Friday, March 12, 2004

Can the Dean model work?

Matthew Yglesias expresses skepticism that the Dean model for campaign fundraising can be an answer to the Republican's past dominance in this area, all this in regard to the allegations of selling out the Lincoln bedroom to campaign donors:

Clinton's behavior in this regard is illustrative of a general Democratic party problem. The basic dilemma is that a party needs to raise a lot of money to win elections. The Republicans do this by having positions that well suit the interests of large business lobbies that give them a lot of money. Clinton tried to overcome this by using the personal perquisites of the presidency. On the merits, this is really better than selling off substantive policy decisions. And yet, it's sleazy as all hell. Moreover, it didn't really work. Alternatives are needed.

The Dean campaign thought it had an answer -- the internet. The hope here is that the weblog can become a tool of class domination for the Democratic-leaning and relatively prosperous professionals. So far, the jury's still out on this. It shows some promise, but I have my doubts.

Unfortunately, Matt doesn't list his specific doubts. But I really have to wonder why anyone would be skeptical that the Dean model couldn't work. After all, Dean raised nearly $50 million dollars as a non-name politician in a competitive field of Democrats. He easly broke Clinton's single quarter fundraising record even though Clinton did it in a non-competitive field as a sitting president! If Dean could do that then imagine what a single Democrat using the same model could do once they have the nomination sewn up.

Besides, it is my understanding (don't have a link handy) that the Democrats combined have raised more money than Bush has this season. Which just goes to prove that Democrats can be competitive with Republicans in financing campaigns without having to compromise their principles.

What's there to be skeptical about?

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