February 05, 2004
The New DFA
Howard Dean's bid for the US presidency may be down to a hail mary pass to win Wisconsin, but his bid to become a powerful American leader looks like its on some strong ass legs. His Dean for America, or DFA organization has just had a remarkable day, and it looks a lot like the DFA is going stay around regardless of what happens in this presidential race. The name perhaps will evolve, Democrats for America or something of the ilk, but the organization is there. And Dean will be the nominal leader with the weight of several million voters and a large cash flow behind him. Presidential nomination or not, there is no way that strength can be ignored.
Regardless of who gets nominated, any Democrat is going to need the nominal support of Dean or they risk losing it all. Like some of the smaller parties in coalition style parliamentary systems of Germany or Israel, the DFA may well be the critical weight needed to craft a winning candidate. America of course resolutely structured for two political parties though, and Dean's strength comes from organizing within one of those parties. Attempts to organize third parties perpetually fail in the US, most recently with the Green and Reform parties. But by finding a way to organize inside the Democratic party Dean has built a far more potent machine, one with far greater chance of lasting power then Nader or Perot could ever build.
The precedent for this strategy is ironically on the other side of the political spectrum, in the world of Christian fundamentalism. Over the past 20 odd years right wing Christians have built a network that wields inordinate power, forcing the Republicans to carry unpopular positions like their opposition to legal abortion.
Howard Dean has already had remarkable success setting the issues that the Democrats must follow, particularly with his aggressive anti-Bush stance. Now with the DFA it sure looks him or at least his organization will be in a position to keep on setting the agenda for some time now, for better or worse. And quite thankfully its looking for the better at the moment.Posted by Abe at February 5, 2004 07:48 PM