July 02, 2003

Dwarf Report

Dean is on the move.

Almost overnight, Dean has redrawn the contours of the Democratic race, vaulting from dark-horse candidate to top tier on the strength of an extraordinary, Internet-based fundraising operation and the mobilization of party activists fed up with President Bush's policies and, it appears, the lack of a vigorous Democratic opposition in Washington.

This is all true, but there are two problems. 1) His current status is partially owing to the fact that he has been quite active, and therefore has gotten a lot of coverage, and there seems to be some interest in Dean amongst the media, and therefore that is where some of the attention is coming from. Plus, he qualifies as a story, especially if anything positive happens to him. And I will admit that he is more interesting than many of the other Nine.

I will also note his fund-raising success to date is a legit story, and he is doing better than I expected there.

Of course, all this leads to 2) Rising expectations can be dangerous.

And the most shocking thing about these numbers is that Kucinich raised about $1 million!

None of the major candidates besides Dean issued second-quarter fundraising numbers yesterday, although a Kerry adviser said the senator would raise close to $6 million and a Gephardt adviser said his candidate would raise $4 million to $5 million. Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio) raised about $1 million, according to his campaign, while former senator Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois raised about $150,000. An adviser to Al Sharpton said Sharpton had raised about $80,000.

And is Bush going to have a money edge, or what? Especially since the Dems are going to have to spend their money fighting each other:

Bush's campaign swamped all the Democrats, reporting yesterday that the president had raised $34.2 million in the second quarter, besting the $29.7 million he raised in the second quarter of 1999.

Source: Surge of Cash Puts Pressure on Insurgent Dean To Deliver Votes

Posted by Steven Taylor at July 2, 2003 06:43 AM | TrackBack

Activist Democrats seem eager to try and defy Downs' median voter theorem, but it seems to me that the gap between the Democratic "center" and the median voter is so great that Dean will basically have to run against himself to win the general election if he wins the primary.

Posted by: Matthew at July 2, 2003 07:30 AM

I would agree, on balance. There are actually some issues where Dean plays as center-ish, but not enough to compete with Bush. If Dean is nominated I think that there is a chance of a serious Bush landslide. Maybe not quite McGovern or Mondale, but still, pretty serious.

Posted by: Steven at July 2, 2003 07:47 AM

What amuses me is that Andrew Sullivan has raised more money in tips than Sharpton has raised so far!

Posted by: James Joyner at July 2, 2003 07:59 AM

Plus there are some problems with Downs' median voter theory dating back to Hoteling's initial model. While ice cream stands (candidates) might try to find the median spot on the beach (political spectrum), you can lose the extremes and not necessarily pick up more business (voters). The better explanation of what is going on can be found in Albert Hirschman's "Exit, Voice and Loyalty." I shall blog about this later (and why Dean is bad for the GOP). I have to shower now.

Posted by: John Lemon at July 2, 2003 08:20 AM

I skipped the shower. My comments are now in the Barrel of Fish.

Posted by: John Lemon at July 2, 2003 08:41 AM

I was hoping for a clean lemony-fresh post, rather than an un-showered one. Yeesh.

Posted by: Steven at July 2, 2003 08:54 AM

With his fundraising prowess Andrew Sullivan should toss his hat in for the nomination.

Posted by: Sean Hackbarth at July 3, 2003 05:47 PM
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