Notes on the Atrocities
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Monday, January 05, 2004  

Gephardt's road to nomination

Gephardt is an uninpiring candidate and is therefore often overlooked. But the quintessential party insider has lots of friends in important places, not the least of which are manufacturing unions, with all their energy and money. He also has a little bit of good luck in the way the states line up early, which migh give him enough credibility to make it onto the cover of Time, giving himself some momentum. He can win the nomination, but he'll have to grind it out and hope for a lot of help (scandal or laxity) from Dean and Clark.

Job one is to win Iowa (45)--and win it convincingly. He can then shift all his attention to mini Tuesday and hit the streets and airwaves for two weeks. If he's successful, Missouri (74), North Dakota (14), and Oklahoma (40) are up for grabs, and he might do all right in South Carolina, too. If he wins Iowa and those states, his total will be 173 delegates. Assuming Dean doesn't win South Carolina (45), but does win Arizona (55), New Mexico (26), and Delaware (15), he'd only be at 118. If Gephardt comes out of mini Tuesday with a lead, he's got new life.

Even with this new life, he's a serious longshot. He has to hope that Clark comes to the rescue and knocks a few states away from Dean so that he can cobble together enough for a win. He'll do well in states with moderates and blue-collar types. The longer he can stay alive, the longer he can make the argument that he's an old guard Dem with the experience and muscle to beat Bush. The math is tough to pull off--if Gephardt wins the whole thing, he's going to have to upset Dean early and try to get a media push behind him. Still, he's a dogged fighter and has run a pretty good campaign thus far. If Dean and Clark have to get into street-fighting mode, Gephardt's got some moxie.

posted by Jeff | 1:03 PM |
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