Saturday, January 31, 2004
A Long Democratic Campaign
Kos - Media failing its job. Good.
The media has one overriding job this campaign season -- to whittle the field. For several decades now, the mass media has had the power to drive candidates out of the race by simply ignoring them, by pulling coverage and by showering attention on the perceived front-runners.
After Iowa, with Gephardt out, everything was going according to plan. But NH proved different. A shocked media couldn't believe Lieberman was sticking around. And what about Clark? Shouldn't he be dropping out as well? And let's not get started with Dean! He screamed! And didn't you hear the rumors that he was broke? (Reality -- he has $5 million in the bank.)
Didn't these candidates realize how expensive it was to cover their campaigns? Why where they being so difficult?
The media is clearly ignoring Clark, yet he is still raising money, still campaigning hard, and still generating decent poll numbers. Dean is raising more money than ever before (as hard as it may be to believe). Edwards is still showing good numbers despite his NH falter.
None of these guys are going anywhere, any time soon. Even Lieberman has no incentive to bow out, with all that Joementum and all.
So where do we stand? Kerry is running ads in all the Feb 3 states. He's trying to do what Dean did in Iowa -- empty the bank to deliver the knockout blow. Kerry seems to be making the same gamble, that he can end everything next week. But all Edwards needs to stay in it is a SC victory, and he seems sure to grab it. Clark needs that Oklahoma victory, which he'll get. So he won't go anywhere.
And Dean is marshalling his resources for the Feb 7 and 8 caucuses. And given the Feb 3 spending of the other guys, Dean may very well have the upper hand in those contests. Victories here and there the rest of the month could keep each of the candidates well in the running, with no one near the necessary delegates for victory.
Ultimately, anything that takes power away from the mass media and its shameful coverage of the race (e.g. Dean's scream, Kerry's botox, etc) is a powerful victory for democracy.
el - I agree with this comment - Excellent post, Kos. I for one am very glad for this long primary season this year, practically a barnstorming tour of anti-Bush rhetoric. Two more months of this will be great.