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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Primary message to Kerry

Today is Kentucky's primary. John Kerry has already secured the Democratic nomination for president, of course, but I nonetheless took my vote seriously.

A week ago, the local newspaper pointed out that Clinton won the 1992 primary after he was assured his party's nomination, but 28% of voters went for "uncommitted" -- apparently to signal some dissatisfaction with his candidacy and/or campaign.

So, what message did I want to send with my vote?

A. Vote for Kerry, signaling to the world that "the party is united" and I'm very satisfied with the candidate.

B. Vote for someone else, signaling to the Kerry people that his campaign needs to work harder to secure my interest. This is hard to do since it's difficult to imagine a scenario whereby I wouldn't vote for John Kerry. I've defended him on this blog and will not vote for Nader.

C. Vote for "uncommitted" on the off-chance that all hell breaks out in Boston (and around the country) this summer and the Democratic convention becomes an open one.

I rejected "A" because the party has plenty of time to be unified after the primaries and the convention love fest. I also rejected option "C" because the odds are very much against an open convention and a vote for a particular candidate could send some strong signals.

Like what? Here are the choices that were on the ballot today:
A vote for John Edwards could signal that I liked his "two Americas" campaign rhetoric -- and just might want to see his name in the Veep slot. My spouse apparently bought into some part of this logic.

A vote for Wesley Clark would signal that I'm really concerned about national security issues and might want Kerry to think about Clark as Veep.

A vote for Howard Dean or Dennis Kucinich would signal that Kerry is moving too far to the right and needs to reconnect with the Democratic base.

A vote for Lyndon LaRouche would suggest I'm a wacko -- and I'm afraid a vote for Al Sharpton might suggest that I'm a cynical Republican.

A vote for Joe Lieberman would signal that I'm 100% DLC.
I picked the third choice and voted for Kucinich. He's still campaigning and is the clear anti-war candidate, so I'm hoping some of my fellow Kentuckians vote similarly to amplify my message.

I'm not saying Kerry has to say that the US is coming home in January 2005, but he does have to stop implying that he will "stay the course." We don't need Brand X when we already own the "leading brand."

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