Notes on the Atrocities
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Monday, January 05, 2004  

Dean's road to nomination

Dean is in the catbird's seat. He's got the most money, the most on-street and on-line organization, and the most media attention. This puts him in the position of being the only candidate who can win swiftly. If he wins Iowa (45), stomps everyone in New Hampshire (22), and surprises folks on mini Tuesday, he can have a mammoth lead by early February. All of this will confirm his front-runner status and lead him to quick nomination. Dems who believe Dean is going to emerge in any case should hope for this script--it leaves him with more money and fewer scars as he readies himself for Bush.

The second scenario is winning by grinding out strategic victories along the way to March. Not only is Dean positioned well generally, but the primaries give him a huge advantage, too. Most of New England, California (370) and New York (236) are in the first phase, so if it goes to a grinder campaign, Dean's states come first. Clark will see only four Southern states before March 9.

Dean has run a magnificent campaign, and if all goes to plan, the primaries will be his coronation. Usually primaries are brutal for challengers because they have to win two elections--a long, violent process. If Dean can put together a quick victory, though, he puts himself in a pretty good position--he'll then control the news cycles and can start turning his attention to Bush. For Dean, adversity might well turn the remaining negatives he has (his "anger" and "anti-Bush" campaign) into positives. He can begin to look presidential while highlighting his positive, forward-looking positions. Dean ain't won it all yet, but he looks pretty good.

posted by Jeff | 1:25 PM |
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