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March 21, 2006

Trippi, Clinton, Gore and 2008

I was suspicious when Howard Dean’s old advisor Joe Trippi started claiming that Hillary Clinton is a “lockin” for the 2008 nomination. I couldn’t figure out why Joe Trippi would be saying it, even if he believed it. Joe Trippi doesn’t just publicly speculate about 2008 for the hell of it. Yet, he doesn’t work for Hillary, and frankly, I can’t imagine he holds out any hope of doing so. So, cui bono? Then I read Ezra’s article on the “new Al Gore” which draws heavily on input from Joe Trippi. 

Ezra writes:

“The Dean campaign’s architect, Joe Trippi, told me, “What I’ve learned from people who are close to Gore was that, had he gone in 2004, he had this vision of running a disintermediated, Internet-driven, decentralized campaign. His vision was the Dean campaign! So one of the things that attracted him to the Dean campaign was that he looked and saw that, ‘Holy shit, these guys are running the campaign I wanted to run.’”” As you may have read, Al Gore is cozying up to the New Democrats, including Howard Dean and Joe Trippi Ezra outlines a scenario in Al Gore becomes the next darling of the netroots. Critically, this scenario depends on Hillary Clinton Needing To Be Stopped: Here’s the scenario: Hillary Clinton continues rolling forward, amassing establishment support and locking down the large donors. Anti-Hillary voters prove unable to coalesce around a single champion, so Clinton is able to suck up all the oxygen but, as with most faits accomplis, attracts little genuine enthusiasm. At the same time, her hawkishness and ostentatious moderation sparks widespread disillusionment among the online activist community. Inevitably, the liberal wing of the party begins calling for a Bigfoot of its own to enter the primary, and the obvious prospect is Gore. DraftGore.com, which already exists, amplifies the drumbeat, collecting pledges and holding events. The press corps, sensing a Godzilla vs. King Kong battle, begins covering the events. As Marty Peretz, publisher of The New Republic and a longtime friend of Gore, says, “if he were to find that there was some groundswell for him, I think it would be hard to resist.”

So, maybe that’s why Trippi is so keen to present Hilllary as an unstoppable force.

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Comments

that is so complicated, no wonder we don't get anyone elected.

I'm not sure the implication is that Trippi wants to work for Gore, but if so, forget it. Gore would never hire Trippi because Dean, who he's close to, would never let him. The guy's goot no chance of working for the former Veep. He also made his Hillary inevitability argument to me during the interview, and said he thinks Gore should run as a third-party candidate. Thinking Gore could raise a lot of cash and thinking Hillary will win the primary aren't mutually exclusive by any means...

trippi's whole hillary-is-inevitable theory comes down to his belief that she has a lock on black democrats. that's based entirely upon the fact that bill clinton was and is so popular with the african-american community

the argument is basically that the black community is the kingmaker of the democratic party. if you have 90%+ black support, that's hard for anyone else to overcome. even though the blacks are only 15-20% or so of the dems nationwide, they dominate the democratic parties in the south, making them the key constituants in a state-by-state race.

anyway, when trippi showed up at the philly DL a couple of weeks ago i ended up arguing about this theory of his. it seems to assume that bill's popularity automatically transfers to hillary, and also assumes that the black democrats are a bit more monolithic than i think they are.

i'm not so sure that he's just repeating this theory for strategic reasons. he seemed to really believe it. but it just made me think that trippi is not the outsider he is usually given credit as being. instead he seems to fall into the same conventional wisdom traps as everyone else.

If Trippi's pushing Hillary's inevitability to multiple journalists, he's doing so for a reason. Trippi may believe that Hillary has the nomination wrapped up. A lot of people say that.

His reason isn't necessarily that he wants to work for Gore. Possibly because he wants Gore to run as a third party candidateHe

As Ezra says, maybe Trippi wants Gore to run as a third party candidate because he realizes that Gore can't win the 2008 nomination.


Al Gore as a third party candidate? This will happen if and only if Ralph Nader gets the Democratic nomination.

"ostentatious moderation" -- good one, Ezra.

Lindsay:
Do you think bush has so damaged the republicans that the rest of us will have the luxury of spliting the vote with a third party? I would vote green if the system weren't set up to make that effectively political suicide

I categorically reject calls to build a third progressive party in the US. I think progressives should focus on taking back the Democratic party.

If the dems nominate either Gore or Hillary, they deserve to loose.

I can't see any scenario under which Trippi's strategy doesn't backfire. For a start, the people who are considered shoe-ins now won't necessarily be in 2008. After all, if Iowa had held its 2004 caucuses a week earlier, Dean would've gotten the Democratic nomination even though he had been a long shot until about 6/2003.

"I categorically reject calls to build a third progressive party in the US. I think progressives should focus on taking back the Democratic party."

Which I think is why we are in the position we are today, where if you can't elect a good viable candidate, you settle on the one everyone likes, or think they like. Point in case, join Kerry. Point in case, Howard Dean. Point in case, John McCaine. Having third and fourth parties would make races more about supporting the ideals of individual candidates, not entire platforms, which force an all or nothing approach to politics down people's throats. Could it happen in this election? Certainly. If the moderate/progressive right were to break off from the radicals of their party, or visa versa, and the more conservative Democrats break off to join those towards the center, and maybe breaks between environmentalists residing on both parties to firm up the Green party base, a reformation of the political landscape would occur. However, it would take some brave souls in both parties to break the monopoly that both have on the current system, and that grip is a both old and powerfull, thus much harder to break.

However, it would take some brave souls in both parties to break the monopoly that both have on the current system

That, and constitutional reform.

