Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...


Monday, January 05, 2004  

Another popular media meme is this notion of Dean's electability (or lack thereof). Ever more stridently, the anti-Dean crowd on both the near and far right (Lieberman, Safire, Rove) is trying to make this point. No one knows, of course. Polls are increasingly misleading, and because the electorate hasn't tuned into politics, it's all pure speculation. So in the absence of actual current data, let's turn to some older data we do have at hand.

George Bush won the presidency after getting a half million fewer votes than his opponent. Al Gore didn't win a single southern state, but also failed to win Ohio or New Hampshire (not to mention Florida, a southern state that's in play). Had he won either, he'd be president.

The Democratic candidate doesn't need to win the south, and doesn't need to perform much better than Al Gore, who stirred almost no interest in the electorate. George Bush's support has deepened, but so has his opposition. The country is polarized enough that once again the popular vote isn't relevant--it's likely to be another state-by-state battle. Will Dean win every state Gore won? Will he pick up Ohio or New Hampshire? You can speculate either way, but it's very hard to make the point that he's going to do a lot worse than Al did in the blue states. He's every bit as electable as Al Gore (as are most of the Democratic candidates), and if he runs even a marginally better campaign that Gore, he can win the White House. This "unelectable" nonsense is pure spin.

posted by Jeff | 8:30 AM |
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