January 16th, 2008
12:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Gergen: The political ground shifting underfoot

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/16/art.gergen.cnn.jpg caption= "CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen."](CNN) - From about 30,000 feet, here's what the political landscape looks like to me today, just after Michigan and the Democratic debate in Nevada:

- The terrain for the general election is moving even more strongly in the Democrats' favor. With results in from four states, Republicans have at least four - arguably five - candidates bunched together at the top - each one of whom can win the nomination but no one of whom inspires all the party faithful. That's not a promising scenario for a party whose strength on election day has depended heavily upon an army of excited volunteers. Meanwhile, Democrats are choosing between two candidates, each of whom can win and can also rally the party in November.

Read Gergen's complete analysis over at the AC 360 Blog!

Filed under: David Gergen
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. LTate

    David, even though Sen. Obama has excited alot of democrats and Sen. Clinton has her loyal followers and the Republicans seem disspirited, don't you think if Hillary is the democratic nominee THAT will excite the republicans and they will come out fighting in Nov.?

    January 16, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. charlotte

    Hey David,What with all the green house gas etc. in the air, how can you even see the ground @30,000 feet.

    January 16, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. JD, WI

    Does AC-360 stand for Anti Clinton-360?

    I have always been a big fan of both David Gergen and Anderson Cooper .
    But their current Anti-Clinton reporting has diminished the quality of AC-360.
    This shows that all these reporters are impartial only till they get to the top.
    Once they get there they lose the credeibility, and forget the very standards that helped them to get their.
    It's alarming how CNN has become Anti-Clinton.
    I have a feeling that other than Wolf Blitzer, Candy Crawly and John Roberts (who try stay in the middle) everyone else are more or less biased against the Clintons.

    January 16, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  4. Jen Cedar Falls, IA

    I've heard Gergen speak, at a convention. He's a Clinton mouthpiece.

    January 16, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. :

    Spoken like the true Democratic operative that he is.

    He will be rewarded with position in a future Clinton Administration. He was of course a part of the last Clinton Administration that gave us NAFTA and the WTO that has destroyed our manufacturing base. But lets not let logic intrude into this debate.

    January 16, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. mike

    This has been a devastating campaign from the Clinton's point of view. They have alienated the African American vote as evidenced by the michigan primary of uncommitted voters. meanwhile, Obama has kept his base and gained much more African American voters. Is this because he is more likeable and trustworthy thand Hillary, as some polls and related comments to those polls for last nights debate suggest. Hillary seems like the better Washington politician and Barrack just resonates with peoples dreams. I think that whoever wins they both have to be on each others ticket, for the sake of the party and lost votes.

    January 16, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. david

    michigan deserved a voice in this primary at least clinton left her name on the ballot while obama and edwardsdid not they chose todo their usual whining about clinton if there was an award for the whiniest indivuals on earth these two would tie for first place

    January 16, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  8. oliver

    Don't count on it.

    January 16, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Keith Poremsky, Dearborn, Mi

    David, you are another one who would tell the American people that they have no choice. Now you have the presidential race down to two people, excluding Edwards and Kucinich. Regardless of what the polls show, the media has decided to pick our candidates for us. Clinton, Obama and Edwards did not stand up for Kucinich's right to be in debates. Next, John Edwards will be excluded from future debates. The news media is just as corrupt as the administration

    January 16, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Robert Bell

    If Hillary gets the nod, and McCain get the Republican nomination, it could be an easy McCain victory.

    I mean, if the choice is only between two Republicans (Clinton and McCain) you might as well pick the more honest and capable of the two, right?

    My thought, anyway.

    January 16, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. ratt

    The Michigan democratic party chose to shut off the democratic voters voice, not any of the candidates.

    January 16, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. Elisabeth, Burlington, VT

    I think there is some validity in David's assessment. It seems that the republican party has problems rallying around one or two candidates, which may put them at a disadvantage in November. The Democrats, meanwhile, seem to have narrowed the field to two or three candidates, showing a bit more solidarity. I do agree with LTate, though, that a Clinton nomination may bring the republican voters out en masse because they cannot stand to see another Clinton in the White House.

    January 16, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. Jack K.

    I believe a lot of conservatives, like me, are disillusioned with the long term impact of inappropriate deregulation in the financial, oil/gas, and imort/export industries–both parties share a lot of blame–but the Republican Revolution and the Contract with America-really speed balled a lot of Reagan ideas–and has resulted in a reduction in the quality of life of many Americans. The promises to reduce the size of government, reduce the impact of government in our daily lives, and reduce the cost of government–have not been met.

    Economists–from all schools have warned us of the tremendous trade deficit with China–yet no meaningful action has been taken by our government to level the playing field to ensure: fairness to American workers, comparable environmental and safety responsibilities (the U.S. has led the world in) are being ignored by the very nations we are doing business with–and still little action has been taken by our industry leaders or our elected representatives to correct the ills.

    That said–I'm not sure who to vote for!!
    The status qou...isn't working. The ideals of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan have been bastardized to the extent it has impacted our internal economic security–and the quality of life of Americans–to the point there is massive dissent in the populace on the capitalistic ideal...which is pushing many Americans towards more socialistic ideals.

