned to be the savior of the Democrats who put sending Bush "home" to Waco ahead of masturba . . . er, I mean, principle. Not a bad gamble, but a losing bet nonetheless. South Carolina cannot save Clark now unless he wins NH big, and I honestly can't see that happening.

John Mace
01-19-2004, 11:24 PM
And what's the deal on Kucinich telling his people to go to Edwards if they didn't have the numbers? Are they that much alike? :confused:
Edwards better hope not.:)

Had to be a last minute pragmatic political ploy by two people who really only have in commone the fact they're both underdogs.

Gephardt's presidential aspirations are done. The guy looks like a rust belt, and can't even win in the rust belt anymore. (Does Iowa qualify as rust belt?)

Lieberman just got the Manchester Union Leader's endorsement. Probably not surprising considering the conservative bent of that newspaper. Dean is clearly not done fighting yet, as per his speech. 3 New Englanders going into NH should be interesting.

Diogenes the Cynic
01-19-2004, 11:25 PM
Sorry, Spavined, I didn't mean to sound like I was disparaging the caucus, I just meant that it hasn't been a reliable predictor of the evntual nominee.

Dewey, thanks for the correction. i thought that McCain had won in 2000 but maybe I was thinking of New Hampshire.

Pat Robertson...My God, I remember that. It still merits a :eek:

dropzone
01-19-2004, 11:29 PM
Bush is a real big loser out of this. It's obvious the Dems care less about ideological purity and far more about beating him.We put "ideological purity" aside in '92 to beat his daddy and we can do it again. Many Republicans imagine that all Democrats think alike. Seventy years ago Will Rogers said, "I don't belong to an organized part. I'm a Democrat," and it's still true.

John Mace
01-19-2004, 11:36 PM
Imagine Kerry vs Bush:

A senior Senator who is a genuine war veteran but lacking in the personality dept vs an incumbent, alleged draft-dodging former governor of a southern state-- avery likeable guy, but who generates intense hatred in the other party.

Hmmm. Where have we seen this before? :)

minty green
01-19-2004, 11:49 PM
That's not a fair comparison. Bob Dole had plenty in the personality department. He just wasn't allowed to show it.

Plus, Clinton was God.

pantom
01-20-2004, 12:05 AM
Just want to throw in that Dole was on one of the panels on one of the news stations - can't remember which - and even though he ran in Iowa twice and won once, he too made the mistake of betting Dean would win. So this result surprised even a guy who's actually successfully navigated the caucuses.

Spavined Gelding
01-20-2004, 12:15 AM
Pat Robertson...My God, I remember that. It still merits a :eek:


Old Pat's showing in the Iowa caucus, or the straw poll at the Republican State Convention (I'm not sure which and I think that Dewey may have them confused, too) was the first warning for the unaware that the State GOP was changing from an outfit dominated by the economic opportunism of the Farm Bureau to an organization run by and for the Jesus wing of the citizens-against-sin. The change has had dire consequences for the State since that outfit now holds the swing votes in both houses of the state legislature and leaves precious little room for the pragmatic art of politics. I can't help but think that the Jesus wing looks at Iran and is secretly envious of the Council of Guardians.

Incidentally when Bush One was running he wowed the locals in the face to face small meetings at civic clubs, country clubs and private homes.

Sam Stone
01-20-2004, 12:23 AM
I just saw Dean's speech - man, the guy's almost nuts. Screaming at the top of his lungs, shaking his fist in the air - someone needs to tell him to tone it WAY down. He's taking this, "I'm the really angry guy" schtick past the point of self-parody.

I think Dean's finished. And if by chance he does get the nomination, the Dems deserve the ass whupping Bush will lay on him.

Chance the Gardener
01-20-2004, 01:39 AM
This is a huge blow for Dean and the press will probably dump their former darling like yesterday’s fish dinner.

What, now? Dean was hardly the press's darling. He received more negative press than any of the other candidates—including our incumbent president. Call it justified or not, it's not fair to say that Dean was the darling of the press. The press was pretty complicit in spreading the "angry Dean meme."


As to the race: well, I'm surprised. I figured it could go to either Kerry, Dean, Edwards or Gephardt, but I didn't expect anyone to get such a lopsided victory. Kerry came in first with 38%, followed by Edwards at 33% (I'm pretty sure; I mean, I'm doing this from memory.) Dean was a distant third at a lot less, and Gephardt was even further back. I'm surprised to see Kerry vaulting so far ahead, and I'm even more surprised to see Edwards where he is, too. And I didn't think Dean and Gephardt would be so far back in the pack.

What's it all mean? Well, Gephardt is expected to drop out. No surprise there. If he couldn't win big in Iowa, he couldn't be expected to do well anywhere else. This certainly doesn't help Dean. Dean can by no means be counted out, but he's got to do better. If Dean doesn't pull off a strong win in New Hampshire, that'll be the beginning of the end. This does make me uncomfortable, vis-ŕ-vis the Dean candidacy. A week ago I predicted Dean would be the one marching on toward Boston this summer; now he's in hot water. Or lukewarm water. Whatever. He's like a frog in warm water that... oh, never mind.

This makes Edwards more of a contender. Edwards won't win New Hampshire, but he'll likely have a better showing there than one might have expected. This will help him in the Southern primaries, particularly in South Carolina. I still don't think Edwards will be able to win the nomination, but he seems to be trying to make himself seem like a viable vice presidential candidate. I'm dubious about that, too. He's geographically correct, but I dunno...

