Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Diversity for Dean

There has been some talk of late that Dean is not attracting a very ethnically diverse following. That may have been true early on in the campaign, but anyone who watched the C-SPAN coverage of the New York rally, especially Dean's walk through the crowd afterward, can see that this latest meme is as true to reality as all the others ("he's unelectable", "he's peaking to soon", "he's a leftist, anti-war peacnik", "his leftist, anti-war peacenik base will leave him when they learn he is a centrist", etc., etc., etc.) As evidence of this I offer the following picture from last nights rally: True, it is just one picture (others can be found here), but I am starting to see more and more faces of different colors showing up at Dean events. Joe Trippi commented in an online chat today at the Washington Post specifically on this topic, bringing special attention to the fact that, until recently, the campaign simply hasn't had the money to focus efforts on minority outreach:
Milwaukee, Wis.: I am troubled by the lack of social diversity among the audience in the city rallies. I saw few minorities at our reception here in Milwaukee and the Times article today said that absence was the same in the other cities. Are you aware of the problem and is their some way to highlight Afro-American support by getting an endorsement or have a minority prominent in Dean's campaign? Joe Trippi: Two things. One, when you start with seven people and $150,000 in the bank you have to keep a very small focus. You can't do too many things in that situation. We determined that we had to focus on four things - Iowa, New Hampshire, the Internet and fundraising. For the first six months of this year, that is all we had the resources to do. With the June 30th quarter surge, we have now been able to hire outreach coordinators in the African-American, Hispanic and Asian-America communities as well as others. For example, Andy Pringle who was until recently Carol Mosley Braun's campaign manager for president, has joined our campaign. He is our deputy campaign manager and is taking on the responsibility of outreach in these communities. Congressman Major Owens endorsed us last night in New York, a key African American congressman. Many other supporters are joining. We expect you will be able to see significant progress in the next 60 days. Another indicator that we are on the right track: at one of our rallies in Austin, Tex. several weeks ago we emailed the 481 people we knew supported us in Austin. When we got to the rally there were 3200 people there. That was because the initial email group went out and leafleted the Latino community of Austin as well as others. Of the 3200 people who showed up, nearly half were Latino and nearly two-thirds didn't own a computer. We are seeing more and more that the grassroots movement is reaching beyond the Internet. I would also say that if we are now ahead nationally, as the Zogby polls suggest, than we are probably fairing as well or better than the other major candidates in the race at this stage. It is something we continue to work on but we are making lots of progress.


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