Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Monday | June 23, 2003

How they can win: Gephardt

Welcome to Part IV of the six-part series "how they can win", featuring the six "serious" candidates: Dean, Edwards, Gephardt, Graham, Kerry and Lieberman.

For purposes of this scenario building, I'm assuming all six candidates are running strong, without the presence of a major scandal or foot-in-mouth incident.

This edition features Gephardt, currently one of the top two CW frontrunners in the race (along with Kerry).

Iowa: 1.19
Gephardt is the odds-on favorite to win Iowa. It's an interesting conundrum. He gains little by winning Iowa, since it's expected of him. So if he loses, or just squeaks by with a narrow victory, then his candidacy is over. So he must, in order to move on, finish in solid first place.

New Hampshire: 1.27
This state will feature a battle to the finish between Kerry and Dean. Gephardt will be pushing hard for a third place finish, no matter how distant it might be.

The victor this day will live to see Super Tuesday, the second-place finisher is most likely finished. The rest of the candidates will scramble for that second media-appointed slot. While that second candidate won't be selected until February 2nd, a third place finish here helps Gephardt cripple the Lieberman, Edwards and Graham campaigns heading into the following crucial week.

A solid first place in Iowa and a third place showing in NH, and Gep is looking pretty good right now.

South Carolina, Delaware, Missouri, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma: 2.2
South Carolina, Missouri and Arizona are the big delegate states, though I'm not sure the press is sophisticated enough to declare winners or losers by looking at delegate counts. They are more likely to count the states won by each candidate, and annoint the guy who has won the most.

South Carolina already looks good for Gephardt, and Missouri is obviously in the bag. Delaware will go to Dean or Kerry, leaving him needing just one more state. He grabs that third state (doesn't matter which, but most likely Oklahoma), and Lieberman, Edwards and Graham are gone.

It's now a race between Gephardt and Dean or Kerry. It would be a peculiar thing seeing Gephardt cast as the "moderate" candidate given his long progressive track record. But it's a designation he himself sought as he positioned himself for this presidential run (culiminating in kissing Bush's butt before the Iraq War vote).

Michigan, Washington (caucus): 2.7
Gephardt can essentially ignore these states.
Split this one down the middle. Gep grabs MI, Dean/Kerry graps Washington. Note that even if Gephardt lost Michigan, it would do little to affect his chances. Everyone is essentially in a holding pattern until the first Super Tuesday.

Maine: 2.8
Gephardt ignores Maine. Loses it. Doesn't mean a damn thing.

Virginia, District of Columbia, Tennessee: 2.10
Some skirmishes. All Gephardt has to do is grab one of these states and he's okay. He wins more than one, it means little. Still in a holding pattern.

Wisconsin: 2.17
Everyone ignores WI. It will go to the more progressive candidate. It won't be Gephardt. Again, no one cares.

Idaho: 2.24 and Utah: 2.27
No one cares. We're only one week away from the final day of this primary race.

California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawaii, North Dakota, Texas (tentatively), Washington (primary): 3.2
The appearance of Texas on this day is actually a huge boost to Gephardt's candidacy, and will feature prominantly in the "Gephardt wins" scenario.

Lots of states this day, most of them trending progressive. Gephardt merely has to hold his own. If he breaks even of lags just slightly, the more conservative states on March 9 will give him his margin of victory. If he loses big, it's all over for him.

As I mentioned above, Texas will feature prominantly. Ohio, with its massive union base, should be an easy win. Georgia and ND should be there for him. To survive, it looks like he'd also have to take Connecticut, as well as one of the following: California, New York, or Minnesota.

Bottom line: There is some talk that the calendar somehow favors Gephardt. I really don't see this. There are some friendly states along the way, but they're easily offset by a string of progressive states that will better favor the candidates on Gephardt's left flank.

Gephardt's strategy will probably be in the vein of Lieberman's "It's a marathon, not a sprint". Win February 2nd, ride out the string of unfriendly states (picking up a state here and there just to keep the media sharks at bay), and then holding his own on the first Super Tuesday. If he battles his opponent to parity on March 2nd, It's all his for the taking on March 9th.

Posted June 23, 2003 04:32 AM | Comments (82)


Bush Administration
Business and Economy
Foreign Policy

© 2002. Steal all you want.
(For non-commercial use, that is.)