I watched Obama’s Springfield, IL speech declaring his candidacy and thought how great it would be to have a president like that after years of mismanagement and mediocrity in Washington. But I knew little about Obama except that he had delivered the keynote speech at the 2004 DNC convention.
I wrote the book Why the Democrats Will Win In 2008 to answer the burning question we all had in March 2007: Can he really win? For most people, including Mark Penn, director of the Clinton campaign, the answer was an easy “no.”
Being Black seemed to be an automatic disqualification. Then Colin Powell came to mind, and I remembered that he could have run for president in 1992. But Colin Powell’s politics were conservative. He was Reagan’s protégé and the hero of Iraq War 1, so he got a special pass on the race question. Obama, on the other hand, was certainly too progressive to ever make it to the nomination.
So I went to see Obama, and he told a group of us that his middle name was Hussein. I thought he must have been telling a joke. Barack Hussein Obama, a progressive Black Senator…for president? You’ve GOT to be crazy!
Then I wanted to know whether the campaign was worth getting my hopes up for and investing my time in.
I applied techniques used in predicting financial markets and researched theories of voting behavior. I applied them, in my own way, to the upcoming primary and general elections. The result was an analytical and quantitative study that concluded that not only could Obama win, but, in fact, he would win and had to win, because every indicator and political cycle cried out to me that now was his time. I finished the book in the summer of 2007 and told everyone that I had a strong case to make for victory, and that I could prove there was hope. Hope is essential to any effort. But hope needs more than a prayer; it needs firepower. No one becomes an astronaut or the president by accident or fortune.
By the time my book making the case for an Obama victory was first printed in bulk, in October, 2007, Obama was 20 points behind Clinton in the polls, and I was dismissed or ignored by just about everyone in the Democratic Party and the media.
Now my book is at the Library of Congress and posterity will know that I used my talents in novel ways to argue that Obama’s message was the right one, and I heard it early… And I will be remembered and measured not by what I possessed but by what I did at this turning point in history…
Daniel Bruno Sanz
New York, NY