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March 16, 1984 - Image 4

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OPINION

page 4

Friday, March 16, 1984

The Michigan Daily:

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k
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4p

Primaries expose

political

upstarts

By Scott Winkelman
In 1952, a political maverick, Sen.
Estes Kefauver, became the first cam-
paigner to skillfully employ the*
primary system to gain national
teknown. Although Kefauver even-
tually did not receive the Democratic
Nomination, his example signalled a
tiramatic addition to presidential
politics. By 1968, primary voting ac-.
Counted for over 40 percent of
Democratic delegates to the national
convention, while by 1972 primaries
dletermined a substantial majority of
the total delegation.
'Subsequent elections have witnessed
Other political upstarts hoping to crash
into public awareness on the heels of
unexpected primary successes. George
McGovern shocked political observers
6y finishing a close second to Edmund
Muskie injA972 New Hampshire
Primary. Similarly, Jimmy Carter's
upsets in Iowa and New Hampshire
literally catapulted him to national.
rdeognition in 1976.
THIS YEAR'S obvious beneficiary is,
4uprisingly enough, Sen. Gary Hart.
the primary season was significantly
compacted and shortened previous to
the 1984 contest, a move expected to
work to Walter Mondale's advantage.
Riding atop an impressive ensemble of
endorsements and financial sponsors,
Mondale's strategists hoped to quickly'
tire the other candidates out, leave lit-
tle time for rest and repair, and lock up
the nomination by March 13. Now, in-
stead, we find Mondale gasping for
political life while: Hart basks in the
glory of spectacular primary victories.
Recovering from the initial shock,
caused by these outcomes, we must
consider their relevance to the
presidential election and the im-
plications for Democratic hopes for vic-
tory in November.
First of all, those who vote in
primaries tend to constitute a very
select, unrepresentative group com,

posed primarily of party activists,
highly motivated Democratic par-
tisans, and fanatic loyalists of par-
ticular candidates. The efforts of these
ardent supporters can lead to im-
pressive primary showings, as was
demonstrated repeatedly during
McGovern's 1972 campaign. But
McGovern's disastrous election defeat
that year also indicates that such sup-
port does not guarantee, nor even
strongly suggest the likelihood of elec-
tion.
Michael Harrington claimed that 1980
marked the "exhaustion of traditional
liberalism." Though seemingly
premature then, Harrington's premise
will be put to a clear test this year in the
candidacy of Walter Mondale. For
years now Mondale's election strategy
has been clear. He hoped to capture the
support of leaders representing
traditional Democratic constituencies,
stress his experience and leadership
ability, and glorify his record of
lifetime defense of the impoverished,
the manual worker, blacks, and other
loyal Democrats. The strategy is
strikingly similar to that employed by
his political mentor, Hubert Humphrey,
in securing the 1968 Democratic
nomination.
BUT THE political landscape has
changed considerably in the decade and
a half since Humphrey's success, a fact
of which Mondale must now be pain-
fully aware. The 1968 election proved to
be the swan song for union/party in-
sider/city boss dominance of the
Democratic party apparatus. Cap-
turing the support of union and city
leaders no longer guarantees the sup-
port of union members and city
dwellers. Gary Hart's primary
showings have been particularly im-
pressive, for instance, in the number of
union members who preferred him over
Mondale. The ability of party leaders
and affiliates to deliver votes of their
constituents will be severely tested in
1984.
Mondale also finds himself on the

losing end of a new application of an old
political term. "Special interests,"
various observers have noted, referred
in the past to wealthy industrialists,
monstrous conglomerates, and in-
dividuals who wielded power by virtue
of their family fortunes. Rarely has a
Democrat who vociferously defends the
traditional electoral base been attacked
for representing "special interests."
Most Democratic leaders of the past

some in search of a "reason to believe,"
others because they have actually read
Hart's voluminous position papers.
Hart also appeals to "Yuppies" -
young, urban professionals - who are ap-
proximately the same age and share
the future-oriented outlook of the can-
didate.
UNFORTUNATELY for Hart, these
individuals do not swing election out-
comes. History has demostrated.

