David Yepsen Argues Edwards Still Has a Chance

David Yepsen notes many believe that the Edwards campaign is washed up but does provide an argument for why he could still win:

He spends more time in Iowa than his rivals. (His wife jokes that if someone asked the couple for directions in Iowa, they could provide them.)

While Obama and Clinton have only recently discovered the fact that 49 percent of Iowa’s Democratic caucus-goers live in rural and small-town Iowa, Edwards has been mining those tiny lodes for years.

For example, his schedule for Wednesday called for him to spend the day in far-northwest Iowa, where Democrats are ordinarily found only on endangered-species lists. (I know Democrats running for governor who don’t make it to Rock Rapids.) Yet Edwards was to campaign there, and end his day on a hog farm near Cylinder, population 110.

While he didn’t get a rock star’s crowd in Waukee this week, he did get 257 local Democrats to show up: Retirees. Farmers. Teachers. Working folks. A few suburbanites In short, he attracted a crowd that looked exactly like the types of people who actually show up at a Democratic caucus in January. (Or December.)

I have no doubt that Edwards can still win in Iowa. His problem is that a win in Iowa would not be very impressive in light of how much time he spends there, and Edwards’ positions, which often appear to have been written specifically for the Iowa caucus, will not be received as well elsewhere, especially in the Northeast. One major argument against Edwards’ prospects is contained in a paragraph which begins by repeating the Edwards campaigns claims of electability but proceeds to say:

He doesn’t have the polarizing negatives Clinton has and is a more seasoned candidate than Obama, though some of his positions smack of class war.

Resorting to such class warfare might help in Iowa, but as I noted yesterday he will repel the types of voters who gave the Democrats their majority in 2006. His decision to accept matching funds would also place him at a severe disadvantage running against a Republican who wasn’t subject to spending limits. Yepsen is right that Edwards could still win in Iowa, but his chances of winning the nomination are significantly lower and his chances of winning a general election campaign are very remote.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    omelas says:

    Bringing up the issue of class might not have the effect on swing voters than you think. Here in Maryland, I am meeting a lot of people in public who have already decided to vote for Edwards who are independent and conservative, because of his stance on economic issues.

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