Democrats & Liberals Archives

Dean's First Defeat?

Despite the spin analysts are going to see the results of the Moveon Presidential primary as the first defeat for Howard Dean.

Dean got almost 140,000 votes, a healthy plurality of 43.8%. But Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich scored 76,000, nearly 24%, and with John Kerry’s 14% and the single-digit results for others it was enough to deny Dean an endorsement he clearly wanted.

The big surprise was Kucinich, who doesn't worry about winning and throws more red meat to leftists than Pat Buchanan ever did to conservatives. I have personally talked to several people who I expected to support Dean and who instead said they strongly support Dennis the Menace (as he was once known).

You can spin this as good news. Dean has someone on his left. He has moved noticeably toward the center. He got a hefty plurality.

But he didn't "win," he didn't "meet expectations" (that he would win) and that is what the chattering classes will emphasize. "Dean hasn't locked up the liberals," will be the headline. (Not a bad headline for Dean fans, actually.) Dean has a lot more work to do, on his own.

Consider that a challenge. Dean's campaign still needs to prove it can scale beyond the gays, geeks and gawkers who have already thrown their support his way. He needs to scale in terms of technology, in terms of his appeal, and in terms of his attractiveness as a candidate.

Can he do it? Time will tell.

Posted by Danablankenhorn at June 27, 2003 1:13 PM