The man most responsible for drawing my attention back on to the political playing field, Gov. Howard Dean, spoke recently with Ari Berman at The Nation.com; assessing President Obama’s chances for re-election. Far from the fiery presidential candidate from 2003-2004, Dean still retains my respect as someone who walks his talk and, in my opinion, should be seen as the architect of the Democratic surge in 2008 that gave us the White House as well as major increases in both the House and the Senate with his “50 State Strategy” as Chair of the DNC. (Although he will never receive his proper credit from the Obama Administration) The fact that Obama turned him out at the DNC and we got handed our hats in 2010 only reinforces my position.
About President Obama’s re-election, Dean says: “Obama’s chances have definitely improved. If Mitt Romney’s the Republican nominee, I would say it’s a one or two point win for Obama.” And he goes even further when he adds, “I’m predicting flat out that if Obama wins, Democrats take back the House.”
Now, obviously I am not one of President Obama’s biggest fans and would still prefer to see a Howard Dean in the White House but I think even the most critical Progressive; after reviewing the (current) Republican field, would have to agree with Dean’s assessment of the presidential race. As far as the House races are concerned, Berman adds this caveat: “Other analysts have recently raised that possibility, even though GOP domination of the redistricting process gives Republicans a major edge in 2012.” Still, according to Berman:
“Looking at the Electoral College map, Dean predicts that Obama will win 296 electoral votes to Romney’s 242. He believes that the president will hold the crucial swing states of Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, and “could have a shot in Arizona because of the Latino vote.” Dean cautions that Obama “could lose Pennsylvania and Michigan and will probably lose North Carolina,” where Democrats are holding their convention this fall, along with Indiana. Still, all the president needs is 270, and currently has a number of different pathways to victory.
Dean believes the Hispanic vote will give Obama and Democrats a major advantage in crucial swing states out West. “The Latino vote will break for Obama big time,” he predicts. Obama beat John McCain among Hispanic voters by 36 points in 2008, 67-31 percent. A Pew Hispanic Center poll at the end of the year showed Obama beating Romney by 45 points among Hispanic voters, 68-23 percent.”
Dean also has this to say about the Occupy Movement’s role in this year’s election:
“If Obama is re-elected, he will owe an enormous debt to Occupy Wall Street, which he will never acknowledge. Their core message is ‘the emperor has no clothes. It is the 99 percent versus the 1 percent.’ Americans have felt like that for awhile, but they couldn’t say it or talk to each other about it before OWS.”
Of course, one of Obama’s biggest hurdles this year will be to turn out the Progressive base; a great many of whom have all but given up on seeing a Progressive agenda out of DC in the foreseeable future. To Progressives, Dean has this to say,
“I believe we need a progressive party in this country. But for progressives to not vote for Obama is crazy. Citizens United would have never been put into law and America would never have been sold to the highest bidder had Al Gore won in 2000. Obama, if he wins, is going to appoint maybe one or two more Supreme Court justices. That could make all the difference. For that reason alone, you can’t say there’s no difference between the parties. Politicians in Washington may not be able to help you much, but they sure can hurt you.”
On that note, Gov. Dean and I still are in 100% agreement.
Chad (The Left) Shue