The Race To Represent The Donkeys, An Update
Back in December of 2002, I did my first evaluation of the Democratic field. Since then, things have really started to shake out. A lot of candidates (some of them were admittedly longshots to get in) have apparently decided not to run this time around. Their ranks include Wesley Clark, Hillary Clinton, Gray Davis, Dianne Feinstein, Al Gore, Gary Hart, & even John McCain.
Of the contenders who are left, Dennis Kucinich, Carol Moseley Braun, & Al Sharpton haven’t looked the least bit viable since the beginning. Two candidates, John Edwards and Bob Graham, both of whom looked like they might at least have had an outside chance to win, have not only dropped far out of the top tier, but have actually seen their poll numbers plunge to the point where their Senate seats could be vulnerable in 2004.
Of course, that leaves us with Howard Dean & three other guys =D The turning point for Dean was winning the Moveon.org PAC Primary. Since then, Dean’s campaign has been steadily surging while the other candidates have been floundering. The other candidates are already desperate to stop Dean’s momentum before it’s too late and they’ve been launching blistering attacks on him. Here a couple of samples of what I mean…
“A Dean nomination could again [mean] Democrats lose 49 out of 50 states.” — Mark Penn, Lieberman’s pollster
“This ‘security mom’ thing is real. Women are even more hawkish than men. Until you can convince the voters that you, too, can keep the country safe, you don’t get heard on the other stuff.” Can Dean beat Bush? “Absolutely impossible.” — Jim Jordan, John Kerry’s Campaign Manager
Those acidic attacks indicate that Kerry and Lieberman are VERY WORRIED about Dean building up too much momentum to be stopped. Of course, Kerry and Gephardt have been running listless campaigns that don’t seem to be resonating with the base. Lieberman has recently tacked hard to the right in an effort to capture the moderate Dems and put himself in position where he can win if he actually manages to make it out of the primary. However, Dean is currently the only candidate who seems to be generating any buzz or excitement among the Democratic base right now. Unfortunately for Dean (and the other candidates) the constant calls for Hillary or Gore to get into the race is making everyone else look like left-overs the party will have to settle for if they can’t get their top two candidates to run.
In any case, it’s still very early, but Dean’s campaign manager deserves a gold star and briefcase full of cash for the work he has done so far. Since I believe Dean would have the hardest time matching up against Bush out of the 4 top tier candidates, let’s hope he can keep on riding the wave all the way through the primaries.