So what's this mean for the big winner? Well, it's hard to say. Iowa winners aren't always the nomination winners, but this is still a shot in the arm for Kerry, whose candidacy had been dismissed as dead in the water by a lot of pundits (including myself.) Kerry's propects in New Hampshire are improved, where he'll scrap with Dean and Clark, who are both doing well there. It remains to be seen how the news from Iowa will affect Dean in New Hampshire. A strong showing for Kerry in Iowa might translate as good news for Clark elsewhere. We'll see. If Clark pulls support from Kerry in New Hampshire, then Clark looks good for contests in the South, considering that Kerry has a geographic advantage in New Hampshire. If Clark draws support from Dean, then all bets are off. Clark will most likely eat into Kerry's constituencies, though, and wreak havoc on the Kerry campaign in the South.

I figure by February 3 Kerry won't be looking so hot. Clark will rise, with Edwards snapping away some support, and Dean still as the X factor. If Dean can rally the troops for February 3, he's still in this, but he'll need a strong win in New Hampshire to do that effectively. At this writing, Dean still has the most delegates of all the candidates (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040120/ap_on_el_pr/ap_delegate_count&cid=694&ncid=1963), but things can change. Kerry, Dean and Clark are the front runners now, with Clark's star rising fast. Dean needs to lurch forward, and Kerry needs to preserve momentum. Edwards needs to prove to the eventual nominee that he'd make an excellent vice president, who'd help them at least carry North Carolina.

On Super Tuesday, Dennis Kucinich will surprise everyone by winning all twelve states. The Democratic Party will be thrown into chaos. Journalism will reach a new height in quality as all the heads of the executives at Fox News simultaneously explode. (Well, not really, but that sure would make good copy, wouldn't it?)

syncrolecyne
01-20-2004, 01:45 AM
If Dean simply thanked the crowd, hugged his wife, and said 'its on to New Hampshire' - it would have been boring - but he'd still have a shot. But his Bob Knightesque performance tonight was about the most embarassing spectacle I have ever seen. His putdown of the man who implored him to be more "neighborly" with Bush probably caused Dean's debacle. Even if the man was a Republican shill, Dean could have handled him with far more tact, instead of going off on him. I don't see him coming back easily unless he makes a fundamental change in his behavior and public personality. However, Howard Dean is simply too authentic and honest to make himself into someone else for the benefit of being more electable. If he can't win New Hampshire, he's history.

The guy that impressed me was John Edwards. He looks barely 40 (although he is 50), and has little experience compared to most presidential candidates (though he does have as much or as George W. Bush did in 2000). Up until now I was dismissive of him, but he actually took the opportunity - perhaps his first true chance to address a big part of the voting public as a serious candidate - to make a very gracious, reasoned, and solidly delivered speech that actually attempted to connect to those who were not blind partisans to his candidacy. I truly think he is likely to emerge as the front runner in February when this heads to states like South Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona and New Mexico.

Kerry was perhaps too tired and hoarse to make a similar appeal. He can't just run on being the guy who won Iowa. That will be old news in two days.

The only question mark still left for me is Wesley Clark. He could upset all of this in New Hampshire next week!

John Mace
01-20-2004, 01:50 AM
What, now? Dean was hardly the press's darling. He received more negative press than any of the other candidates—including our incumbent president. Call it justified or not, it's not fair to say that Dean was the darling of the press. The press was pretty complicit in spreading the "angry Dean meme."

You know the saying-- there's no such thing as "bad" publicity. We won't be seeing him on the cover of Time and Newsweek again. Yeah, the press has loved reporting the bad along with the good, but they loved reporting about him. And that's what matters.

RexDart
01-20-2004, 01:53 AM
Well, let's look at the probable future of the race, first in no particular order before I rank them.

Dean: He has been slipping ever since he started acting like a petulant little child, and if you thought the 2000 Bush campaign lacked "gravitas" then you're in for a repeat with Dean. He seemed really odd tonight, rambling a list of states remaining in the primary campaigns and ending with some bizarre "rwaaarrr" noise like he's a bengal tiger. But he does have alot of money, and a national focus, and still plenty of support, so I really think he could stay in this thing a long time. The number of delegates that anyone could wrap up through Iowa, New Hampshire, and So. Carolina isn't enough to win squat at the Convention. He also has an assortment of Dem establishment figures' endorsements, though I suspect some of those guys may be regretting it now that Dean is on the decline.

Clark: He's a general, but other than that he has nothing to distinguish him. The veterans seem to be heading to Kerry's camp, so unless Clark pulls out a big win in NH, he's out of the race right away. Which is what I predict will happen, he's gone.

Kerry: All the momentum, and unlike previous Iowa winners, he's basically going home for NH. The nomination looks like his to lose, and he's definitely in the race at least through the multi-state primary weeks regardless of what happens in NH or in SoCar.

Edwards: Polling in the single digits in NH, could rise this week. But the prospect of victories in the South, and the fact that "ability to beat Bush" seems to be the #1 quality Dem voters are looking for means Edwards has too much of a chance to drop out before the multi-state primary weeks either. In fact, I'd say Edwards could start to look VERY appealing to Dem voters, as his Southern origin doesn't seem to detract from his definitely left-wing positions on domestic issues. Plus, as Kerry had previously been the Iowa frontrunner months back, Edwards' rise is even more surprising and could give him even a bigger boost.

Lieberman: Nice guy, but he'd need a miracle in NH to stay in the race. His prospects in South Carolina are basically zero, so he'll drop out after a poor showing in New Hampshire.

Two of the nine have now called it quits, and Sharpton and Kucinich's campaigns were never realistic to begin with, credit them at best with trying to get a few different issues on the table in the debates (unfortunately, Kucinich's interesting plans to radically alter US drug policy never got any media attention.)

So I'd rate it like this now:

1. Kerry - He'll get all the media attention this week because of this comeback victory, that should propell him into the limelight and give a definite advantage.

2. Dean - Despite mediocre performance tonight, still has supporters spread across the nation, and has had all the media focus (perhaps too much focus) for months, primaries attract more casual voters than a caucas does, so I think he still has a shot.

