I have no idea what will happen in New Hampshire tomorrow. The media slammed Dean all last week, but it’s clear if you pay attention to the polls and the turnout for Dean’s events that the winds are shifting again. People are coming back to Dean. If he had another week I’d say he’d come away with the win in New Hampshire, and the momentum to have a strong showing in the next batch of states. With just one day left… who knows.
I thought a lot about how I should deal with politics on this weblog. Many bloggers who I respect have chosen to keep their opinions to themselves. I was going to do the same, and the few political posts I’ve made to this blog over the last year I’ve kept non-partisan.
But the last week I have been completely obsessed with the post-Iowa coverage, and I can’t see myself continuing to think and write about this election without being clear in who I support.
Howard Dean is the real deal. The other candidates are above average, but Dean is the most honest, has great accomplishments to show as governor of Vermont, and is the strongest candidate to face Bush. When Dean speaks it really resonates with people, gives them hope for this county. Despite the loss in Iowa, his grassroots campaign is impressive, with average contributions less than $100, and hundreds of volunteers traveling from other states to help the campaign. I still believe that the way he can win in November is by exciting new voters and getting Democrats and Independents (and Republicans?) to turn out in record numbers.
I subscribe to the other main candidates' weblogs as well. Dave Winer criticized the Dean weblog for not going far enough, but the other weblogs are much worse. They are updated infrequently and usually lack any personal touch. John Edwards doesn’t even provide summaries in his RSS feed. But the topper is this headline from Kerry’s weblog yesterday morning, where they misspell “bloggers”. Oops.
Sure, that’s a silly criticism. It was clearly just a typo, and actually the Kerry weblog has improved considerably over the last week. But it’s funny because it plays into an assumption that Dean is the only campaign that really gets the technology of this election. Which, from my experience, is true.
Online activism will be huge this year. The power of MoveOn.org and the Dean Meetup is in providing a channel for ordinary Americans to effect an election instead of sitting at home grumbling that “there’s nothing I can do.” It’s about bringing more people into the process. But to do that right, we need a candidate who can speak passionately to the issues and inspire voters. That’s Dean.