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Monday, February 09, 2004


Dean/Clark 04: a civil union

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 09, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
I do NOT neccessarily want Dean to quit the race if he loses Wisconsin. The reason is because Clark and Edwards are directly competing against each other to be the Southern anti-Kerry, but neither is immune to the steamroll effect of the voter ABB desperation than Dean has been thus far. Look at the upcoming races in TN and VA - polls show Kerry is leading in both states, and the Edwards and Clark camps are in direct competition to fight for 2nd place. Dean could have been a contender in VA, but has essentially abandoned his support there. And Dean could have tried to use Gore in TN to try and establish a delegate beachhead. But now it's just Edwards and Clark who are in the running against Kerry there, and Dean has zero momentum going into WI.

Both Edwards and Clark have a win, though Clark is weaker overall since his win in OK was a tight one and he trails Edwards in delegate count. Still, neither of them are anywhere close to Dean in delegates:
Kerry - 409

Dean - 174
Edwards - 116
Clark - 82

TN has 69 delegates tied to the primary, Virginia has 82. It's virtually certain that the lion's share in each case will go to Kerry. So if Edwards and Clark split the two states, it's still unlikely that they can get to seond place in delegate count. And both are running out of resources, not to mention facing seriousquestions about viability in the non-South.

What Dean has to do is look at the outcome of Feb 10th and see which candidate is weaker (probably Clark, who has already considered dropping out anyway). Then offer a VP slot to that candidate and start running as a joint ticket.

Dean/Clark or Dean/Edwards would be a true alternative to Kerry. It would give an immediate momentum boost going into Wisconsin, where the new joint ticket would have a full week to campaign. It would let the VP go negative on Kerry without fear of the Gephardt-Dean-Iowa effect. It would be a huge media story and would deftly solve the electability concerns. Plus it is simple math - you get two for one instead of Kerry/X (insert Special Favors here).

UPDATE: Slate has an analysis that makes much the same observations, but stops just short:

Right now, Edwards looks like the candidate most likely to survive and become Kerry's sacrificial lamb on March 2. Edwards hopes that Clark loses Tennessee on Tuesday and then bows out of the race, and that Dean quits after a loss in Wisconsin a week later. That would leave Edwards with two weeks before March 2—and the intervening Hawaii, Idaho, and Utah contests—to convince voters that he has a better chance of beating President Bush in November than Kerry does.

Suellentrop doesn't extend the argument to its logical conclusion. Suppose Clark does fold, but instead joins up with Dean. It's interesting that the idea of a running mate as a political lifeblood injection doesn't seem to occur to any of the big-name media analysts...

UPDATE2: looks like the Clark people are having similar thoughts, though of course they want their guy at the top of the ticket. It's bizarre to see Clarkies writing off Dean and expressing "sadness" at our supposed loss, but Dean has double the delegates, isn't competing with Edwards for voters, and remains flush with cash (and no spending limits). Reality check, Clark dudes - we can win jointly or lose apart. But Clark/Dean isn't one of the choices.


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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.