I am not ready to start doing a regular series on 2008 Democratic Presidential rankings yet, but I would like to use this thread to solicit the input of the MyDD community on how they would like 2008 rankings to operate this cycle. So, I would like you to answer some questions for me.1. What should the 2008 rankings be called?
Like many other netroots old timers, I was weaned on the weekly Dailykos Cattle Calls back in 2003. Given this, I would rather not step on Kos's toes, and operate a regular ranking system using the same name. If anyone has a different name I can use besides "cattle call," suggest it in the comments. I really would like to come up with something that would distinguish our rankings from what happens at Dailykos.2. Who should I include in the rankings?
I would like to develop some sort of public criteria in order to determine which candidates and potential candidates to list in the rankings. Right now, here is how I size up the field:
- Officially In: Bayh, Gravel, Vilsack
- In all but officially: Biden, Clinton, Dodd
- Probably In: Clark, Edwards, Obama, Richardson
- Probably Out: Gore, Kerry
- Out: Daschle, Feingold, Warner
Who am I missing? I remember something about a former Oregon Governor possibly running, but I don't remember his name. There are also always longshots you don't expect--does anyone have any leads? I would lean against including Gore and Kerry in the rankings at this time, because on balance their actions and words seem to indicate they are not going to run. On the other hand, I would élan toward including Clark, Edwards, Obama and Richardson, even though (I think) none of them have exploratory committees at this point. Is that wrong? What criteria should I use to list people in the full rankings, and when should I just include people in the "possible others" category at the bottom of the rankings? Should I only include people who have official committees or exploratory committees, for example?3. What criteria should I use to rank people?
Once we have a name and figured out who is being ranked, it would be appropriate to have a public rationale behind how people are ranked. Should it be ranked by who is ahead at any given moment? Should it be ranked according to chances to win the nomination? Should it be ranked by community vote? Should it be ranked by netroots and progressive movement support? I would lean toward "chance to win the nomination," but I'd like to hear your input.
Just as importantly, what criteria should I not use? Should, for example, national polls be thrown entirely out the window? Should I not bother looking at money until at least late March, once the Q1 numbers are in? How much weight should I give to leads in early states or, for that matter, leads in online polls? Should I take the perceived quality of campaign staff into account? Endorsements form politicians? Union and advocacy group support?4. Should I use a subjective or an empirically based system?
I lean towards subjective, but an empirical system would cause fewer fights. I conducted an "empirical cattle call" back in 2003, and I might be able to whip up a better version this time around. Then again, ignoring the intangibles of momentum swings, party support, tone of media coverage, and other factors would probably make the rnakings less useful.5. How regularly should I conduct the rankings?
Markos used to do the rankings every week. However, I don't think I would bother with that until at least September of 2007. Before then, I would like to do one before the New Year, one in January, and then two every month until September. Do you think that is too little? Too much? I would like to know what you can stand.
Anyway, any feedback you could provide on how you would like to see these rankings run would be useful. I want these rankings to be something the community will enjoy, and that will be more than just rehashing tired conventional wisdom. I would also like these rankings to be a fun place where people can chat about the campaign in open dialogue, rather than turn into a series of petty flame wars. Like in my Senate and house rankings, I will need your help to make it happen. Let me know what you want to see.