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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Friday, July 11, 2003


Looking Ahead: what it takes to win

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, July 11, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Demosthenes is one of the Blogsphere's oldest voices of liberal sanity. His analyses are always thoughtul and prophetic. His latest post of what it will take to win the general election in 2004 is no exception:

I think the thing that people should keep in mind is that the successful candidate will need practically every advantage possible to take down the Bush machine. He'll have to have the Dean-esque volunteer machine. He'll have to have the party behind him, in a way that Gore never did with the DLC. He'll have to be able to handle, nay, control the media coverage of his campaign. He'll have to get Dem-leaning pundits out in force in order to support him (yes, this does mean the bloggers doing their part, as well as American Prospect/Washington Monthly/American Guardian types getting into the act and onto TV as much as possible). He'll need to have some sort of basic story for his campaign that makes him fit into an archetype that Americans can accept (like Bush's "folksy" bit).

Most importantly, he'll need to train every remaining resource he has on checking the Republican oppo research and responding in kind. (Yes, this is also a role for the bloggers. It's one of the things we're good at.)

Honestly, if even one of these things is ignored, Bush will likely get re-elected. Each would provide a hole through which the Republicans could fit a wedge that would crack the Democrats wide open, and no candidate so far has all of these covered. If Dean can make peace with the media, he could be close, but right now the Republicans are defining the Democratic race- witness Russert- and that's a huge, election losing problem.

This is not pessimism, it is realism. What makes Dean a powerful inspiration is his issues, but the Republicans have built a systematic political machine out of ignoring the issues and tilting the playing field (witness 2000). Victory in 2004 starts with the right candidate - Howard Dean - but it does not end there. And we all have to play our part.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.