Friday, January 30, 2004
DEMS' RACE AIN'T OVER YET
Dick Morris - Only the liberal wing of the Democratic Party has reached a conclusion in its designation of Kerry as their finalist for the nomination. There is still a big opening for a moderate candidate such Edwards or Clark.
Remember, the one-two finishers in New Hampshire were favorite sons from next-door states: Massachusetts' Kerry and Vermont's Dean. It was quite natural that they'd draw two-thirds of the votes, especially considering the amount of time each has spent in that state. But it doesn't mean the nomination is over or that a liberal will necessarily win.
Democrats held two primaries on Tuesday in New Hampshire. In the liberal contest, Kerry bested Dean by a sufficient margin to endanger the ex- governor's candidacy. But the moderate primary was essentially a three-way tie —Edwards and Clark at 12 percent each, with Joe Lieberman only slightly behind at 9 percent.
The race will not remain a Kerry-Dean contest, but will evolve, as it always does, into one between one liberal (likely Kerry) and one moderate.
el - Perception is everything, Dean is not a liberal, Kerry is, but Dean gets the liberal vote, Kerry gets the moderate vote, Edwards, Clark, and Lieberman split different forms of the conservative vote, and Kucinich and Sharpton get the very liberal vote. Edwards is moderate-conservative populist, Clark is centrist-authority figure and Lieberman is conservative social issues and foreign affairs and liberal all other issues.
Now that Kerry is alone at the top as the frontrunner, he'll start getting the bulk of the criticism and media scrutiny. As he comes to be seen as the reincarnation of Ted Kennedy and Mike Dukakis (he and Kennedy share Bob Shrum as their common media man), the center will grope for an alternative. Then the process will really get under way.
Because of the truncated nature of this year's political calendar, it will all happen quickly. But stay tuned, it will happen.
el - Dean's message should be he is the candidate who is not the typical politician and who tells the truth.