3. Edwards - He's Southern, he could cut a dent into the "red states" of the electoral map, he's young, has a good image, is very good in debates, and manages to articulate a pretty mainstream Dem position on the issues without sounding like an artifact of a prior age (Gephardt), a spoiled child (Dean), or someone whose familiarity with the party's platform is limited to talking points somebody handed him in a pamphlet (Clark.)

4. Clark - Good numbers in NH give him a shot, though I think it's dim. If Dean drops late in the race in NH like he did in Iowa, Clark could slip up from second place. But Kerry is right behind him, and Clark may not be the beneficiary of Dean's defectors.

5. Lieberman - He's just a step above Kucinich and Sharpton, he's got nothing.

I think NH will finish: Kerry, Dean, Clark, Edwards. 3rd place won't be enough for Clark, he and Lieberman will drop out. So then we get a three-horse race the rest of the way, and there's good reason to think all three will stay in it for quite awhile, much longer than we've seen in recent years.

CyberPundit
01-20-2004, 02:19 AM
I saw bits of the Dean speech and I agree it was horrendous. I think his chances of winning the nomination have been seriously hurt but I wouldn't rule him completely out. I thought Kerry was down and out a few weeks ago and look at what he has done. But Dean has his work cut out for him. He needs to be a lot more disciplined and look more presidential. As I mentioned in an earlier thread his tax plan is a liability and Kerry attacked it relentlessly and successfully. OTOH he has been suprisingly successful at lining up endorsements from Democratic bigwigs and I have always thought that he is a lot cannier a politician than he seems. Let's see if he has the stuff to recover.

At this stage , though, Kerry looks like the best bet (though not by a huge margin) to win the nomination and he is certainly a safe bet to fight the general election effectively. He is isn't nearly as good a speaker as ,say, Edwards but he doesn't really have any major weakness. And he gave a decent victory speech today. He and Edwards would make a great ticket. Incidentally for those of you wondering how Kerry pulled this off this article provides one explanation: a political operative called Michael Whouley who also helped Gore win the primaries in 2000.
http://tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=express&s=crowley011604

Incidentally I disagree that Clark made a mistake in skipping Iowa. He entered the race too late to build a good ground operation in Iowa so it made sense to concentrate on New Hampshire. And if Dean had won Iowa then Clark would have been in a great position to position himself as the anti-Dean . Clark has been doing decently in New Hampshire in any event. He has also raised a lot of money so I think he will able to survive a defeat in NH. The key for him is probably South Carolina.

Stoid
01-20-2004, 02:42 AM
Good Lord. Dean is history after that speech he just made. He looked like a drunken football fan trying to rouse his barmates while his team goes into the fourth quarter down by four touchdowns.

That was embarrasingly bad.


The snippets I saw were really disturbing. I feel for the guy, it was quite a blow after being the presumptive nominee in the press for awhile. But creepy nonetheless.

Does anyone know of a link to the whole thing?

RTFirefly
01-20-2004, 06:43 AM
Once Gephardt withdraws, we'll be down to Dean, Kerry, Edwards, Clark, Leiberman, Kucinich, and Sharpton. The latter two never were 'real' candidates anyway. Leiberman has to do really well in NH to stay alive (if you think it was a gamble for Clark to skip Iowa, here's a guy who definitely has all his eggs in one basket), and it ain't gonna happen. Dean's probably toast.

I don't know about handicapping, but I'm starting to root for Edwards. He's saying all the right things from my POV, he's obviously connecting with voters while doing it, and he's got that optimistic happy-warrior groove working. Don't underestimate that, folks: Clinton had it in '92, and Bush had it in 2000. (But seems to have lost the mojo lately.)

What Edwards has to do in NH to stay in contention is a reasonably strong tie for second, or better. Then the fight comes to his part of the country.

Same is more or less true of Clark, although having skipped Iowa, I think a rough tie for second leaves him weaker than it would Edwards. Having shown he can woo and win voters in Iowa, Edwards doesn't have to prove as much in NH.

I think Kerry really needs a win in NH to keep it going, and I think he probably will win NH. Because when the action moves south, both Edwards and Clark are on their home field. If Kerry places second or worse in NH, then he's not gonna look very strong going south.

Marley23
01-20-2004, 07:13 AM
I'm gonna go with a Kerry-Edwards or visa versa ticket. It mostly depends on how Kerry plays in the South. Clark's not dead in the water, but with the surge of momentum those two will get from rising so far in the polls he's in trouble.
Here's the thing - and I'm borrowing this from the year-end issue of the NY Times magazine piece - they may not really need the South. The piece was about a new 'forget the South, we can't win there' school of thought in the party. I believe the piece pointed out that Gore could have won the Presidential election regardless of Florida if he'd just swept New England. The Democratic strategy could be to look away from the South because it will be so hard to win there, and to go for other, more likely swing states elsewhere in the country.

I agree that Clark is in trouble. I'm not sure he could've done well in Iowa because of his late start. But he was running, at least in part, as the anti-Dean. Dean is no longer the clear favorite, so that niche has been co-opted. Kerry has many of the same selling points as the General (decorated veteran, etc.), and he lacks the questions - i.e. loyalty to the Democrats, confused position on the war.

Dean is likewise in trouble. He's very smart and on some issues, mostly related to health (not surprising), I think he's still got the best position. But his personality flaws have become a real problem. The New York Times today compared him to Howard Beale from Network ("I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!"). His negativity and the fact that he's been the punching bag for the other candidates has really hurt him.

Edwards is a big winner. He's inexperienced, but I agree with John Mace - he's upbeat and sunny, which (South or no South) could help Kerry, who's neither.
[Pure hypothetical for a moment.] If Edwards served a term or two as VP, that would take care of the age and inexperience thing, and he could be a good Presidential candidate a few elections down the road.
In the past few days, I've been really impressed by Kerry personally, and he won a great victory tonight. It's true that the Iowa winner winner doesn't often go on to be the nominee, but Kerry didn't run a traditional Iowa campaign. (Another indicator, although this is a weird year: the nominee is almost always a guy who places third or better in Iowa - sorry, Mr. Kucinich - and that may also be trouble for Clark.) Kerry's definitely got momentum, he's experienced, and I don't think he has any characteristics that will immediately turn people off. Exciting stuff, and I'm that much more curious to see where it goes now.

