Blog4kerry - He's the Real Deal

A quote from former Senator Warren B. Rudman, Republican of New Hampshire sums it up, "I think he's a moderate Democrat — very liberal on social policy and reasonably conservative on foreign policy and defense matters."

Friday, September 12, 2003

Sen. Kerry ran early as a centralist appealing as the candidate who could beat George Bush. Great strategy, except the war literally “blew up” what would have been an excellent strategy for a frontrunner. Even though Sen. Kerry was right on the war, Dean and now Clark are going to gather large amounts of energy from mad activists group. Regardless of how misplaced these activists are, I doubt at this time we will win them before the primary. The good part is that they are still only a small part of the Democratic coalition. Unfortunately, I believe many establishment Democrats are thinking this is the guy who can generate enough excitement to beat Bush. This of course is the real worry.

I’ll give Dean credit. Because of the war, I think he actually lucked into creating a new Democratic constituency that has media savvy and money. Before Dean’s campaign many of these younger voters (18-30) were either not engaged in politics, independent swing voters, or just election-day Democrats for social issues. Now, they feel empowered. Potentially, these techies might become in the future a “recognized” Democratic voting bloc like African-Americans, labor, Hispanics, women’s rights, environmentalists, etc. Even though Dean has not been able to reach out to ANY traditional constituency of the Democratic party, the establishment is starting to believe he is showing the “movement” and “excitement” needed to beat Bush. Funny, since NO traditional group supports him fully other than the small gay and lesbian contingent.

This race has become extremely fractionalized. Clark’s entry into the race will further break down the traditional constituencies. Dean should be most affected because Clark is vying for the same voters. I think Clark can cannibalize a good percentage of Dean’s voters.

So how does Sen. Kerry find his voice? He is never going to be able to show the “movement” or “excitement” that the establishment wants to see unless he leaves the generalist approach and openly courts one of the Democratic establishment factions. Swing voters will not get out to leaflet or raise money for you. If he could lockup one such group in the next couple of months, we go into a primary season with more than a fighting chance. While the veteran outreach has been successful (and needed) you wonder how many of the Senator’s core constituencies were neglected. What is Sen. Kerry’s core constituency that should be singing his praises? The Environmentalists! Clark is unknown on the issue, Dean is poor on the issue, Edwards is iffy, Gephart is iffy also.

Sen. Kerry is simply a visionary on environmental issues. I don’t know how many environmentalists are in Iowa, but I’ll bet there is a good percentage in NH. It is critical at this time to start locking in the energy and grassroots experience of the environmentalists.
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