Tuesday, July 27, 2004

What's the Story

One question the media seems to shy away from is this: What makes about 20,000 people (excluding the media) people attend this thing for 4 days. What makes people get excited about this? What makes this fun for people? While we hear a lot about people being turned off about politics, a lot of people are actively engaged. A lot of people are giving money. A million people have donated to John Kerry. A small percentage of the population, sure, but still a lot of people. You can't say people are donating out of some narrowly defined perception of self-interest -- people are donating because they want to feel involved.

Here, people are excited. Sure, there's the usual layer of cynicism and a lot of celebrity spotting. But, remember that most of the celebrities are politicians. They're the rock stars here.

There does seem to be a sense here that everything is coming together in the right way. People expect to win. I know the theme of the week is "we are so damn united!" but there's something genuine about it. It isn't the "anybody but Bush" idea that people keep pushing either.

About 14 months ago it was probably CW that the candidate would be Kerry. It was what I thought, anyway. Then the Iraq war came along and messed things up, Dean roared his might roar, and Kerry was in the single digits. I think I declared him toast at some point in December.

Overall, there's a greater sense that the details matter less than the big picture. And, the big picture is that Kerry is a candidate who can win, and he'll be a pretty damn good president. Optimism is spilling over in other places -- the NC Dems were convinced that Erskine Bowles will take the Senate seat there, which would be a big coup.

On the whole, things feel pretty okay. But, maybe that's because I've read/watched almost no media since I've been here.