Nightime
01-20-2004, 07:14 AM
I've been a Kerry supporter the whole way, but Edwards is in a very good position.

Kerry has more experience and a military background, but those things don't seem to matter as much as people think they do.

What seems to matter more is personality, looks, and voice. All of which Edwards has over Kerry.


They are very similar on most issues, but it seems to me that Edwards is more moderate, while at the same time being capable of making speeches that sound exciting.


I liked Edwards' speech about taxes. Instead of talking about getting rid of tax cuts, he talked about getting rid of tax loopholes. Which makes sense - the very wealthy have always made great use of tax loopholes, and it was sort of understood, though not explicitly said, that their higher tax rates were a counter to their loopholes. Now that they have cut their tax rates, its time to get rid of the loopholes too.



I like both Kerry and Edwards a lot, and I dislike all the other democratic candidates. It could go either way, but I'm going to guess that Edwards' charm and his campaign of hope will trump Kerry's experience and military record.


Prediction: Edwards gets the nomination.

Nightime
01-20-2004, 07:16 AM
My preferred results would be:

Kerry for president, Edwards for vice president.

BobLibDem
01-20-2004, 08:25 AM
I think the Iowans did a remarkable job at winnowing the field for us. I think the race is now Kerry's to lose. My reaction to each candidate:

John Kerry A remarkable metamophosis. He's got the experience, he's statesmanlike, he now gives a very good speech. He's going to pull the veterans away from Clark, he's going to pull Dean voters that are a little uneasy over Dr. Howard's temper.

Howard Dean We like Ralph Kramden but we didn't elect him president. His speech after Iowa makes us wonder if he can hold his liquor.

John Edwards Seems as comfortable as an old rocking chair. A Kerry-Edwards ticket, or the reverse, seems quite formidable. Did an amazing job in Iowa taking the high road and remaining positive. That approach kept him a serious candidate.

Dick Gephardt Very wisely packs it in. A good and gracious public servant. We will miss him.

Wesley Clark Don't look now, general, but Kerry pulled the rug out from under you.

Joe Lieberman Will finally get the message in NH. You're fun to have around, but we didn't want Dick Cavett for president any more than Ralph Kramden.

Dennis Kucinich Nice guy, but going nowhere fast. What a deal with Edwards, I'd be interested to see if it ever worked in Dennis' favor.

Big loser in Iowa- George W. Bush. One year from today, he'll be harmless.

Chance the Gardener
01-20-2004, 09:53 AM
Here's the thing - and I'm borrowing this from the year-end issue of the NY Times magazine piece - [the Democrats] may not really need the South.

I've been saying this for years. Like you said, had Al Gore won one more state—any state—he would have won the presidency without Florida (the non-voting Washington, DC elector notwithstanding.) Things have changed a little since then, what with the South having a net gain of four electoral votes (I count Texas and Oklahoma as the Southwest, for the record,) but essentially a Northern formula would work for the Democrats. Sweeping the Northeast completely, plus winning the Rust Belt (Ohio in particular,) the Grain Belt and the West Coast, they'd pretty much have it sewn up, with no Southern state going Democratic.

However, it wouldn't make sense for the Democrats to ignore the South; concentrated efforts in certain states would make sense. Florida sits on the fence, and the Democrats could do well in Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina, with a little effort. (With a Southerner on the ticket, this job would be easier.) Barring victories in those states, paying attention to the South would help the Democrats in that it would keep Bush on his guard in those states and it would help the Democrats in certain sections of non-Southern states like Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Missouri. All those states will be battlegrounds, so every bit helps.

I won't fret if Bush sweeps the South; I expect him to win at least a majority of the electors down there, if not all of them. But if the Democrats shine in the Northeast and the Midwest and stay solid on the West Coast, they're looking good. If they pick up a few Western states, they're far better off. The 2000 Democratic state of New Mexico will be up for grabs again, as will the 2000 Republican states of Colorado, Arizona and Nevada. That accounts for 29 electoral votes that could definitely swing things one way or another.

I'm not sure, Marley23, if Dean's in trouble. He certainly isn't in as comfortable a position as many of us (including me) previously thought. As a Dean supporter since April, I have to say his "We're gonna take New Hampshire! And South Carolina! And Oklahoma!..." speech was embarrassing to watch. Me, I'm up for voting for any candidate who can beat Bush, and I still think Dean can do it. Kerry just doesn't seem viable to me, despite his great showing in Iowa yesterday. Same with Edwards. I could be wrong, sure, but those are my hunches. I'm reluctant to comment on Clark; he remains an untested quantity. We'll know for sure about him by February 3.

John Mace—I disagree that the media reporting about someone is necessarily a boost. Remember all the negative press Al Gore got, compared to the greater amount of positive coverage that George W. Bush got? Also, it seems the media are rejoicing too much in Dean's poor showing in Iowa. This adds up. I wonder when they're going to start claiming that "angry Howard Dean" invented the internet? Anyway, Osama bin Laden got lots of reporting done on him, too. Very little of it was positive.

Dewey Cheatem Undhow
01-20-2004, 11:05 AM
Old Pat's showing in the Iowa caucus, or the straw poll at the Republican State Convention (I'm not sure which and I think that Dewey may have them confused, too) Ahem. If you had bothered to look at the link I provided, you would have seen a page from the Des Moines Register showing caucus results (and not state convention results) since 1972. Additionally, there is a link on the page to an essay on Iowa caucus history, which notes Robertson's second place finish in 1988.

