washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dean: The Big Question

DR wants to urge readers once again to check out the Jonathan Cohn-Jonathan Chait debate on Dean’s electability in The New Republic online. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll shake your head in frustration at how Cohn (or Chait) just doesn’t get it. But you will be challenged intellectually by the arguments that are made. And, really, it all comes down to this big question: can Dean move to the center far enough in the general election to get the swing voters he’ll need to beat Bush? Cohn and Chait generally agree that today’s Dean is not electable and that he’d have to reinvent himself in some important ways if he did, in fact, get the nomination. They rightfully disregard the silly notion that he can run just as he is now and enough nonvoters will come out of woodwork (‘cause they dig his straight talk and fiery manner) to make up big deficits among existing swing voters.
So that’s the question. Can Dean reinvent himself? (Extra credit if yes answer to previous question: what would be the most effective way for him to do so?) This exam is open book and feel free to talk to your neighbors.