"Taking back" the Democratic party makes it sound like progressives "had" it at some point. Such was never really the case - the Donkey being the party of JFK, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, hardly the kind of people I would point to as role models for progressives.

A new progressive party would be okay, if and only if it was feasible for such a party to become the second party, i.e. to replace the Democrats. Otherwise, you're just playing spoiler.

Taking back, taking over... We'll take what we can get.

That, and constitutional reform.

It could be carried in on Gore's pony.

"Otherwise, you're just playing spoiler."

And that is exactly why progressives and conservatives stay shackled to the "party" whom is really in control. Worrying about whether your going to give up something to one side or the other has to stop sometime, or nothing is ever going to change. It's simply fearmongering - however true it might be, it's worth the risk. It might take a couple elections for things to balance out, for individuals to move to various parties they are more aligned to, but it could happen.

I'd rather not have a choice between Al Gore and G.W. or say, J.K and G.W. Most of the candidates I would have liked to have voted for were eliminated and out of favor half way through the primaries, leaving no viable option. What choices are you left with but either not voting or compromising on someone almost equally distastefull as the other?

The whole system has to open up, and to accomplish that they really need to enact set funding limits for candidates, and cut corporate funding of candidates. If that were the happen you would field a better selection of various groups who before weren't finacially able to have their voices heard.

Ezra's scenario strikes me as too clever by .49999...
If thousands of our troops are still In Iraq two years from now, no candidate will get my primary vote who isn't on record for withdrawal. But if Sen. Clinton is the nominee, I will happily vote for her to save the country from another term of being trampled under GOP domination. Nobody should consider a third party that isn't polling at least in the 40s -- why join a Nader in handing over a swing state to a Bush? The stakes will be higher in '08, when the Right could get a crack at inflicting irreversible damage on the rest of us.

"If thousands of our troops are still In Iraq two years from now, no candidate will get my primary vote who isn't on record for withdrawal."

What if they aren't and the majority opinion is for those who support occupation of Iraq? Then the primary vote becomes meaningless for chosing a candidate to represent you. Your candidate might win a particular state, but that doesn't mean they will be able to carry a majority of states on that issue.
It would really depend on the political climate on Iraq, and how the people feel about continuing on. Many feel that if we broke it we should fix it, which is a valid argument as much as I dislike the war. That would take UN support, and we're not likely to get that anytime soon.

"But if Sen. Clinton is the nominee, I will happily vote for her to save the country from another term of being trampled under GOP domination."

I'm not so keen on her anymore, she's become more conservative, she is in fact a supporter of the war, and is ethically questionable as a person. I'm all for another woman taking the helm, in lieu of Hillary. As much as she wants to be president, there are many people who don't want her. To me she's as unpalatable as say DeLay or Frist.

"Nobody should consider a third party that isn't polling at least in the 40s -- why join a Nader in handing over a swing state to a Bush? The stakes will be higher in '08, when the Right could get a crack at inflicting irreversible damage on the rest of us."

Because in doing so you're tying your ideas, hopes, aspirations, to someone who possibly isn't any better than the other. Would you vote for a Democratic candidate who was anti-abortion? Just because they were a Democrat? There are some out there. Again, without a field of candidates that represent a plethra of options, I don't see the political problems in the U.S. changing. People have to be willing to go out and choose candidates based on their ideals and what they represent, or say to represent, not their party.

I agree with Lindsay; third parties are not viable except as spoilers. I would certainly vote for Gore over Hilary, Kerry or most other Dems. He's probably more electable than Dean. It's too soon for Obama. Feingold? Bad name, maybe too obscure for the general elections. So Gore 'lost' once. That shouldn't make him radioactive. It was real close.

But if Gore wants to run, it has to be as the Democratic candidate, not a third party, please.

Wake up and smell the stench of partisan politics. It's all about keeping power out of the hands of the masses. Elections are a modern version of bread and circuses. What better way to keep little people "in line" than to sell them the illusion of power.

Feingold? Bad name, maybe too obscure for the general elections.

Can you clarify that statement? I'm confused.

All this focus on the preznitcy is potentially distracting from the congressional and local races where progressives actually have a snowball's chance in hell of getting some traction. If the dems nominate another Kerry I'm simply not voting for president. I'll still show up and vote for the candidates who I actually support, but this lesser evil thing has become a core strategy for the democrats, and I resent them taking my vote for granted.

They need to be reminded that voting is always a matter of at least three choices: "None of the above" is a perfectly legitimate choice if the candidates are Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

My take on Trippi's comment in the Warner profile was that Trippi is just sort of prone to making outlandish statements, coupled with some sour grapes over the Dean campaign. That if Dean couldn't do it in 2004, when nobody else was doing internet organizing, no one will be able to do it in 2008, since Hillary will have her own internet organizing as well.

I don't think there's any nefarious Trippi-is-gonna-run-the-Draft-Gore-movement backroom deal.

Can someone please explain to me why third parties can't form coalitions like they do in parlimentary governments? Why, for example, couldn't Nader have said (in 2000) "I'll ask my supporters (at least in swing states) to vote for Gore, in exchange for several Green Party positions being adopted into the Democratic Party platform."

Or could he have done this, and was just too much of an ass to do so?

Because the US presidency is elected in a winner-take-all system. The person who gets the most electoral votes wins. You get electoral votes by winning at least the plurality of the votes in each state. That's an entire branch of government right there. Obviously, you could have coalition-forming third parties in the House and the Senate. However, in a parliamentary system your government falls if you don't get enough votes to pass a bill. Whereas in the US system, bills can fail without dire consequences for anyone.

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