    The extreme right and the extreme left have become frightenly absurd...and the center seems to have lost faith in the ability of conservatives to adequately regain control and recreate the quality of life Americans expect.

    Tough times ahead.

    January 16, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. Elaine in Kentucky

    I have enjoyed Anderson Cooper's reporting so much in the past but now that he has started this anti Clinton "analysis" it takes away a lot of his credibility on other issues. I wish he could have stayed with the facts. Reporters should know when you begin tearing down any candidate based on your opinion you are really tearing yourself down.

    January 16, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. Justice

    David, i think the Republicans are scared of the clintons and they know she will be tough to be especially considering her involvement in major intelligence cxommittee activities and Foreign relations esperience. Add that to her husband. The republicans will say they want her but that is a lie. In politics, you aways pretend you want the guy who is hard to be. By saying that the base of the person(Democrats will not vote for him but rather choose somebody like Obama who we all know hasn't got experience, has only been in the Senate and only campaigning on hope but my friend, in times of war, the USA is not ready to gamble with somebody of little experience like Obama. If the democrats make a mistake and select Obama, they should know that they have lost the elections because, America will never vote for someone without experience in times of war. Go back to Vietnam. When everyone was demanding pull out the troops, and the opposition was popular, the American people voted for experience and the american people will always support the troop. Obama is not the right pertson this time. Either Mccain or Clinton will be good for America.

    January 16, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  16. Brian

    Mitt has won more delegates than all other candidates combined. Mitt won more delegates in Iowa than McCain did in NH.

    Why can't the media recognize Mitt as the clear front runner?

    I suspect corporations don't like Mitt because Mitt doesn't need their money. He can't be bought. So they quietly tell their news outlets to play him down. He's got the cash, and he's got the integrity. We should be thrilled that Mitt can't be bought by interests! This is a key strength.

    January 16, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  17. Mary, Michigan

    ATTENTION everyone! David Gergen is NOT a Democratic operative. He's a REPUBLICAN who has served in the REAGAN, NIXON, and FORD administrations. Get the FACTS people!

    January 16, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  18. Karen

    I don't happen to agree with David Gergen. I am a Democrat and am just like the Repubs and unhappy with my choices. I am tired of the Dem party wanting social welfare and Repub party wanting corporate welfare. I am tired of all of them on illegal immigration. I am not tired of what they aren't getting done. I am fed up with what they have done to this country. They have sold us out and I don't see that changing as the people keep focusing on the presidential nomination instead of focusing on Congress which actually makes the law in this country.

    January 16, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. Eric-Houston, TX

    I enjoyed Mr. Gergen's book on leadership and have been listenting to his commentary/analysis since the McNeil/Lehrer News Hour days. If anything, CNN might be guilty of pandering to the youth market, hence perhaps better spin for the perceived youth candidate, Obama. I agree with the analysis on the Dems–did you hear Hillary call for a 90 day moratorium on foreclosures? Is this a planned economy now? If I heard him correctly, Obama wants to raise capital gains taxes now? Eek. As Rudy said the other day, it's not "change" that's important...it's "what kind of change...good or bad?"

    I'm still hoping Rudy can pull a rabbit out of his hat on this one.

    January 16, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Ken

    The internal dysfunctionality–the unholy alliance of Evangelicals, Libertarians and Corporatists–of the Republican Party has finally revealed itself. There is no one candidate that is satisfactory to all three.

    That said, November will still be interesting. No one knows how to lose an election like the DNC.

    January 16, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. grant

    Obama can rally millions of new voters to the democrats, unless he doesn't get the nomination. Don't think that all these new voters are going to say, 'Gee, i got involved because of obama, but I guess hillary will do...' That won't happen, they will stay home and the rest of the Democratic party will be torn due to hillary's high negatives. Likeability matters; it will be much easier to build a coalition(including independents and republicans) around obama than to get those within the democratic party who are strongly predisposed against hillary to come around and begin to accept her. Bottom line: a hillary nomination fractures her party and has the opposite effect on the republicans, possibly bringing down congressional control, which an obama campaign would solidify and possibly increase to a fillibuster proof margin.

    grant lindsey

    January 16, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. Erica


    I often watch you on CNN and it is clear to me that most of your comments are colored by your support for the Clintons. We all have our leanings. However, as a reporter, who on many occasions is apparently supposed to speaking impartially, I find it unfortunate that you are not better able to remain a 'fair and balanced" commentator. However insightful I often find your comments to be, it would be great it you could hide your favoritism a little better.

    January 16, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. California voter

    I agree with many others here with regard to the media's reporting. It's become much more biased to to point that I am appalled by what some of them say. Those who are "reporters" have become so biased that they no longer are reporting the news - they are political commentators. Let's get a better balance from all sides of the reporting media. We already have an overabundance of "talking heads" who do nothing more than stir up items that are really taking voters away from the substantive issues. I've started watching C-SPAN when I can so I don't have to listen to the constant babble about nothing on the part of the news media.

    January 16, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. Mike

    And that is Barack Obama, david, let's agree on that one......Right?

    January 16, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. Mary, Michigan

    Continuing (I hit enter too soon)-Yes, he did work in the Clinton administration, but he put his politcal views aside to serve in that one.

    January 16, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
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