There's no need to be confused, or to suggest I was confused, because I provided a clear cite to a valid source for that data point.

plnnr
01-20-2004, 11:20 AM
Kerry/Breaux 2004

There's your ticket (and bumper sticker)

Captain Amazing
01-20-2004, 11:30 AM
Didn't Kerry spend a lot more money in Iowa than most of the other candidates? Is he going to be able to keep spending that amount, especially considering that he turned down government funding? I know his wife has a lot of money, but it will still get pretty expensive.

kwildcat
01-20-2004, 11:35 AM
Contrary to several previous posts, I do not believe Wes Clark is in dire straits. On the contrary, he, and now John Edwards, continue to do an absolutely masterful job of campaigning "above the fray". They have both staunchly refused to engage in attack politics, and the few stabs Edwards took at Dean during some of the early debates a) made Edwards look bad, and b) were not duplicated in later appearances.

Kerry's showing in Iowa could be attributed to similar methods. Prior to Iowa, and in preparation for NH, Lieberman played the biggest heavy, hacking at Dean until he finally lost it and hacked back. While Kerry did the same thing to a lesser extent - by the time he started showing up on Iowans' doorsteps, he had shifted away from attacking Dean to promoting himself. See, even in saying "Dean is a schmoe", Lieberman was still making it about Dean, not himself.

If I were a political strategist, I would find all this very interesting from a strategic perspective, and frankly playing out very well thus far for the Democratic party.

-raving northeast liberal whips the party into a frenzy, boosting interest, turnout, and grassroots fundraising. The contest is successfully defined most importantly as a way to get rid of GWB.
-raving northeast liberal goes too far, prompting questions of electability. The party base, though, is already energized by the drama of stark raving lunacy, attack ads, wacky debate antics, etc. High voter turnout during the primaries and the general election is seemingly assured.
-plodding centrist candidates, sensing opportunity, decide to engage in good old fashioned mudslinging at the raving liberal. They are so out of date they do not realize that it damages them just as much as their target.
-his ego stung by the attacks, raving northeast liberal whines and mudslings back, forgetting that it was anything but old-fashioned political tactics that made him the front runner. In the process, he looks like an ass.
-the less strident, more visionary, more progressive candidates at last become the hot topic of coverage. Having benefitted from the mobilization of the electorate by the catfight among the competition, people are now primed to focus on message over fist-shaking.

Lieberman did his job - he hacked Dean relentlessly until Dean-o took the bait and spit back. After a 5th place finish in NH, Joe calls it quits and publicly endorses Kerry.

Kerry proved (with the help of the Iowan citizenry) Dean cannot be elected. Kerry wins N.H.

Clark is one of the principal beneficiaries of the Dean Iowa loss. Dean backers will begin to flock to Wes, in large part because he has managed to tap into the same internet activist Clintonite constituency as the Mad Vermonter. It's an easy transition, and Kerry's pro-war Congressional vote will keep the anti-war crowd away (as it will for Edwards). Clark will try to shore up his anti-war credentials, despite earlier evidence he waffled a bit, as the principal differentiator between him and Kerry. Clark comes in 2nd in NH.

Dean takes 3rd in NH by default. Poor sap - spent all that time and money, and it all washes out in the span of two weeks. The guy is a good mouthpiece for the disgruntled Democrats - everybody likes to vent every now and then - but he refuses to chill. But it's still a good tool to inspire voter turnout. Angry people are more likely to actually do something.

Edwards a very strong, very close 4th in NH, possibly even 3rd. Why? Because regardless of what they may think about the corn-sucking Iowans, NH voters got the message they need to think about who can beat Dubya. Edwards' message and abstention from old-style attack politics will pay dividends.

Kucinich waits until SC to withdraw, where his endorsement of Edwards will pay off the most. This should secure the Green vote for Edwards throughout the remainder of the primary process.

Sharpton sticks with it throughout the South. I don't know if he'll ever formally withdraw - he might just stop showing up. However, I guarantee several rousing stump speeches in the Deep South will make headlines. If nothing else, he will continue to hammer Dean on minorities, further decreasing the Mad Vermonter's electability.

It will come down to Kerry/Edwards voters vs. Clark voters.

Clark's pluses are his outsider status, his antiwar stance, Southern origins, and military record. But his lack of liberal credentials will make it hard for him to stay on message. He is too vulnerable to the vicious mudslinging Karl Rove is sure to employ in the general election.

Kerry boasts the war record, the Democratic credentials, and the experience. Undeniably a good choice for President. But man, what a stiff. His pro-war vote on Iraq will hurt, as will his lack of appeal in the South (no charisma, patrician heritage, etc.).

Edwards, defying all conventional wisdom, takes the Democratic nomination. He's been consistently vocal on anti-war, so people will willfully overlook his pro-war Senate vote. If Dubya takes potshots about his level of experience, all he has to say is "Governor of Texas?". Plus a savvy choice of running mate (your guess is as good as mine, but definitely someone to offset security concerns - Bill Richardson was a good guess, or Max Cleland).

