Cleff Schecter, identified as “a Democratic Consultant and frequent contributor to the FoxNews Channel,” thinks the Democrats goofed by not convincing Jerry Springer to be their nominee for the Senate in Ohio.

Detractors said Springer could not have won, that he would have given the Democratic Party a black eye. While they had legitimate points, the truth of the matter is far more nuanced. Rejecting a Springer candidacy because it could fail is like refusing to drink water when you are dying of dehydration because it might be polluted.

The Democratic Party, which has recently seen success in Ohio elections on par with the Green Party, simply had nothing to lose. But they never gave his candidacy a chance, and with its disappearance, so has any chance of defeating incumbent GOP Sen. George Voinovich.

The shame of this whole episode is that the national party has been struggling to raise a quarter of the hard money banked by the GOP fundraising junta, and has had trouble recruiting candidates with the built-in name recognition of a Liddy Dole.

Finally, after a decade in the wilderness, Ohio Democrats could have gotten someone in their race who could attract mass media attention and spend millions without limitation as a candidate.

Springer, with his cult following among the downwardly mobile, would have made it more likely that the Democratic message reached just the rural and lower-income male voters the party has been trying to win back in recent years.

He goes on to explain why, aside from his talk show persona, Springer is actually a capable guy. That’s probably true. But it is precisely his talk show persona that has garnered him the fame Schecter prizes. The Democrats did well by not trying to win by attaching themselves to that image.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. JohnC says:

    Yea, I think this is a kind of popularity we can do without.