January 31, 2005


It looks like Howard Dean has wrapped up a victory in the race for DNC chair. When the members of the Association of State Democratic Chairs voted today, Dean won an overwhelming majority of their votes, as the AP reported this afternoon: the former Vermont governor got 56 votes to 21 for Donnie Fowler, with the party establishment's preferred candidate, ex-Congressman Marty Frost of Texas, trailing badly with just five votes. Former Denver mayor Wellington Webb has just dropped out to endorse Dean, and other candidates may well drop out well before the formal February 12 DNC vote.

Frost's only hope--an affirmative nod from organized labor--is now dashed, as the D.C. labor bureaucrats aren't going to risk creating bad relations with Dean now that he appears to have the job sewed up (and in any case, some of the labor leaders--notably SEIU's Andy Stern and AFSCME's Gerry McEntee--are privately for Dean anyway, because Dean is so popular with their memberships).

Dean's victory is one in the eye for the party elite and its fat-cats--Dean can't be controlled by them, and they're frightened by the way in which his presidential campaign went around the traditional party fundraising fat-cat base to raise $50 million-plus, the lion's share of it from the grassroots and smaller donors by internet.

Will Dean make much of a difference as DNC chair? The way he squandered all that money he raised, only to win just his home state, isn't encouraging in management terms. Worse, the scuttlebutt in Washington among those who've talked to Dean and his people is that he intends to keep on the DNC staff assembled by Terry "the bagman" McAuliffe, the outgoing DNC chair. That's deplored by party technicians who don't consider the McAuliffe staff up to snuff.

In any case, it will take more than a technical fix to right what's wrong with the national Democrats. A recent poll showed a 12-point drop in the party's favorability rating among Democrats since the election--reflecting the disillusionment of the party base with the party elites' centrist drift. In their weekly conference call, the mayvens who run the Democratic 527 extra-party groups are--our spies tell us--talking about planning for taking back state legislatures so they, and not the Republicans, will control the gerrymandering after the next census. There's little of "the vision thing' in such technocratic strategizing. Will Dean, who has ever proclaimed himself a "centrist" with a "healthy distrust' of the left as well as the right, be the man to steer the party to a new, moblizing course and message? I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by Direland at 04:45 PM | Permalink


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Jay, mathematically speaking, and from the perspective of voter education, IRV is dumb.

How do you explain to voters that ranking a candidate #1 may cause them to lose?

The mathematics of voting are from Social Choice theory, a part of Game Theory. There is no perfect election system (Arrow's Theorem) but IRV is just dumb (non-monotonic, only one step up from our current system).


Posted by: Josh Narins | Feb 3, 2005 4:58:56 PM

Go NonPlussed!

Posted by: Josh Narins | Feb 3, 2005 4:56:33 PM

To Salvatore Marelli: You are sooo wrong. There is no difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. They are one in the same, part of the same duopoly. IRV will solve the problem and give people a choice. Check out www.gp.org and look for yourself.....

Posted by: Jay | Feb 1, 2005 4:56:00 PM

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