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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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Saturday, February 28, 2004


The Delegate Campaign

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, February 28, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
John Pettitt, one of the CFA core group, sharpens Joe Trippi's earlier argument about the supposed futility of the Dean Delegate campaign. Unlike Trippi who explicitly said he isn't discouraging the delegate campaign, Pettitt argues it's an absurd waste of time:

Trying to get more Dean delegates is a waste of effort. Partly because of the 15% issue (he'll be lucky to get 15% in any district) and more importantly because even if he does get more delegates it won't change anything. The convention doesn't decide anything important any more (apart from the nomination) and having additional delegates for a candidate who has dropped out of the race won't make a real difference.

where I disagree with John (and, it seems, with the general concensus over at CFA) is in the bold part above. Delegates for Dean WILL change politics, because delegates are the only currency of influence we have.

John Kerry is the presumptive nominee. Edwards is running at a momentum disadvantage and even if all Dean supporters gave their vote to him it would still not be enough for him to prevail. Kerry's delegate total is more than Dean's and Edwards' combined.

So our delegates, spent on Edwards, are already a waste. And frankly whether Edwards or Kerry is preferable is an open question - Kerry has already previewed strong lines of attack against Bush that Edwards can't seem to match, and Edwards is completely untested in the face of the media onslaught whereas Kerry has already weathered the storm of smear attacks from the RNC.

Dean delegates mean that Kerry recognizes us as a still-active force within politics. It means that to claim a leadership mandate he has to address our concerns. It means that DFA v2.0 has real influence because it can deliver on the only currency that matters - votes.

Without delegates, all we are left with is a bunch of blogs and farm retreats.

But it's one-sided to discuss whether or not to vote Dean. We should also be asking those who say it is futile, what's the alternative? That's exactly what I've done in tha CFA thread:

John P,

I am firmly commited to the Dean Delegate campaign. I would like to ask you, if you think that it is an "absurd waste" and an excercise in futile Naderesque purity, then what is the alternative you propose?

I vote in Texas. What is your advice for me to do if I decide that you're right about the delegate issue?


I am sure John will respond, and I look forward to seeing what he has to say.


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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.