Howard Dean is the reason Blog for Iowa exists. BFIA is one of the original state blogs of Democracy For America. There are others still out there. A decade after Dean’s presidential campaign, former Deaniacs are still the most politically active individuals you’ll find. That is one of the best parts of the Dean legacy.
Recently, someone said to me, “I’m sorry, but the only thing I know about Howard Dean is the scream.” So to all of you youngsters or those of you who were asleep in 2004, the photo on this page more accurately captures the true spirit of the 2004 Dean campaign than the the stupid media-created Dean scream, in case you were wondering what it was all about.
~It’s hard to believe it was ten years ago tonight. On this day a decade ago — January 19, 2004 — I gave one of the most famous speeches in the history of American politics. Or perhaps “infamous” would be more accurate.
I’m guessing you might remember the climactic moment of that night, as I enthusiastically rallied my presidential campaign supporters in the aftermath of a disappointing finish in the Iowa Caucus:
“Not only are we going to New Hampshire, Tom Harkin, we’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico! And we’re going to California and Texas and New York! And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we’re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House!”
While the “Dean Scream” became fodder for late night comedians, including a hilarious version by Dave Chappelle I still laugh about, I also feel very proud of the state-by-state preamble to my unforgettable rallying cry. Because, when I said we were heading to New Hampshire and South Carolina and Oklahoma… and to Washington, DC to take back the White House… it turns out I wasn’t kidding.
In a funny way, that moment was the launch of the 50 State Strategy — a leave-no-community-behind framework for change that transformed the Democratic Party in the years to come, fueling my campaign to become DNC Chair in 2005 and the fight to take back Congress in 2006 and the presidency in 2008.
Ten years later, the organization I founded to carry on the empowerment ethos of my presidential campaign — Democracy for America — is stronger than ever and the 50 State Strategy continues to this day.
If you appreciate what DFA has accomplished over the last decade, will you contribute to help support DFA and its members for the next ten years? Click here to chip in $3:
Since 2004, DFA — fueled by more than 1 million members across America — has:
+ Trained over 75,000 people from Florida to Alaska on how to win campaigns
Helped elect progressive leaders like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, state legislators from New Hampshire to Washington, and candidates to the Board of Education in places like Texas
+ Fought for workers’ rights in Ohio and Michigan and helped lead the recall election against Scott Walker in Wisconsin
+ Defended a woman’s right to choose by supporting candidates like Wendy Davis in Texas and organizations like Planned Parenthood, while also taking on — and defeating — regressive anti-choice ballot initiatives in red states like South Dakota and Oklahoma
+ Empowered our members to lead the national fight against fracking in Congress and locally in the Northeast and California
+ Mobilized local DFA groups like Northside DFA in Chicago, DC for Democracy, and Democracy for New York City to change their communities and local governments
While we have accomplished a great deal since 2004, we still have a lot of work ahead of us — and the biggest hurdle our country faces is income inequality. As my friend Robert Reich said on a recent DFA conference call we did together, the ever-widening gap between the ultra-wealthy and the middle class is crushing the American dream.
As you know, DFA is fighting every day for economic justice. Just within the last few months, DFA has been spearheading battles to extend unemployment benefits, raise the minimum wage, prevent cuts to food stamps, stop bad trade deals, and expand Social Security.
It’s an ambitious agenda for America and I’m extremely proud of our team for taking it on. I am amazed by where we have come from, how much we have grown, and what we have accomplished. And, of course, we could not have created so much change without the help of DFA members like you.
Help us continue the work we started ten years ago. Chip in $3 to support DFA’s relentless focus on income inequality and electing progressive changemakers across America this November:
Thank you so much for your support. Together, nothing can hold us back.
Founder, Democracy for America