Friday, January 30, 2004

Dean led To Dem party rise

Pundits will be discussing for a long time the meaning of Dean, and will work to dissect what happened over the last six weeks. I've written about this some already (see Making Sense of Dean), but I think the easiest way to understand what has happened is that Dean, like many innovative insurgents, has had trouble turning his dynamic insurgency into a sustained and serious candidacy. But regardless of the outcome of the Democratic nomination, like many other insurgents he has created a vastly different political landscape and language.

The Dean insurgent phase - from June 2003 to Jan 2004 - also coincided with a remarkable rise of the Democratic Party. In our June poll from last year all Democrats trailed Bush by 16-20 points in direct matchups. Today, in the latest Newsweek poll, all Democrats are within the margin of error of Bush, and Kerry actually leads. As Dean the insurgent changed our Party the public responded to our new, stronger and better approach and we gained 15 points across the board for all candidates.

Dean?s full-throated indictment of Bush has become the industry standard; the tone, tenor and style of his Internet communications have been emulated by everyone in the Party and even Bush; and perhaps most importantly and lastingly, he has allowed the Party of the middle class to once again understand how to make the middle class a partner in our politics and not just consumers of our policies.

My fellow New Democrats, this is what we've been calling for for twenty years - a politics driven by the interests of the middle class. What many in our movement have not understood is what Trippi understood ? that to be true to our word, to be the true champions of the middle class, we would have to fundamentally change our politics, and make it more participatory, more open, more iterative, and more democratic.

el - Simon Rosenberg is considered a controversial New Democrat.

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