Dean says Democrats’ chances rest with party loyalists

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(Host) Former Governor Howard Dean says the key to the Democrats winning the White House in November is for presidential candidate John Kerry to energize the base constituency of the Party, and not to concentrate on the so-called swing voters.

Speaking Tuesday night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Dean said he believes many Republican candidates have been successful in the past four years because they have taken strong positions that excite the base of their Party. It’s a strategy Dean says the Democrats need to adopt this year:

(Dean) “I think the way you beat these guys is to get our base out, give our people a reason to vote. The swing vote’s about five percent of the country. I think Ralph Nader’s a bigger threat to John Kerry’s presidential hopes than his failure to capture swing voters. Swing voters get excited when your people are excited. So I think we need to excite our base, we need to talk to Democrats about why they should be getting out the vote, give them a reason to vote and give them a reason to believe again.”

(Host) Dean is convinced that voters will support candidates who take strong positions – even if some of these positions are not in line with the voter’s own philosophy:

(Dean) “If you want to mobilize your base you’ve got to stand for something. And if you stand for something people will say, ‘Okay, I don’t agree here but at least I know where he is,’ And you’ll get a lot more credit and people will respect you more than just if you’re willing to say this and that and something else. It just doesn’t work that way. I think the ticket to putting the Democrats back in the majority is to say what you believe and don’t worry about it. Don’t be afraid to say what you believe because more often than not people will give you credit for it even if they don’t agree with you.”

(Host) Dean says he expects to be on the campaign trail supporting the candidacy of Senator John Kerry this fall.

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