Monday, 06 January, 2003

Campaign Season Already?

Representative Dick Gephardt filed papers this evening to create an exploratory committee for the White House.  He joins Senators John Kerry and John Edwards, and Governor Howard Dean of Vermont in forming these "exploratory committees."  In addition, Senators Tom Daschle and Joseph Lieberman both are expected to announce soon.  That's six Democrats vying for the nomination, with 22 months to go before the election.    (Note 01/07:  Tom Daschle announced today that he won't be throwing his hat into the ring, so that leaves us with just five.  For now.)  The Democrats have a real problem here.  Not only is the party searching for identity, but their likely field of contenders for the Presidential nomination are practically indistinguishable from each other.  The best that can be said for any of them is "at least he isn't Al Gore."  The Democratic party is not standing on a firm platform these days.  They're fractured, as the large field of contenders shows, and about the only thing the factions have in common is an urge to regain power.  Unless the Democrats find a leader who can unify the party and project a coherent vision (and none of the likely contenders appears to be that person), the only votes they'll get in 2004 will be from hard-core Democrats who always vote the party line.  And that isn't enough to win a Presidential election.