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Thursday, March 04, 2004

Wanna Know Why Kerry Won?

Of course, you and I both know that Kerry won because he was chosen by The Powers. However, if you'd like a less cynical (read: less realistic :) ) view of why Kerry won, here's a well written article by uberlefty Scott Galindez from uberleft site Truthout.org. I just read it for the articles...

Why John Kerry is Winning
By Scott Galindez
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Thursday 04 March 2004

Supporters of Dennis Kucinich and Howard Dean are not going to be happy with what I am about to say.

Two years ago, I attended Dennis Kucinich's "Prayer for America" speech, and was inspired. I was a believer, and still believe in the goals of the Kucinich campaign.

Late last year, I attended a meeting titled "From Mouse pads to Shoe Leather" sponsored by the Dean Campaign. A straight talking campaign manager named Joe Trippi convinced me that Howard Dean had the best chance to beat George Bush. The enthusiasm of the Deaniacs was very exciting, and inspiring. Dean had the right message, but was the wrong messenger. He tapped into the anger that Democratic Party activists had at George Bush, but did not convince rank and file Democrats that he was the candidate who could beat Bush.

While activists want a President who is going to shake things up, most voters are looking for a levelheaded candidate, someone they count on to lead the country through crisis. A candidate who makes them feel safe.

Most people had written the Kerry Campaign off, but the experienced staff did not panic. They knew that most voters had not made up their minds; they knew that most voters were looking for a candidate who could A- Beat Bush and B-make them feel secure that the country would be in steady hands.

John Edwards and John Kerry stayed on message, while Howard Dean made too many mistakes at the wrong times. Activists forgave Dean's blunders, but the rank and file voters didn't see the qualities they were looking for in a President. They agreed with his message, but many worried that he was a loose cannon.

Kucinich stayed on message, but did not have the organization necessary to get that message out. Most Kucinich supporters blame the media, but Howard Dean was unknown and created a story that they could not ignore.

I wish the media did some things differently, but John Kerry should not be blamed for the media overplaying the scream speech, or for not covering Kucinich and Sharpton enough. Media reform is an issue that must be pursued, but punishing the person who benefited is not fair.

Many activists agreed with Dean and Kucinich on the issues, but let's face it, most Americans don't vote on the issues the way activists do. Politics is a popularity contest; most voters vote based on image. John Edwards and John Kerry appealed to rank and file voters and the others didn't. In December, activists were focused on the campaign and they went for Dean, although the real front runner was "undecided". When January rolled around and rank and file voters tuned in, they voted for Kerry and Edwards.

I was in Iowa, and attended rallies for all the candidates. Gephardt's rallies were dominated by labor. Dean's events were full of Deaniacs from out of state wearing the orange hats. Kerry and Edwards rallies looked more diverse. They stuck to their message, and they won over the undecided. Another factor was the TV advertisements. John Kerry and John Edwards defined themselves in the Ads, while Dean and Gephardt destroyed each other with attack Ads. Kucinich ran an ad that slowly zoomed in on his face, saying something about the eyes you can trust. It was not the kind of Ad that gave you the impression that this is the guy I want to be President. The media cannot be blamed for that flawed strategy.

The bottom line is that John Kerry is winning because he is running the best campaign. In November, either John Kerry or George Bush will win the election. Like it or not, that is the choice we face.

Small editorial of this to come.

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