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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:46 AM
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Dean, Driven by the Grass Roots
Bottom-Up Strategy May Turn Politics Upside Down

By Lois Romano
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 22, 2003; Page A01

By day, Jennifer Powers is a grant-writer for a school for the deaf, a Gen X'er who in past elections was like millions of others who vote but don't pay much attention to politics -- and certainly don't lift a finger to help any particular candidate.

That changed for Powers a few months ago, when the 32-year-old Philadelphian, driven by a newfound passion, switched her voter registration from independent to Democrat and became an unpaid operative for Howard Dean's presidential campaign in Pennsylvania. Today, Powers sits on a Philly4Dean ( steering committee she helped set up, overseeing grass-roots volunteers she helped recruit, and communicates online with a database of 2,000 prospective Dean supporters that she helped build.

She said she does this 30 to 40 hours a week after her day job and with only online direction from the Dean campaign -- and she is not alone.

"Did he simply unite the Bush haters or did he expand the base of the Democratic Party to something new and potentially potent? The jury is still out on that," said Richard Bond, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee. "If these are independent swing voters, soccer moms, who ebb between the two parties and decide elections, then that's a threatening development for Republicans."

Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi said that anecdotal evidence suggests Dean's supporters are a mixed bag of the party's liberal base, reinvigorated Democrats who had either dropped out of the process or were never engaged and political independents who supported Ross Perot in 1992 and favored Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2000. Trippi said he believes they will go to the polls for Dean.
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LuminousX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:53 AM
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1. Buy In
Did Dean just united the Bush haters? If that was all he did, that would still be a mighty task and would demonstrate how among the top tier candidates, he had good foresight.

I don't think he really did that much uniting. I do know that I was originally intrigued with him because he was speaking out against Bush at a time when most everyone else in the nation was kow-towing or trying to out-Bush Bush.

Beyond that, though, he represented a candidate who really seemed to understand the concept of enacting the will of the people. I don't see him as an idealogue, unwilling to alter his view of the world to conform to the facts. That is the Doctor's skill, to constantly be evaluating events and situations and constantly be seeking solutions. And the simpler the solution, the better it is.

Is Dean the epitomy of a good Democrat? No. Will Dean draw in more people to the political process? Yes. The question is, do these people have a seat at the Democratic table? I believe they do. These are the apolitical people who feel divorced from the democratic process.
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damnraddem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. I see much more of a mix among his supporters, ...
including party officials. Some of the latter are attracted precisely because he has reinvigorated the Party. The candidate, Dean or another, will benefit from that reinvigoration.
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liberalnurse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
2. Dean has a incrediable grassroots base.
I believe it has been grossly under-estimated. Those who have bonded early with Dean are not fly-by-night voters but empowered Americans. Dean has given them a responsibility in this election, the power to evoke change.
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msanger Donating Member (737 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. empowerment is the key
I think the republicans have been working to dis-empower Americans at least since nixon. Their goal has been to dis-spirit us, to make us give up hope, to get us to stop striving for a better America.

And I think they suceeded, up until the Iraq invasion. Many people had just given up on politics - it was too corrupt, too driven by big money, and too out of our hands.

Howard Dean and his campaign has reversed that trend. His supports are empowered, we realize that we actually can change things. We realize that we can actually take back America.

It isn't so much about Dean as it is about the people he has energized and empowered.

I don't think it matters who the Dem nominee is, as long as that nominee continues to empower Americans to take back their country. If the nominee tries to run a traditional "party headquarters will tell all the peons what to do" campaign, then I don't know what will happen.

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NWHarkness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
5. Uniting the Bush haters?
That would imply that those Democrats who support the other candidates do not loathe the illegitimate pretender, something we all know to be false.

I have been paying close attention to dean, without fully committing to supporting him. It looks to me like he is building a potent grass roots coalition that is going to pull in a lot of independents and people who have been politically disengaged.
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