Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Kucinich, Dean, and Online Candidate Popularity

When polls are taken online these days, often some of the second-string candidates do very well, much better than their coverage on the major news networks and in the mainstream press might lead you to believe.

For example, among the Democrats, Dennis Kucinich has a hard-core following, and he polls very well indeed. Among the Republicans, Ron Paul has not only a dedicated national following but quite the international following as well.

But it's probably not wise to say this online popularity will translate to votes come January and beyond.

I think the rock star status of the Dean campaign in late 2003 proved that online buzz does not translate to power on the ground or in the caucuses or voting booths, at least not yet, outside "hip" areas such as big cities near the east and west coasts. Iowa 2004 was the proof in the pudding. Dean's hot rise was only luke warm out on the prairie.

The current caucus/early primary system is a crock, I feel. It is arbitrary, no matter what the candidates say. Except for the problems of getting enough money and sleep at night, I can't imagine why the candidates defend anything but a national primary day.

And we are going the wrong way, because of the competition between states to get in on the action. The national primary day should be set much later in the spring, not in the deepest days of winter. I think the first Tuesday in May sounds good.

Set it then, and we wouldn't have to exhaust the electorate a year before the election.

But still, Kucinich, good as he has been in the past, has lately marginalized himself in other ways, making rather goofy and flighty statements to MoveOn.org webcast audiences, those curious about his young bride, and more. He could have played this as a "good guy from Ohio," but instead he's starting to look like a Leave It To Beaver Hollywood wannabee. Kucinich talks about diet for male enhancement; that's like Edwards shooting down SUVs. Good for a sound bite, not a meal.

Meanwhile, Clinton has learned that, until you've got the nomination, you've got to take on the role of candidate with the utmost in serious gravitas.


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