August 31, 2003

News of the Nine

The NYT has a lengthy piece on the Democratic field today: Worried Democrats See Daunting '04 Hurdles

And hmm, where have we heard this before?

Associates of General Clark have said he has told them that he will probably join the race. But aides to most of the other candidates say he is too late to have a good shot, and they view him more as competing for a second spot on the ticket.

No doubt they say that because they are scared--or so some will argue. I will concede that there is no doubt that they would prefer to have no more candidates in this already crowded field.

However, it is noteworthy that while a lot of top Democrats are publically proclaiming their worry about who their nominee will be, and you don't see them trying to draft Clark. This is telling.

And, I think that there is something to this:

One prominent Democrat said that while Mr. Bush was "eminently beatable," the Democratic nominating process seemed nowhere near producing someone who could do the job. "The trouble in 2004 is not that Bush is going to be strong, but rather than we are going to be weak," this official said.

I honestly think that the strength of the President going into the campaign is up in the air--especially since the economy appears to be going in the right direction. Further, a year is a long time. Still, I do think that it is quite true that the Democratic primary will not produce the most electable candidate.

Posted by Steven Taylor at August 31, 2003 08:20 AM | TrackBack
Comments

It seems to me that we'll end up with a good, old fashioned fight at the convention. And I think this would be a good thing. There will be a huge amount of buzz around the whole thing, as it will be a spectacle not seen in recent times. Delegates fighting it out on the floor. Heated discussions in smoky rooms with worried looking aides pacing nervously outside.

Touch n' go. And then a big "Come to Jesus" moment at the end. Democrats united to kick GW's ass out of the white house.

It'll be great drama and pundits will eat it up because it'll make them rich off of commenting on the whole event.

And meanwhile, back in boring land, George will be stuck with an increasingly uglier occupation that simply has no good solution to it. 30 meters of razor wire in every direction. It's going to be painful no matter what we do now.

Having the Republican convention so closely tied to 9/11 in NYC is not going to work for them. Especially after the EPA fiasco regarding the WTC collapse.

So, what a great contrast:

1) A scrappy, populist democratic process filled with drama

2) A boring, predestined choice in command of a chaotic occupation built on a WMD lie with a soldier dying every other day.

It's like a Survivor episode.

May still lose, but it's at least going to be a darn good fight.

Posted by: JohnC at August 31, 2003 12:35 PM

As a political scientist, I think that a convention fight would be a ton of fun. However, I wouldn't bank on it. While I can see a scenario that leads to one, I wouldn't count on it. The system as currently set up really mitigates against it.

And while it is still early (the standard caveat), I am beginning to wonder how much of a race is really emerging. Dean has the energy and the money, Kerry looks like the walking wounded to me, and the rest are waaay in the background.

And even if Kerry, Gepahrdt or Lieberman start to surge and get a real fight going with Dean, the nominee almost certainly will be known by mid-March. You will only get a convention fight if three of the candidates can capture significant geographical edges in the races (i.e., one wins a lot of the South, another a lot of the North and another a lot of in the West, etc. And they would have to dominate those states.

More likely one or two with get momentum, others will drop out, money will flow to the top one or two and soon it will be just one.

Without a long, long discourse, it is my opinion as one who studies electoral dynamics (and in no way as a partisan) that there will be no convention fight.

Remember: the 2000 Rep primary process with Bush and McCain was supposedly a big fight, but it really was only truly competitive for a few weeks.

Posted by: Steven at August 31, 2003 01:52 PM

Just fantasizing. :)

Posted by: JohnC at September 1, 2003 03:58 PM
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