There is absolutely no comparison between John Edwards in a general election and George W. Bush. Put them both on a stage and ask them questions on TV? Puh-leaze. Edwards was a trial lawyer for heaven's sake. No contest. I guarantee there would be JFK comparisons, too - young, photogenic, a visionary, positive message, but without the elitist New Englander baggage. This election will not turn on Dems stealing Pub votes, or Pubs stealing Dem votes. It will be who can get more of their 50% of the electorate to the polls on Tuesday. Edwards by 5-8% margin, all attributable to minority turnout and an epiphany among socially conservative dirt-poor Southern whites that the Bush family is actually a bunch of fat cats with a summer compound in Maine.

puddleglum
01-20-2004, 12:20 PM
Let me add to the wishful thinking by adding that Dean is not is as bad a shape as some people think. His concession speech will probably hurt him more than the third place finish. However, he has the most money and has shown the willingness to go negative effectively. He thought his opposition in Iowa was Gephardt so he unloaded on Gephardt and knocked him down to 11%. It may have cost him some votes in Iowa but one of his opponents is now gone. He achieved one of his goals in knocking out Gephardt. Gephardt's union supporters are most likely to head towards Dean since he has courted them the most. Kerry and Edwards will not be able to stay above the fray if Dean starts attacking them and there is plenty of material. Both Kerry and Edwards were pro-war, and Edwards helped write the Patriot act. Clark will now be on hand to split the Kerry veteran vote and Lieberman will be around to split the Edwards moderate vote. Money is more important outside of Iowa and New Hampshire and Dean still has the most. Dean has shot himself in the foot so many times he is about to run out of toes, but don't write him off yet. He was the frontrunner for a reason and most of those reasons still stand.

John Mace
01-20-2004, 12:36 PM
CtG wrote:
John Mace—I disagree that the media reporting about someone is necessarily a boost. Remember all the negative press Al Gore got, compared to the greater amount of positive coverage that George W. Bush got? Also, it seems the media are rejoicing too much in Dean's poor showing in Iowa. This adds up. I wonder when they're going to start claiming that "angry Howard Dean" invented the internet? Anyway, Osama bin Laden got lots of reporting done on him, too. Very little of it was positive.

You could be right, but I think you're missing the point about the press coverage. You have to look at the target audience. In Dean's case, it isn't the Pubs who like Bush that he's after, but the Dems who are angry. In ObL's case, he isn't courting Westerners. He's trying to drum up suport from Arabs and Muslims, and he's been pretty successful. Perhaps you remember the dancing in the street in some Arab/Muslim citites post-9/11. "Bad press" didn't hinder that.

Beagle
01-20-2004, 12:44 PM
If I were to honestly handicap the Democratic presidential race so far I would place Hillary Clinton far above the whole pack. Her strategy of going to visit the troops during Thanksgiving and stealthily going right of Bush on the war gave her some traction with more mainstream Americans. In part because Bush went to Baghdad, not her planning, few people are aware that she is the only Democrat with a reasonable position on the war (Lieberman, the invisible man, excepted).

Hillary voted for the war. She supported funding it. She suggested we might need more troops and a flexible date for pulling out. She was right. I have no idea if she is sincere, or just playing smart politics. Either way, she would be my pick to either be POTUS in 2008. Or [longshot], she might come in to "save the Democrats from themselves" at the convention. That's far less likely with Dean out of the picture.

OTOH, Dean really isn't out of the picture. Last night it struck me how few actual caucus votes had been counted, while political pundits like Scarborough and Matthews competed to find greater and deeper meaning in the thousand old white farmers that had voted so far. Not to say that Iowans don't represent the United States. They do, but they don't. The hype surrounding the early voting is a bit out of proportion if you consider the fact that my subdivision has several thousand people in it. California, NY, Texas, and Florida -- last I checked -- along with several other big states will decide who wins what both at the primary and general election level.

As noted by others, the Iowa caucus can benefit a candidate, kill off lesser candidates, or hurt a candidate (like Dean). OTOH, Dean has organization, far more support among urban types, and will be a factor throughout the race. He's running a "50 state campaign", as they say. So, in a nutshell, unless everyone decides to follow the Iowans like lemmings, not much has really happened so far.

Edwards has always been dangerous. Like a good attorney, which he was, he is capable of discussing his issues the way he wants to for a long time. He does "connect with the people" better -- somewhat. It's obvious he has seen the inside of a grocery store within the last decade (to actually buy groceries). He's young, engaging when he allows himself to go off script, and energetic. Most importantly, he has that genteel southern accent that is necessary for any Democrat to win the White House in modern times. Prove me wrong.

In my opinion, it's Hillary, Edwards, Kerry, Clark/Dean (tie). That'd the descending order of the D candidate that has the best chance to win the general election -- were it held today. Which it isn't. Good thing. If it were, only Hillary would have any chance whatsoever.

pantom
01-20-2004, 12:50 PM
Moving forward a bit to the general election, I have to second kwildcat and say that the biggest positive factor for the Dems in this is the fact that the turnout in Iowa was something like double what it was in 2000, and was, I think, a record. This shows an energized base for whoever gets the nomination. That single fact, more than anything else, should make Rove sweat.

treis
01-20-2004, 02:43 PM
Video and Text of speech (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/19/politics/campaigns/20VIDEO-TEXT.html) (Requires free registration Real player format, sorry :( )

Dean doesn't sound nuts (minus the little growl) in that speech hes just rallying the troops.

John Mace
01-20-2004, 03:34 PM
Video and Text of speech (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/19/politics/campaigns/20VIDEO-TEXT.html) (Requires free registration Real player format, sorry :( )

Dean doesn't sound nuts (minus the little growl) in that speech hes just rallying the troops.

Apparently, a lot of your fellow Dopers don't think so. (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=235801)

Cervaise
01-20-2004, 04:05 PM
I take a somewhat dim view of the "horse race" mentality which which the early primaries are viewed and reported. Too many things can change in the early stages. As far as I'm concerned, the picture won't be shaping up until Super Tuesday. Until then, I just observe and don't opine.

However, I will admit to fascination with Edwards's emergence. If he manages to score the top slot at the convention (which is a long shot, but bear with me), do you realize that he will be the first nominee who officially announced his candidacy on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart? Am I the only one who finds this simply beyond hilarious? I can see Jon rubbing his eyes and saying WHA-AAA-AA? now...

RexDart
01-20-2004, 05:02 PM
I liked Edwards' speech about taxes. Instead of talking about getting rid of tax cuts, he talked about getting rid of tax loopholes. Which makes sense - the very wealthy have always made great use of tax loopholes, and it was sort of understood, though not explicitly said, that their higher tax rates were a counter to their loopholes. Now that they have cut their tax rates, its time to get rid of the loopholes too.


