Saturday, February 7, 2004


According to Friday's posting of ABCNews' The Note, caucus results in Michigan and Washington should be posted sometime around 7 or 8 p.m. tonight. Kerry is expected to win both handily with Gephardt and the unions helping out in Michigan. However, for months, residents have been able to vote over the Internet ["Michigan caucus provides Internet voting test"] so there is a good chance that Dean may do better than polls suggest, since over 21,000 people have already voted.
The results from the Maine Caucus will be in around 7 or 8 p.m. tomorrow night.
Watching the Michigan newspaper coverage of the caucus the last few days has been amazing. They have all but coronated Kerry the winner. The Detroit Free Press - yeah, the union-busting newspaper - had this headline on Thursday: "Kerry all but owns Michigan." The media's spin prompted a letter from Denise Wilmarth of Ann Arbor: ["Let people, not media, decide state vote"].
Since Dean tumbled so far so fast, the media have latched onto Kerry. Exclusive coverage of one candidate unfairly influences the people into thinking there is only one candidate. There are three candidates at the present time. Sen. John Edwards has gotten quite a bit of press, and the news media seem to indicate he will give Kerry some competition. The press, however, continually ignores Wesley Clark.
Actually, there are at least nine candidates on the ballot, according to the Michigan Democratic Party's Web site: ["Democratic candidates"]. I don't know if there are any of the "fringe" candidates involved in the caucuses but you get her point anyway.
A similar letter appeared on Thursday in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer from Michael Tamayo of Seattle: ["Don't let media make your decision for you"].
"When you go to your caucus, please vote your conviction and not what has been crowned in the media."
Back to Friday's Free Press, black columnist Rochelle Riley endorses Sharpton: ["The choice is clear: Vote for Sharpton"]. I have read a couple of Riley's columns over the last year and she is really great. Check out these lines:
"We need to vote for a candidate who cares about children and about America's dying cities and about the lack of health care and a poor education system. We need to go out on a limb one more time, as Michigan tends to do, and vote for an underdog ... The sad truth is that Dean might have made a good president. He still might. But he's not sure who he is. He began his campaign as a self-assured outsider who knows how to run a government. He captured the Internet and connected with young voters. But then he turned into Al Gore. He lost his passion and let the skewering about a rousing speech make him mute. You don't become Al Gore if you want to be president."
And that is the problem here: Kerry is so much like Gore, so much like President Bush, do the Democrats really want to risk nominating him?
Also, what is going on with the Dean campaign? Why the hell isn't he in Maine for the caucus tomorrow? Maine has a history of voting for mavericks and insurgents. In 1992 Democratic primaries, Jerry Brown beat Paul Tsongas there by less than 1 percent although the media kept saying that Tsongas won [after all the results came in from the woods, there was a shift in votes giving the win to Brown. Newspapers like the Boston Globe failed to run corrections and the damage was done]. In both 1992 and 1996, Maine gave Ross Perot his best results in the general election, with a second-place finish for Perot in 1992 against home state candidate Bush 41. Maine also elected independent Angus King for governor and Greens have been able to garner as much as 10 percent in state-wide races and even win state rep. seats. The Kucinich campaign is predicting a third-place finish, behind Kerry and Dean. But Dean should be there - at least for a few hours - canvassing a city or two, getting footage on the local news stations the night before, showing the voters that he cares enough about winning the state to actually show up before the caucus.

Tennessee is Feb. 10. Mason-Dixon Polling & Research says John Kerry has 31 percent, Wesley Clark comes in at 22,
John Edwards has 13, and Howard Dean has 7 percent.
Mason-Dixon says Virginia [Feb. 10] is a little closer: Kerry at 34, Edwards at 25, Clark at 14 percent, Dean at 8 percent, with undecided making up 13 percent.
In Wisconsin [Feb. 17], according to The Polling Report, Dean's do-or-die state looks like death: Kerry 35, Clark 11, Edwards 9, and Dean at 8 percent.
Survey USA says Maryland [March 2] is also going to Kerry: 47 percent, Edwards 15, Dean 12, the Rev. Al Sharpton 10, and Clark 6 percent.