'losing the youth vote overall to Richard
Nixon.
Hart intentionally conjuries up John
Kennedy's campaign style, and does so
more than on simply a surface level.
Aside from superficial similarities,
Kennedy was the first Democratic
nominee to capture significant subur-
ban support, an achievement Hart
seems able to duplicate. Kennedy,
meanwhile, possessed a fanatically
loyal group of supporters that Hart
cannot expect to claim - his religious
brethren. Catholics provided nearly
half of Kennedy's votes in 1960, an
astonishing figure (although studies,
reveal that the religious issue actually
cost Democrats votes in that election).
Religion should not be a factor in 1984:
Hart, although a Presbyterian, in-
dicates no religious preference in his
campaign literature, while Mondale is
a Methodist.
MOST CENTRAL to Hart's campaign
is the recurring theme of "newness."
Hart supporters claim that the race
between Hart and Mondale is not one of
left versus right, or East versus West,
but rather old against new. The
significance of this strategy goes
beyond obvious implications. Mondale
launched his campaign in a cloud of
vagueness regarding issue positions,
and is now stressing specific proposals.
Hart, meanwhile, was labelled an
"idea" man early on, and has only
recently toned down his emphasis on
specifics.
This, in part, stems from Hart's in-
telligence as a strategist and cam-
paigner. The renowned political scien-
tist, V.O. Key, once warned that voters
are "not likely to be attracted in great
numbers by promises of the novel or
unknown." The most recent "new"
candidate, former Gov. Jerry Brown,
painfully realized the result of stressing
novel ideas when his campaign sput-
tered in early 1980.
A popular misconception suggests
that Franklin Roosevelt ran as the
"New Deal" candidate in 1932. In fact,

Roosevelt campaigned as a moderate'
Democrat, rarely discussing new ideas:
and even chastising Herbert Hoover as"
a big spender! Hart and his pollsters
are aware that voters, while naturally;
receptive and attracted to newness, do
not necessarily want the specifics of,
that newness articulated. Hart does:'
sponsor new, innovative ideas, as:
anyone who reads his literature and,
listens to his speeches can testify. But-a"
recent New York Times headline som-
marized the average voter's reason for
siding with the senator from Colorado:
"Anniston, Ala., Voters Focus On
Hart's Style, Not on His Issues." A vir-
tually insignificant aspect of the
current race, then, is ideology. Mondale
calls himself a traditional Democrat,
while Hart labels himself a "Jefferson-
style Western populist." Neither calls
himself a liberal, at least not when
avoidable.
Mondale hopes to ride into San Fran-
cisco on the shoulders of traditional
Democratic backers. Hart talks about a
electoral base constituting a national
political phenomenon. In 1980, the'
presidential vote split largely by race
and sex, with blacks and women for the
most part sticking with Carter. Hart at-
tracks a sizeable female vote, claims
tshat he can capture the traditionally
Republican Western states, and has cut
into Mondale strongholds - union
members, lower-class Democrats - in
the early primaries. The result of the
candidates' struggle, then, may very
well be perceived as either reinstating
the traditional Democratic coalition or
ushering in a new era in Democratic
politics. Along the way, let us remember
that much more is at stake than selet-
ting a nominee.
iy
Scott Winkelman is editor-i-
chief of Consider and associate
editor of the Michigan Journal of
Political Science.

Party activists who helped boost George McGovern to success in the 1972
primaries could not win him the election. Now Gary Hart is basking in the
glory of such spectacular primary victories. But can he keep his followers
through Novermber 1984?

would consider it ludicrous not to confer
special interest upon constituencies
which consistently vote Democratic.
Gary Hart's use of the term, however,
has struck a responsive chord in the
hearts of many primary voters, and
such labels are hard to escape once
securely attached.
To what "special intersts," then, is
Gary Hart beholden? So far the answer
puzzles political analysts. College
students flock to the Hart campaign,

however embarrassing it may be to this
author, that the college vote is virtually
meaningless in presidential politics. If
John F. Kennedy and George
McGovern could not rally students to
vote, there is little reason to believe
Hart can. Furthermore, when young
adults do vote, they do not necessarily
vote Democratic. The campus activist
is not the typical young voter, as
McGovern painfully discovered in 1972
when he carried the college vote while

'I

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Edited and mornoged by students at The University of Michigan

