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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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Sunday, January 25, 2004


Americans Love An Underdog

posted by Dana at Sunday, January 25, 2004 permalink View blog reactions

Today, two days before the New Hampshire primary, every poll shows our campaign trailing that of Senator John Kerry.

The margin is anywhere from a few points to dozens. Some say we have momentum. Others say we've got nothing.

But know this.

Americans love the underdog. We don't root for Goliath, even when we're Goliath. We root for the scrappy little guy. We relish the comeback. It's in our nature.

Americans like to see the little guy come off the deck and hit the big guy in the chin. It's when everyone says you can't that Americans say you can.

It's always been that way. Especially in New Hampshire.

George W. Bush didn't win the New Hampshire primary. John McCain did. Bill Clinton didn't win it. Paul Tsongas did. Even crazy Pat Buchanan pulled a New Hampshire surprise.

So why the long faces? Our candidate is doing everything right, and has been since Thursday. Our people are working hard. Our support is committed. We have been running to the right of Kerry all week -- all we need to do is get his less-committed supporters to notice.

And even a strong second place puts us in decent shape heading South, where Kerry has less organization. Assuming, as some polls indicate, it's Wesley Clark who New Hampshire voters are about to throw under the bus, we have yet-another growth opportunity, because (as some of my friends have been pointing out), Clark's campaign has been doing some good things with software lately.

So repeat after me. There's no need to fear, Underdog is here.


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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.