Clark gives Dems strong chance to win presidency

Joshua Horton

Joshua Horton

Newsweek, with Princeton Survey Research Associates, interviewed 1,001 adults over the phone Sept. 18 – 19 over the current political climate in America. Wesley Clark, who entered the race on the 18th of this month, polled at 14 percent of Democratic voters. This places him in the lead for the nomination.

Of course his announcement had some influence on the numbers; it is odd that he would be in the lead so quickly among democrats. It is a clear indication that democratic voters want someone that can organize the party and beat the Republicans in 2004 and they may have that someone in Clark.

Clark is a decorated war veteran. He was the NATO Allied Supreme Commander from 1997 to 2000. A Rhodes scholar, he has worked as an investment banker. He is Chairman and CEO of Wesley K. Clark & Associates, a strategic advisory and consulting firm. He is also a long time friend of former President Bill Clinton. And although he has no formal political experience, he is a proven leader.

In fact, his lack of political experience might be his greatest asset. Looking at the other nine democrats, everyone else, with the exception of Al Sharpton, has held political office. Clark comes in as a fresh, strong contender. He adds a whole new dimension to the race for the party’s nomination.

If the democrats want to win, they need someone that can inspire and lead the party. This is one advantage that “Washington Outsiders” have always had. They tend to be more independent, willing to break with the party, and swell up support from both conservatives and liberals.

One of Clark’s strongest advantages to the other democrats is his military experience. One of the things that Democrats were hammered on in the 2002 races was their patriotism, or in actual terms their military and foreign policies.

Traditionally, Democrats have never controlled these issues. Military leaders have done exceptionally well because of them, just look at Eisenhower, Grant or Jackson. The public has always recognized that military leaders make strong presidents.

Lastly, the fact that Clark is from the South, an important region of America that every Presidential candidate must do well in, makes him stand out among democrats. He is charismatic, and comes off as a man of the people. He is an unordinary democrat that has done extraordinary things. Yet, the truth remains, could he beat President Bush in 2004?

In the same poll I mentioned before, among all registered voters, Clark did the best against Bush, coming in at 43 percent to Bush’s 47 percent. This was the best showing among the democrats against President Bush. When you consider that this is the closest anyone has come to matching or beating Bush in any poll, it makes all democrats excited.

Add that to the fact that Bush’s job approval ratings are at 49 percent and slipping, Democrats have a strong chance of winning in 2004.

Reach Josh Horton at [email protected].