Sinclair

4,ti

OA K. FTON

Vol. XCV--No. 131

420 Maynard St.,
Ann Arbor, M! 48109

K

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-C.,

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Here's'
E HAS a special competence
and special sensitivity," said'
former Vice President Walter Mondale
at a Senate reelection fundraiser in
1979. "If we lose Gary Hart it could
change the course of this entire
nation." Well, Senator Hart has-
definitely changed the course of the
Democratic primary process, and he
does appear to have the competence
and sensitivity that Mondale
recognized five years ago. His star-.
tling early successes have forced
questions of whether the voters are
responding to a Kennedyesque style or
whether they are responding to
specific ideas and character. But Hart
is more than the hairspray candidate
and he offers the greatest potential to
provide effective leadership for this
nation.
"Where's the beef?" Mondale quip-
ped during last week's debate in Atlan-
ta. In response, much of Hart's beef is
seen in his refusal to compartmen-
talize the national interest into isolated
groups with protected interests. Hart
has refused all "contributions from
political action committees and had
the courage in front of labor represen-
tating to defend his opposition to the
Chrysler bailout and domestic content
legislation. He explained that such
measures might benefit labor in the
short run, but damage the auto in-
dustry in the long run.
Hart is admittedly not a short term
candidate. His congressional record
and campaign rhetoric point to a policy
that looks more to the future collective
good than to the 'immediate isolated
favor. He has acknowledged and is at-
tempting to deal with the advance of

the beef
may be painful, but they reveal an
honest vision of where this country is
headed.
Hart's progressivism is also
revealed in his proposals for military
reform. The emphasis of his policy is
placed on small, cheap, reliable
weapons over high-tech, high-cost
weapons and on a maneuver strategy
of surprise rather than a "give 'em all
we've got" attrition strategy. With the
exception of his support for a nuclear
"build-down" in Western Europe, his
thinking on military issues is
refreshingly independent and lucid.
Hart has also shown that being in-
dependent doesn't mean being incon-
sistent. Based on his record in
Congress, Hart has received strong
approval from women's, civil liberties,
and environmental groups. When he
ran for reelection in Colorado in 1980
one women's group endorsed him over
a female candidate and his record in
the last two Congresses has earned
him a perfect vote rating from the
National Women's Political Caucus. In
addition, the ACLU rates his record on
civil liberties the highest in the Senate.
He is consistent when consistency is
required. His strong support of the
Alaska Lands Law has also won him
the respect of environmentalists. And
just because he's running against
Mondale doesn't mean he's not sym-
pathetic to labor - the AFL-CIO's
Committee on Political Education
gave him a career approval rating of
80 percent. Hart has pleased a lot of
people without making promises.
Gary Hart's greatest strength lies in
his ability to act decisively based upon
his convictions. The fact that he owes

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

4

Arguments against mandatory dues

To the Daily
I feel that your editorial on the
controversy over mandatory
GEO dues. (Daily, March 9)
significantly misrepresented the
position of our organization,
Graduate Students for an Open
University. We have been
characterized as a group of angry
graduate students who do not
want to pay our union dues. This
is true. However, the reason for
our anger is not the money in-
volved in the dues, as the repor-
ters at the Daily have repeatedly
implied. As I have tried to ex-
plain to your reporters, we have

retain the right to withhold finan-
cial support of the union.
3) They object to being in a
union for personal reasons and
resent being forced to support
one to do something they regard
as part of their graduate
education.
4) They find the idea of
unionizing such a transient group
as TAs to be unwise, since it en-
tails having present students
negotiate on the behalf of future
students.
BLOOM COUNTY

5) They feel that a closed shop-
policy should not be implemented
unless a majority of the TAs sup-
port it and therefore have signed
the petition to bring about such a
vote.
As evidenced by the above, the
TAs who are supporting the effor-
ts of Graduate Students for an

Open University are a diverse
group with different concerns. By
describing them as materialistic
malcontents, you have stripped
this issue of its depth and sub-
tlety. This is a disservice to all
TAs, as well as the rest of your
readers. - Julia L. Goldberg
March 14

Letters and columns represent the opinions of
the individual author(s) and do not necessarily
reflect the attitudes or beliefs of the Daily.
by Berke Breathed

I AtJCIS. MY MAN-, ATw

GON4NA HAVE WIWD55! WILt

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