Right after the great progressive loss of 2004, mass media outlets began speculating about who the Democrats could put forward as a presidential candidate in 2008. Although not a single candidacy had been declared, and not a single primary election in the Democratic Party had taken place, commentators began to talk about who the "favorite" candidates were. Some even declared "frontrunners" in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
The truth is that there are currently no frontrunners and no favorites in the competition to become the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. The rank and file members of the Democratic Party get to decide who to run as a candidate for President in 2008. All that it takes to be considered for the nomination is for a candidate to get enough signatures on primary petitions.
So, the grassroots of the Democratic Party has just as much, if not more, power to decide who to nominate for President in 2008 as the Democratic leadership does. National media commentators don't have any official input in the process at all, no matter how much influence they try to wield.
This time around, we progressives are not going to let conservative groups like the Democratic Leadership Council try to dictate who our presidential candidates are. Instead, it's clear that the time has come for the Democratic grassroots to start its own discussion about who ought to represent the Democratic Party in 2008. With such a discussion, when the time comes to start formally fielding candidates, we'll be prepared. To further that discussion, we're making a few suggestions of our own.
These possible candidates are not being discussed by conservative media pundits, precisely because the conservatives would hate to see these people be given a chance to speak to a national audience. These potential candidates all have one thing in common: They have strong progressive records of public service. In fact, they're all members of the Progressive Caucus in the United States House of Representatives. That caucus has been led by Dennis Kucinich, who himself made a run for the White House in 2004. This is a uniquely distinguished group of progressive leaders, and they have a depth of integrity that American politics has not seen on the national level for quite some time.
One thing you'll see with this group is that there are many ways to work with the mathematics of the Electoral College map. Many conservative Democrats have insisted that the Democratic Party has to surrender its values and adopt the extremist agenda of Southern conservatism in order to win back the White House. As far as we're concerned, such a strategy would destroy the Democratic Party by permanently driving away its progressive base.
There are alternative regional strategies that work. No, we don't have to have a nominee from a die-hard blue state. The Midwest, the Great Lakes rust belt, the Southwest and the principled progressive South are all up for grabs, and would put the Democratic Party over the top in 2008 - if the Democratic Party has the guts to be true to its progressive values and stands up to George W. Bush over the next four years.
Potential candidates we're watching for 2008:Marcy Kaptur
Marcy Kaptur President (bumper sticker)
John Lewis President 2008 Button
Ed Pastor for President Bumper Sticker
Tammy Baldwin for President Button
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