Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Kerry Mistake

Phil asked us to indicate three mistakes our candidate has made. Here is one of mine with regards to Kerry:
1) Abandoning John Edwards' "two Americas" stump speech which was popular in the Democratic primaries. Yet another report released today (link above) describes the plight of the "working poor" and working-class Americans. I think this is one of the strongest issues for Democrats, and could have resonance with at least two groups of voters Kerry needs to win: the base of the Dem. Party (blacks, women, unions) and with many independents who are experiencing any kind of economic hardship whether it's economic insecurity, lack of health care (or rising costs), etc. The "two Americas" theme nicely ties several issues together (they can even include the Iraq mess in this..."one America is forced to fight unnecessary wars through a backdoor draft, while the other America gets to opt out and send our kids into harms way"). This is where the Bush team has been much smarter than Kerry-Edwards: sounding the right themes and raising the issues which will mobilize their base. The Kerry campaign could learn a few lessons.


MWS said...

I'm a Kerry supporter and I agree that the Edwards stump speech is a good political strategy. The problem is that, in terms of policy, it makes no sense. The middle class is certanly struggling economically. But how much of that can really be attributed to Bush policies and how much reflects structural changes in the economy. I don't think any rational economist really thinks that Bush's tax cuts are the reasons that we have lost so many jobs. And it's not clear that Kerry has any great solutions to these problems. In terms of the working class fighting the war, well, these are not draftees, they are volunteers. True, many joined presumably because of lack of economic opportunity but a lot didn't. so to say they are being forced to fight this war; last I saw there were 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. That doesn't exactly cover the entire working class.

Dorian Warren said...

Those are all good points MWS. But I said that this would be a good political strategy at mobilizing Democratic voters, not specific policy recommendations. However, I think there are good policies that address this issue of economic insecurity as well that Kerry can point to without arguing that the root cause is the Bush tax cuts. Raising the minimum wage is one (562 economists just endorsed this a few days ago). A health care plan that covers more people and controls costs. Labor law reform is another that comes to mind. But what I argued the Edwards' stump speech does is bring together several of these issues under one political theme that energizes base voters, something the Bush team seems to do much better.