February 18, 2004
After the Wisconsin primary we have a two-man race that could be very interesting. Sen. Kerry beat Sen. Edwards by only 6%. Tuesday's results stopped the Kerry steamroller. I expected Kerry to top 50% since most think his nomination is inevitable. However, Edwards' performance in Sunday's debate (something I didn't notice), the endorsement from the Journal Sentinel, and his anti-trade and pro-American jobs message gives him a reason for opptimism going into next month's Super Tuesday. According to exit polls, Edwards got 55% of those who picked their candidate in the last three days. What this means is Edwards needs to do more to show the differences between him and Kerry. States with sluggish manufacturing economies (Ohio? New York?) seem open to Edwards' free trade bashing. The problem is going after a fellow Senator would take away from the positive sheen Edwards has done so much to polish. To balance attack with proactive campaiging requires skill and risk-taking. We'll see in a few days how much Edwards wants the nomination or would be happy with positioning himself for the VP spot. Kerry would be stupid not to choose him.
With the loss of manufacturing jobs as the theme of this primary (Wisconsin has lost 80,000 in the last three years), with Milwaukee as still the state's manufacturing center, and with Edwards' strong anti-trade rhetoric, I'm surprised Kerry beat him in Milwaukee County by 10%. Edwards beat Kerry in the Republican bastions of Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha county.
How badly did Howard Dean, M.D. do? Sure, he got enough of the vote (18%) to get some delegates, but this is another disappointment. His strength is supposed to be the anti-war types, young people, and the Left in general. Not only did Dr. Duck get clobbered overall in Wisconsin, he got pummeled in Dane County where the peoples' paradise of Madison is located. The Lefties there chose the staid Vietnam War hero. They preferred Kerry, who touts how he fought for America instead of Dean, M.D., the anti-warrior. During the war, Madison was the center of loud, violent protests. Sterling Hall was bombed as an anti-war protest. If you go there, you can find plenty of people willing to talk about those wild old days. These people had a chance to re-live a part of their youth by voting for Dean, M.D. Not many did, which tells you how dead-in-the water he is. He just doesn't know it.
What's even more telling about how far Dr. Duck has fallen, an exit poll had Kerry beating Dean, M.D. for the 18-29 vote 35%-29%. Kerry also beat Dean, M.D. for the anti-war vote 42%-18%. Kerry outpolled Dean, M.D. in the liberal vote two to one. Dean, M.D. couldn't even win the "hate Bush" vote. Kerry beat him 43%-20%. [Note that 44% of primary voters are "angry" with President Bush. Dean, M.D. lost every part of his constituency to Kerry. Then there's this striking fact: 39% of voters at one point planned on voting for Dr. Dean. He ended up with 18% while campaigning hard here for the past few weeks.
During last night's concession speech, he told his
"Kerry Wins State; Edwards Surprises"
"Edwards Cashed in on Economic Issues"
"Democrats on Course for More Competition"
"The Edwards Surprise"