Monday, January 26, 2004
Is He Promising Us a Huge Settlement If He Wins?
I'm trying to figure out the mystery that is the John Edwards campaign. Where the hell did this guy come from? People talk about that he's good looking. Is he that good looking? Did this suddenly become "Win a Date with John Edwards"?
What is equally perplexing is the implosion of the Dean campaign. Some obvious negatives: two hugely unflattering profiles 10 days before the Iowa vote; the tyranny of late night television and 24-hr cable news; and, poor PR work.
However, something more important may be at work, if we look back at recent third party candidates. In 2000, Nader seemed to be holding steady at 8% nationwide, but then he suddenly dropped right before the election to about 2-3%. Similar things happened with Perot in '92 and '96. While the '92 decline was due in part to his dropping in and out of the race, they're both instructive because they show a similar pattern of dropoff before the election. And, it's not a purely Democratic thing. Why would the Republicans think Bob Dole would be a good choice to face Clinton? I'm not sure how to factor in McCain and Buchanan--the former is largely due to the Rove factor in S.C., the latter is due in part to financing--but I'm not willing to chalk it up to simple campaigning.
The inference I draw is that a significant chunk of the American electorate is voting out of fear. Fear of what, I'm not sure. Fear of a candidate that they don't want to win ultimately winning. Fear that they will pick somebody who is unelectable. Fear that they are doing the wrong thing. Fear that they won't be in the majority. Whatever the fear is, as people analyze the strength of candidates infuture campaigns, they're going to need a huge depreciation allowance. It's really quite depressing. If only there were a Patton around to stomp in and smack them around. Perhaps that was the role Dean was auditioning for in Iowa.
Update: While flipping through Baseball Musings, I followed a few links to this blog: Marginal Revolution, which links to another article that is related to this very topic.
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