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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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Monday, February 23, 2004


Trippi on delegates for Dean

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 23, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
This weekend, a number of staffers from the Dean campaign visited Trippi's farm and discussed issues along with backbreaking labor (ATTN Joe Rospars: we want a photo of you hauling axe!). The fruit of that labor has yet to be revealed at Change For America blog, but Trippi did have a few words about the delegate campaign for Dean:

To elect a delegate in any Democratic nominating contest Howard Dean must receive 15% of the vote. This is called "threshold" -- failure to make the 15% threshold means that not one delegate will be elected from that Congressional District or State.

I have to say this -- My own guess is that without an active candidate, campaigning in a state -- Howard Dean will likely receive between 3% and 8% of the vote. So it is likely that those launching delegate campaigns for the Governor will have little or no chance of electing delegates. People who want to do this -- should do this -- but they need to understand the political reality and the odds against electing a single delegate (except of course for Vermont where the Governor should easily exceed threshold and has a very good chance of electing delegates).

And since there are some who may misconstrue my meaning. I am not speaking out against a delegate campaign. I just believe that someone has to state to the grassroots the realistic outcome of such an effort so that no one is disapponted or discouraged when the effort generates few if any delegates.

We have 254 days left to make real change in this country -- we have made change already, but what we all do in the next 254 days can make a huge difference in the near term and for future generations to continue to move the experiment of our democracy and our republic towards the restoration of government of the people, by the people and for the people.

My own feeling is that this does not matter. Voting for Dean is about more than just delegates - it's about the popular vote, about the symbolism of a single voter standing up for what they believe.

Let's face the reality. If Dean, who was better funded than Edwards, has a better grassroots base than Edwards, and placed ahead of Edwards in a majority of the primaries lost to Kerry, yet still could not win the nomination, then how will Edwards do so? Not on the strength of positive media coverage alone (that is a truth I choose to believe. I refuse to entertain the idea that the media can act alone as kingmaker. King-killer, yes, but maker, no).

At this point, Kerry has a lock on the nomination. Kerry will win the Democratic nomination without the support of a single Dean supporter if necessary. We are a minority. But a powerful one! And the best way to make sure that we remain powerful is to act in unison to assert that power.

Despite our best effprts, we may still not garner delegates for Dean. But we will try. And in the trying, we will achieve our goal of informing Kerry that what our movement stood for did not vanish overnight. It transcends Howard Dean.

UPDATE: As has been pointed out in comments here and at ChangeforAmerica, the 15% threshold is by precinct caucus or congressional district, NOT statewide as you might infer from Joe's post. So there's still a real chance to win delegates if we make a concerted effort! But as I pointed out, it's not delegates that matter as much as the simple collective tally of our individual votes themselves.


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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.