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The Real Lessons of Howard Dean: Reflections on the First Digital Campaign

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 March 2005

Matthew Hindman
Arizona State University (


Howard Dean's presidential bid was notable for many things, including the mixed reaction it drew from political scientists. Many scholars found Dean's ultimate failure predictable. Longstanding political science wisdom suggests several explanations for Dean's defeat: the central issue of electability, which seemed to weigh heavily against his campaign; the fact that primary voters are more moderate than party activists; the well-documented difficulty of regaining lost momentum. Less systematic factors—such as numerous verbal gaffes and one infamous scream—surely contributed as well.Matthew Hindman is an assistant professor of political science at Arizona State University ( This research was supported by the National Center for Digital Government, with funding from the National Science Foundation under grant no. 0131923. The author thanks Jennifer Hochschild, Larry Bartels, Chris Karpowitz, Gabriel Lenz, David Lazer, Alan Abramowitz, James McCann, and the three anonymous reviewers for their contributions.

© 2005 American Political Science Association

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