17 October 2014

U.S. Cong. Dennis Kucinich has scored a resounding victory in the online straw poll held by alternative news site Truthout.org. With almost 25,000 votes cast, the maverick Presidential candidate from Ohio had secured 44.5% of the total, more than 12 points ahead of his closest rival, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. For the Kucinich campaign, this is a significant development. Truthout is frequented by many mainstream progressives, similar to the constituency that gave Dean an impressive victory in last Spring's MoveOn.org poll.

The strong showing by Kucinch gives his supporters reason to hope that the tide may be turning to him among the Democratic party's progressive base. Kucinich supporters, or Kucitizens, as they have taken to calling themselves, have long complained that Dean is undeservedly given the antiwar mantle by the mainstream press, even though he supports the continued occupation of Iraq and publicly voiced support for the Biden-Lugar ammendment, which outlined precisely the course of action the Bush administration eventually took. This victory may be evidence, long cited by campaign workers on the ground in more anecdotal reports, that the activist progressives of Democrats, Greens, labor and minorities may be taking a second look at both Dean and Kucinich, and choosing the platform of the feisty Representative over his well-funded Vermont rival, crowned the "frontrunner" by pundits and the press.

Many activists on the left have hoped for just such a breakthrough, arguing that only by leaning on the left/progressive base can the party ignite the popular upsurge to unseat the Republicans in November's election. It remains to be seen whether a relatively unheralded online victory can be parlayed into the momentum that Kucinich and his supporters hope will propel him to the forefront of the quest for the Democratic Party nomination. But Kucitizens everywhere are quite content with this development tonight.