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Tuesday, December 17, 2002

The Media Primary-Interesting point here by John Ellis, who points out that the media only wants to cover two candidates.
One thing to remember is that the 2004 primary season will be exceptionally short. The whole thing begins and ends inside of 8 weeks. Once the winnowing process (Iowa and New Hampshire) weeds out the Howard Deans and General Clarks, South Carolina will be the state where the race goes from 3 candidates to a two-man race (the TV networks can only afford to cover two candidates once the Super Tuesdays begin).
One problem with that theory is it assume that it is clearly a two-man race. If there is a front runner and two challengers closely bunched, the coverage will be roughly half to the leader and half to the other two candidates. The secret is not to fall out of contact of the second place candidate, for the media will want to make it mano-a-mano if they can. The other assumption Ellis makes is that Gephardt will be the anti-Kerry. I don't see him making a case outside of the union vote; he's more of a old-school (pre sexual revolution and environmental movement) liberal. Kerry or Dean or Daschle would be more to their liking, unless Gephardt runs hard on protectionism to appeal to the Green wing of the party. Gephardt would have been a cleaner sell to the DLC wing of the party than Kerry or Dean or Daschle or Edwards; Lieberman's presence co-ops that angle. Gephardt will do well, but will struggle to get much past 20% nationwide.

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