What I heard him talking about was taxing all wealth gains equally, rather than taxing wages/salary at a different rate than capital gains. In essense, the taxation theory would be to take the person's net value at the end of the year and compare it to his net value at the beginning of the year, and tax the difference as income regardless of the source.

The Tax Reform Act of 1987 had eliminated the disparity, and was widely talked about as a remedy for "loopholes", but that's basically what it was. In the 1990's, separating the two became popular again, because the middle-class was actually seeing alot of its income in the form of capital gains. Thus we returned to classifying those sources of wealth differently.

If we're going to tax capital gains the same as wages, we're going to need to keep low rates, because capital gains taxes really tend to discourage investment and retard economic growth.

That said, I have no principled objections to that theory of taxation (though I'd prefer no wealth/income tax at all, if we're going to have one I don't particularly object to that method.) At least he isn't repeating Dean's foolishness of advocating a total repeal of the Bush cuts.

BTW, I have a word for these demand-side Democrats: single people spend money too! If you think consumer spending drives the economy, then there is room in your little Keynesian world for a few tax cuts for the single and childless, you know. To hear them speak, you'd think only middle-class families were important. Maybe someone should remind them that gays and lesbians probably won't qualify for their family-oriented targeted cuts, perhaps that argument would resonate with at least the social liberals among them.

IzzyR
01-21-2004, 10:50 AM
I agree with those who say the decline of Dean bodes well for the Democratic Party. Although I think Dean's vulnerability was overstated by many, and he would likely have veered to the center after securing the nomination, I think the other major Democrats would be more formidable opponents, with the possible exception of Clark, who remains something of an unknown quantity.

I also don't see that Kerry is as uncharismatic as people seem to be suggesting. I've heard people compare him unfavorably to Al Gore, which is ridiculous from what I've heard of these two speaking - Kerry is light years ahead of Gore, and seems to be no more boring than any other politician. His main albatross is a general election would be his extensive and liberal voting record.

But I don't think the Iowa results are all bad for Bush. For one thing, Gephardt was said by many to be the Democrat that the Republicans feared the most, and he is eliminated. More significantly, the decline of Dean suggests - and I believe exit polls confirm - that opposition to the Iraq war has lost some of its its drive power even among Democratic primary voters, which would suggest even less concern among the independents and public at large. As this is apparently to be one of the main bases of Democratic opposition to Bush, it is not helpful to have it lose steam.

The other Democratic issue is the economy, but more air keeps getting let out of that bag every month. Unless the economy falters again, the Dems may be left with the old standby of class warfare and other shrill leftist attacks, which have little chance of winning them the election.

furt
01-21-2004, 11:11 AM
I said some of this in the other thread, but:

Dean will stick around. He will not win anywhere after (maybe NH), but he will continue to gather delegates and be a player.

Kerry will not blow away the field in NH, which will raise doubts, (since he is from Mass). He will tank in SC, and people will start comparing him to Gore.

Clark is over. He has Dean's insanity without Dean's energy. He's playing for veep.

Lieb looks like a guy waiting in line to board the Hindenburg.

Sharpton will be the Marion Barry of the 21st century.

Dennis Kucinich will someday be listed in a "Where are they now?" article. He will be working with a soup kitchen based in an Ashram. "I don't miss politics," he'll say.

Edwards will get stronger as the race goes on and will win the nom. If he can resist pressure to name a hard-left veep he's got a shot in the general. My actual prediction is that he does name someone as nondescript and generally inoffensive himself, but loses narrowly in an election that is not so much the lesser of two evils as it is the lesser of two lessers.

Pleonast
01-21-2004, 11:30 AM
Has anyone considered the the race in terms of fund-raising? If I remember correctly, Dean and Kerry have forgone federal matching funds, and the others have not. Does this mean that if Edwards wins the nomination he's going to be out-spent by a huge factor by Bush? How does this affect his nomination chances or ultimately his electability?

Spoke
01-21-2004, 12:45 PM
Marley23 wrote:

I believe the piece pointed out that Gore could have won the Presidential election regardless of Florida if he'd just swept New England.

That's not correct. The only New England state that didn't go for Gore was New Hampshire, and its 4 electoral votes didn't turn the tide.

On the other hand, Gore could have won without winning a single Southern state by taking either Ohio or Indiana.

Here's the interactive electoral map (http://www.johnedwards2004.com/map/) from John Edwards, so general election handicappers can play along at home.

Marley23
01-21-2004, 01:01 PM
The only New England state that didn't go for Gore was New Hampshire, and its 4 electoral votes didn't turn the tide.
New Hampshire actually would have made the difference. Bush won the electoral vote 271 to 266. If Gore wins New Hampshire, he wins 270 to 267. New Hampshire is usually Republican, so that may not be the strongest contention. But they did also mention Ohio and a couple of other places.

Spoke
01-21-2004, 01:17 PM
New Hampshire actually would have made the difference. Bush won the electoral vote 271 to 266. If Gore wins New Hampshire, he wins 270 to 267. New Hampshire is usually Republican, so that may not be the strongest contention. But they did also mention Ohio and a couple of other places.

I believe you are mistaken. According to the interactive electoral map (http://www.johnedwards2004.com/map/) at John Edwards's site, Bush had 278 electoral votes to 260 for Gore. New Hampshire wouldn't have made the difference.


Your general point still stands, though. Gore could have won the election without taking a single Southern state.

However, I think Democrats would be very foolish to turn their backs on the South. For one, demographics are shifting such that the South will have an increasing share of electoral votes with each new census.

