January 14, 2016

THE HARD ROAD FROM NO TO YES:

Making the Turn from Insurgent to Establishment (Nancy LeTourneau, 1/14/16, Washington Monthly)

[I]t is fascinating to listen to Sam Stein's podcast with the 2004 insurgent candidate Howard Dean. [...]

Here's what Dean said:

I was an insurgent candidate who couldn't make the turn to become an establishment candidate.

People don't want an insurgent as president. They love insurgents because they are always mad at the government. But at the end of the day, if you are going to be president, you've got to look like one and I never quite could bring myself to do that.

They [his supporters] were deeply invested in having somebody who wasn't going to be putting up any with crap from the establishment. And having been a governor for six terms, I knew very well that the governor has to put up with crap from everybody. Your job is to make things work and that means that you can't exclude people, whether you like them or not...

It's fun for voters to vent in meaningless primaries, where they can cast protest votes.  But eventually you have to offer them a reason to vote for you.  Mr. Dean governed VT so conservatively that there was nothing for him to offer Democrats.  Likewise, the Republican protest candidates have nothing to run on, having never done anything.

Posted by at January 14, 2016 3:43 PM

  

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