View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Dems and the Senate 

The four themes of this convention:

  1. We hate Bush. He stole the election, and suppressed the black vote
  2. John Kerry. He's not Bush
  3. We are unified and disciplined. In our hatred of Bush
  4. The Senate

Yes, the Senate. They've given the Keynote Address to Barack Obama. They put Tom Daschle, the only man likely out-bore John Kerry, front and center to show what was at stake. Um, oops.

I think there's a little push-me/pull-me going on here as well. The Dems seem to be hoping that Kerry can ride a number of close states on the coattails of Senate candidates:

Kerry could grab some coattails from fifth-generation Hispanic Ken Salazar if the attorney general wins his Aug. 10 Senate primary. But it won't get him over the hump in November.

This almost never works. Most of the center is perfectly happy splitting its ticket. Look at Florida, where Jeb was re-elected very easily, but George is, by all accounts, locked in a very tight race.

But it's also clear that the Dems really want to use the convention to push the Senate races, the first time I've seen it used for that. The other close races are all in states that are hopelessly lost - Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina. States where Kerry has no chance, and can only do damage. That's why those Senate candidates aren't at the convention - Kerry's so toxic in those states that campaigning with him is liable to bring and EPA citation.

Problem is, Tom Daschle's not much better. Which is why giving him a prime-time speaking slot is likely to have hurt more than it helped. I'm not sure you want people in those states to be reminded of the stakes. Like the presidential race, the Democrats' best hope is to hide rather than run.

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