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What happened to the Dean Campaign?

By February 6, 2004websites

Clay Shirky has a great thought piece on the Dean Campaign’s failure to live up to expectations: Exiting DeanSpace. You really have to go read the whole thing, but here is a poignant quote:

“You can ring doorbells and carry signs and donate and stay up til 4 in the morning talking with fellow believers about the sorry state of politics today, and you still only get one vote. If you want more votes than that, you have to do the hardest, most humbling thing in the world. You have to change someone else’s mind.”

Of course, no one changes anyone’s mind in a political debate. The successful candidate is one who is perceived by the majority as inherently representing what they want. Or put another way, a successful political leader is one who finds out where the majority of people want to go and then he ‘leads’ them there.

One of the things I find so insidiously frustrating about political campaigns is that they are, by definition, forced to sacrifice bold thinking in favor of easily digestible pablum. Let’s face it, if you want to carry forward a novel idea you go looking for bright and intellectually curious people to help you do it. But if you want to be elected to a major political office you have to consider the views of those whose curiousity is easily satisfied by watching episodes of Reality TV , including of course this season’s tantalizing corporate reality show: The Apprentice.

Come to think of it, maybe Donald Trump is gearing up for a run at the Presidency. Anyway, I agree with Clay’s reminder that democracy is all about the wishes of the many prevailing over the hot-shot ideas of an elite few, even if those few are well-educated, well-informed and well-intentioned. And, who knows? Maybe Donald Trump would make a great president.

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