Archive for January 19th, 2004

Open media for an open political process: involvement is just the start

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In Iowa, the turnout of citizens ages 17 to 30 was at least twice what it has been in the past. The Dean campaign invested heavily in creating the excitement and hope that led to that turnout. Interestingly, this turnout, this change in peoples’ sense of identity–from watcher to change agent–then apparently became a platform for Kerry and Edwards. That is, we helped folks get organized and develop a sense that we own our country. Having developed that sense of empowerment, folks felt empowered to make a personal choice–and not necessarily to vote for the candidate who helped create the situation within which they realized their own power. Hmmmm.

Well, success on one level. We will continue to invest in getting people into the process.

We think our candidate is also the best person to lead this process on an ongoing basis. Our candidate, we think, is the person most likely to keep the process open and inclusive, especially as president. Keeping the process open–or rather, continuing to open the process, is a big job.

Political involvement is the start. But negative messaging and image manipulation continues to be effective. So involvement can be coopted. We need to find ways to improve the information base that people draw on to make political decisions. This is one goal of Channel Dean, RSS feeds launched today. Open media for an open political process.

Reflection

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From the Iowa Caucus News site, a reflection

From Dean 2004  http://dean2004.blogspot.com/2004_01_18_…

The Lesson

Losing is hard. Losing the first race is harder. Losing when you thought you were going to win is hardest.
How did it happen? Some Tuesday morning theories:
1. Turnout. With 1601 of 1993 precincts reporting
attendance was 96476. The final number looks to be under 120,000. That’s not a very big number. Dean’s pre-caucus “hard count” was 40,000, that is, we expected to get at least 40,000 people into the caucuses. We got about 25,000.
2. Iowa Democrats bought the “Dean is not electable” meme. Sorry, they did. Kerry successfully spun his pro-war vote as candor, Edwards spun his good looks and positive outlook as winning, and the media relentlessly spun our passion as anger. Everything Dean tried in the last few days — the Carter visit, Judy’s visit to Davenport — came off as desperate.
3. Iowans like outsiders, to a point. The meme that went out about the orange-hatted “Perfect Storm” volunteers was that they were “Perfect Stormtroopers.” That’s harsh, mean, false, but many of the people who caucused believed it.
4. Iowa eliminates people, but it doesn’t select a nominee. A lot of Iowa Democrats wanted to make John Edwards and John Kerry viable. In the end I think our huge effort showed many Dean didn’t need them, and they rejected Dick Gephardt.
This week we must find a way to beat the “Dean can’t win” meme. The press is not going to let up. And, thanks to Iowa, Republicans will sleep well tonight, figuring the “circular firing squad” will destroy whoever the Democrats nominate.
All that said, remember that primaries are easier to participate in than caucuses. People have all day to vote. They can vote privately. We’ve got to get our people out, there and in the 7 states that vote a week later.
Just remember the stakes. Edwards and Clark have unilaterally disarmed against the Bush $200 million. Kerry is going to fight back with ketchup. This is the only campaign that can go toe-to-toe with the GOP through the summer.
That’s how you beat the electability meme, in my opinion. That’s the message we need to focus on, in my opinion. Democrats want to win, and we need to prove to them we can.

posted by Dana Blankenhorn

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