Secondly, the sort of moderate Southern Democrat who can snatch a Southern state from Bush is also the sort of moderate Democrat who will have appeal in swing states like Ohio, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. Nominate a moderate Southern Democrat, and you are helping yourself in two ways. One, you are putting Southern states in play (NC for Edwards, AR for Clark, FL for both) and forcing Republicans to expend resources there, and two, you are putting forth the kind of moderate candidate who might help you flip moderate states like Ohio.

RTFirefly
01-21-2004, 01:48 PM
That's not correct. The only New England state that didn't go for Gore was New Hampshire, and its 4 electoral votes didn't turn the tide. Yes, it did. The 2000 electoral tally was Bush 271, Gore 266. Move NH's 4 votes from Bush to Gore (just needed some Nader voters to vote Gore instead), and we'd have had President Gore.
Here's the interactive electoral map (http://www.johnedwards2004.com/map/) from John Edwards, so general election handicappers can play along at home.Edwards' map uses the 2004 electoral votes, not the 2000 electoral votes. They're different.

Marley23
01-21-2004, 01:48 PM
You raise some very good points that I wouldn't argue with.

I think the map on the Edwards site is wrong. Every other website I looked at, like this one (http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/electoral_college/votes_2000.html), said it was 271 to 266. I think the error MIGHT be because the 2004 electoral map appears to be adjusted for new population distribution figures (note that 2004 also says "Republican 278, Democrat 260").

Marley23
01-21-2004, 01:50 PM
And because I previewed twice, checked an extra website and added a link, RTF beats me to the punch. :smack:

Spoke
01-21-2004, 01:58 PM
Ah. I see my error now.

I still think a "Screw the South" strategy is a really bad idea, though (both short-term and long-term).

Beagle
01-21-2004, 02:31 PM
Just look at the electoral map. The South is "rising" in terms of demographic importance. Florida and parts of the SW are growing so fast that a national politician ignores them at his or her peril. The fastest growing minority in the US (Hispanics) are mostly located in the South and SW also. That's only part of the story. More people relocate down than up. That's been true for decades.

Florida, as big as it is, and as much as it's grown, is continuing to experience an unprecedented housing boon. Which, given the history of housing booms in Florida, is pretty amazing. If you ever fly into Florida at night it's pretty hard not to notice that the entire East Coast of Florida is practically one big city the entire length of the state. Atlanta, pretty darn urban, is one half of Georgia.

"The South" has changed a great deal since the days of Foghorn Leghorn, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Killer Angels, and Deliverance.

Beagle
01-21-2004, 03:04 PM
Of course the most important factor (doh!) is that it's possible for either party to win in the South. NY and CA -- Rodan and Godzilla in electoral politics -- are already penciled in as Democratic wins before every election. The Republicans can (amazingly) ignore them consistently and still win a decent percentage of national elections. The South is filled with potential swing states and quite a few electoral votes.

Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Arizona (especially longterm) provide enough electoral votes individually that they probably deserve their own strategies. Pennsylvania and Ohio have always been battleground states of traditional importance. People should be used to the new regime by now. Florida and Texas are, um, the Mothra and King Ghidorah of electoral politics. OK, no more Japanese movie monsters. "Flyover country" -- seven here, six there -- has an impact on the elections also.

A Southern Strategy is a flawed concept to begin with. You need a half dozen strategies just for Miami. The first thing I would suggest is looking at the South state-by-state. Florida is split down the middle. That's true at the state level, in my city, and in my congressional district.

Left Hand of Dorkness
01-21-2004, 03:35 PM
Has anyone considered the the race in terms of fund-raising? If I remember correctly, Dean and Kerry have forgone federal matching funds, and the others have not. Does this mean that if Edwards wins the nomination he's going to be out-spent by a huge factor by Bush? How does this affect his nomination chances or ultimately his electability?

burundi got a fundraising call from a Dean worker last week; the worker said that Dean would be donating all his remaining funds to whoever won the Democratic nomination, assuming it wasn't him. Has anyone else heard of this? And do we expect that he'll not spend all donated money during the primary season?

Daniel

RTFirefly
01-21-2004, 03:48 PM
I still think a "Screw the South" strategy is a really bad idea, though (both short-term and long-term).The pros and cons of Dems playing for the South versus doing a Northeast/Midwest/West Coast strategy are longer and deeper than I fully understand, let alone can get into here.

But let's look at it this way: the Democratic base - the states they should win fairly easily in a close election - consists of most of the Northeast, most of the West Coast (and Hawaii, but in my analysis, I lump Hawaii in with the West Coast, and Alaska in with the Rocky Mountain states; it seems to be a good fit), and some of the Midwestern states.

The GOP base consists of most of the South, Great Plains, and Rocky Mountain (see previous parenthetical) states.

A number of Midwestern states are swing states, as are some states in each of the other regions. (NH, NM, FL come to mind).

A sensible strategy for either party is to try to make inroads on the swing states and the states that are sort of in the other party's regions of strength, but are somewhat shaky. (E.g. the GOP took WV in 2000, and has been working on PA long and hard.) But not at the expense of forgetting about one's own base. You want to find commonalities of interest between your base and voters in states you'd like to pull into it, and emphasize them; you don't want to re-create yourself to please the latter group. (E.g. voters in the South don't like being unable to find a job any more than voters in the Northeast; voters in the Northeast, while not being as intensely anti-tax as typical Southern voters, would still prefer to see their tax bill reduced.)

If you just go for your own base plus a few swing states, the problem is that the other party's base is safe, and they can play offense, focusing all their resources on the swing states and the shakier states in your base. That's a risky strategy short-term, and I agree that it's a long-run loser.

I think the Dems who've advocated playing for the South have made it sound like the goal was to pander to Southern interests, for the party and its candidate to be something they're not. I don't know if they actually intend to sound that way, but that's how I've read it. I think that's fed the 'northern strategy' reaction, which I've fallen into somewhat too in the past couple of years. But as you can see, I've rethought it a bit.