INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Trust The White Voter?

Dave Rogers and Syaffolee have taken some exception to my observations about the election. Dave points out that the voters in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire are not representative of the nation as a whole. Sya reminds us that voters can "behave in lemming-like fashion," and that perhaps I shouldn't be so quick to trust them.

Well, both make a good point, but I still say that the primaries in these small states serve an important function. The candidates are subject to up-close scrutiny that isn't possible elsewhere.

Democrats are looking for the guy they think can best stand up to Bush. That means much more to them this year than all other considerations. It cuts across all demographics. Kerry has gone on to bigger, more diverse states and showed the same ability to inspire confidence as he did in the smaller states--even though, admittedly, the bandwagon effect does play a role to some extent.

But what's wrong with that? One of the most important things a campaign is about is building momentum. It's one of the fundamental abilities you have to be able to demonstrate. Do we want somebody who's mediocre at building momentum going up against the Bush juggernaut?

I still say we can trust the folks in the early primaries--even though some of them, as Sya asserts, vote for mindless reasons--and even though most of them, as Dave points out, were white. The blacks in South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee turned out in respectable numbers for Kerry. I really doubt that they're all lemmings.

Like their white brethren, they like what they see-- a tough, stand-up guy who isn't going to take any shit from our soon-to-be-retired President.


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