Synergy: The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.
Since his loss in the Presidential Primaries, John Edwards seems to have been making all the right steps towards 2008. Surely, a win in 2004 would have been great for his chances, in 2012, but the loss that many saw as a death knell appears instead to be just one of the acting agents in his 2008 synergy.
Agent 1 - Losing the Presidential Primary. Heard much from John Kerry lately? No, because he's a loser. A direct loser. The loser of a Presidential election just doesn't get another shot too often, especially in this day and age and in this bitterly bipartisan culture that the immoral right has concocted. A lot of people, on the other hand, feel that Edwards was brought down by Kerry. So, as far as the Democratic electorate goes, he ended up with more national exposure without ending up with "Loser" branded on his forehead.
Agent 2 - Focusing on Kitchen Table Issues. Some folks would say this won't win you the Presidency, but I disagree. Not for the reasons you are thinking. I disagree because this strategy has lead John Edwards into a unique position come 2008. He is fighting RIGHT NOW for the little guy. He's the candidate of the people in Iowa, as you can see from this recent N&O piece.
"The winner of the Iowa caucus in 2004 had an overwhelming likelihood of being the nominee," Edwards said in an interview. "I think that likelihood remains the same. Iowa and New Hampshire dominate who the nominee is going to be."
There are residual good feelings here about Edwards. A Des Moines Register poll in June showed Edwards to be the leading choice of Democratic voters, with 30 percent. He was followed by New York Sen. Hillary Clinton with 26 percent, Kerry with 12 percent and Vilsack with 10 percent. Other candidates had less than 3 percent.
"People got to know him and love him in the last election," said Kevin Miskell, 47, vice president of the Iowa Farmers Union. "The state of Iowa took him in as part of the family. The polls show nothing has changed since the last election."
Without another office to bog him down, Edwards has been free to focus his efforts on confronting the issues most important to Americans. Kitchen table issues. Result, he has an early lead in Iowa, the first decision state, and he has a network of local activists already formed and excited..
"He draws big crowds -- no question about it," said Brent Wynja, vice chairman of the Story County Democratic Party. "He has a real loyal following. I'm a Kerry man myself. They [Edwards' backers] are stirred up and excited."
Result, he wins Iowa?
But, it doesn't stop there. Edwards has practically become the spokesmen for unions in this country. No other Dem has focused this much on unions, well, for as long as I can remember. His dad was a union man and he was a union man back in the summer job days at the textile mills. More imporantly, he has been out stumping for hotel employees in their union battles.
Edwards' stands on poverty and raising the minimum wage have helped him court labor, which largely backed Gephardt in the 2004 primaries.
Edwards has forged close ties with the new power in organized labor, the 6-million-member federation of unions known as Change to Win, which broke away last year from the AFL-CIO. It includes such unions as the Teamsters, textile workers, government workers and casino employees.
"John Edwards is an important ally for the American labor movement, and I am proud to call him a friend of the Teamsters," said Jim Hoffa, the Teamsters president, in introducing Edwards this summer at the union's convention.
Edwards seems to have gotten the Clinton camp's attention. After Edwards was the only potential presidential candidate invited to speak to Change to Win's convention in Las Vegas in March, former President Bill Clinton met privately with labor leaders. The New Republic magazine reported that the former president asked them to hold off on any endorsement decisions.
Change to Win held their convention in Las Vegas for all the obvious reasons - What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas - but also because Nevada politics is still largely run by the unions.
Result, he wins Nevada?
Which leads to...
Agent 3 - The New Caucus/Primary Schedule
1. Iowa Caucus
2. Nevada Caucus
3. New Hampshire Primary
4. South Carolina Primary
1. Iowa - Edwards has ground game in place, most imporant aspect of Iowa?
2. Nevada - Edwards has blessings of unions, most important aspect of Nevada?
3. New Hampshire...eh.
4. South Carolina. I lived in SC last time and I can tell you, he is a hometown boy and he will win SC. No matter what. Seriously. They haven't had a hometown Presidential candidate like this since Jackson.
Result, he wins South Carolina?
My family still lives in PA and I can tell you that rural PA loves him. If no PA dem is running, I think he will also win in PA. Add to that NC (c'mon, he'll win here) and you have a bunch of delegates right there. That still leaves open CA and NY (Clinton will probably win NY, right?), but I think you can see where I am heading here.
Early wins lead to more money, more endorsements, more energy. There is synergy in the air, and I think it spells nothing but good things for John Edwards.