Democrats & Liberals Archives

Electabilty: Who is. Who isn't. Who's that?

The battle for the Democratic presidential nomination is upon us, and so far we have nine candidates to examine. There exists the potential for at least one or two more late entrants (Joe Biden, Wesley Clark) which would bring the total up to a possible eleven. That is an awful lot of names and faces for the public to remember, but there is some good news. At least three of the current crop of candidates definitely won’t make it out of the first couple of primaries. Dennis Kucinich, Carol Mosely-Braun, and Reverend Al Sharpton don’t seem to possess the necessary qualities to make any of them serious contenders at this point.

Democrats face a tough problem with this election. Unless the party can find a candidate that can take firm stands on issues that matter to the electorate, Mr. Bush will have four more years in office. Candidates need to separate themselves from the pack, and more importantly, separate themselves from the opposition party. I'm not advocating socialists in office, but in order to win the next presidential election, I think the Democratic candidate will have to be demonstrably liberal on social issues, a staunch federalist, and a civil rights supporter. They will have to get out and speak to the nation, and explain why these are good things to be.

As to the individual candidates, Kerry and Dean are the only two that I think qualify as liberal Democrats. Gephardt, though he may win in Iowa, has frankly been in Washington too long to win an election. Lieberman is basically a conservative who calls himself a Democrat. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as there are certainly a fair number of registered Democrat voters who fall into the same category, so he may win some primaries, but in an incumbent election, I don't think he will be able to carry the day. Graham doesn't have a core issue, and his campaign skills are rusty. He also falls victim to the wolf in sheep's clothing problem. He is really a centrist, which plays well with the voters in Florida, but again, not well with the nation as a whole. Edwards is young, and charismatic, but seems to be focused on organized labor, which is a fairly small number of voters anymore. ( on the order of 9%)

On the whole, it is an interesting field. Who will win in the primaries?
What deciding issues will come forward? Who will surprise us?

Some interesting links:
This USNews summary of the first debate in May provides a good first look at how the candidates will probably shake out.
Global Stewards candidate scorecards, a report on how individual candidates vote/behave on some of the issues.

Posted by crutan at June 13, 2003 3:15 PM