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My neurons at work, for all the Web to see


Tuesday, January 20, 2004


Remember that this was a caucus, not a primary. Although primaries skew toward loyal voters, caucuses, because of the work and time commitment involved, tend to attract the most loyal of loyal party voters. There seems to be a calculus among Democrats (including myself) that the party should nominate the most "electable" candidate. I am not sure that Kerry is the most electable, but remember that Iowa is not a youth magnet. In that state, the electorate, and the population, tends to skew older.

And because of the older demographic, you have a big slice of people who are not all that experienced with the Internet -- except, perhaps, to send e-mail to their grandchildren.

It isn't over, but I cannot ignore the prognostications and declarations of people like Howard Fineman who thinks the Dean Internet boom may have peaked -- 450,000 out of the chute, now slowing down over the last few months to 600,000 or so. It may not be that "only 18,000 of" Dean's Iowa supporters turned out ... in fact, in terms of loyal voters, that may be all he has there.

I am not saying I am in lockstep with him, but Fineman is right far more often than wrong. He knows a lot more about retail politics on the ground than polemicists like Farber, for instance. And, as I have reported in several articles, when you take a look at Internet polls on objective news sites, you still see a conservative-libertarian streak. Less so as the Internet has democratized, but still discernible.

Older voters tend to be impressed by strength, and experience. Kerry is a vet, and has both. Dean may have been seen as intemperate, not electable, and perhaps a bit too socially liberal (I said "socially," not economically). I mean, your Iowa voter is meat and potatoes, not Ben & Jerry's. Yes, I know Dean is neither, but that's the spin.

Edwards? The charm. I didn't think he would finish so strong. But I just don't see him as the nominee.

Yes, of course Dean can win the nomination, but last night's performance elicits uncertainty. Kerry-Graham? Possible.