Return to Nicholas Johnson Main Web Page

Return to Nicholas Johnson's Another Iowan for Kucinich Web site

The Electability Myth

Nicholas Johnson

The Daily Iowan, Opinion
December 18, 2003, p. 6A

Voters registering as Democrats have dropped from 50 percent of the electorate to 32 percent. Only progressive programs can win back the disaffected.

Focusing on candidates' electability, especially now, is silly and self-defeating. Here’s why.

1. When half the nation’s Democrats can’t name a single candidate, and “Undecided” and “Don’t Know” are the winners, numbers mean little.

2. Knowing who’s the most popular among Democrats doesn’t answer “who can beat Bush?”

3. Polls reveal, as of today, no candidate can beat Bush. You want “electable”? Find a 10th candidate.

4. The same polls indicate all nine do about equally. Bush pulls 49 to 51 percent. Top Democrats range between 40 to 43 percent.

Who’s “most electable” when (a) all lose, and (b) by percentage differences within the margin of error?

5. It’s too early to predict November 2004. Subsequent primaries, and the Democratic Convention next July, can more appropriately address electability.

6. Media reports of Iowa’s caucuses ignore precinct attendee counts. Candidates with less than 15 percent get no “state-equivalent” delegates – or recognition.

Bottom line? Democrats who want to defeat Bush best focus on a program to win back the disaffected.

One candidate is truly independent of corporate pressure. His practical, popular program is unique among the nine: universal, single-payer health care, child care and college tuition for all, defense spending cuts.

Check out for more. No candidate is “most electable.” But Dennis Kucinich’s program clearly is. Think about it.

Nicholas Johnson
Iowa City