Garance Franke-Ruta

Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor at the Prospect. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. She was a 2006 recipient of a fellowship at the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University.

Recent Articles

From's Last Stand

Al From is quivering with rage. It's the end of a long day in late July at the Wyndham Philadelphia, and with a sheen of sweat coating his face, he gleams with emotion as he launches into the closing speech of the day at the DLC's annual conference. It's a grim speech, delivered in rousing, impassioned tones more vehement than any other speech that day. "We cannot allow our party to be hijacked!" thunders From, railing against the leftists who have been his bête noire since he founded the DLC in 1985. "The future of our party and more importantly the future of our country is at stake." Surrounded by supportive state senators and fresh-faced New Democratic governors, From, CEO of the DLC, is in his element. His anger has been foreshadowed by other discouraging conference speakers, whom The New York Times found "glum," "combative" and tending toward "pessimism" and The Washington Post dubbed "defensive" and "gloomy." "What we're fighting for is the definition of the party," From later...

Team Spirit

Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) leads the field of nine Democratic presidential candidates in the amount of money he's raised from people wealthy enough to donate $2,000 each, according to a recent report in The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. But the floppy-haired Tarheel has also led the field in another, less heralded area, according to a line-by-line analysis the Prospect conducted of his July 15, 2003, report to the Federal Election Commission (FEC): the number of campaign staffers who gave to the campaign on the final day of the last quarter. The second-quarter FEC report showed that 30 Edwards staffers, advisers and individuals at firms consulting on the campaign donated money to the Edwards effort -- as did the candidate himself -- during the final five days of the filing period; what's more, 22 of them gave on the final day. Without these donations, the Edwards campaign, which fell short by $500,000 of its second-quarter goal of $5 million, would not have reached $4.5 million...

Dean's Machine

Democracy may be an endless meeting, but on the first Wednesday in June, former Gov. Howard Dean's (D-Vt.) troops in Washington proved that if you try really hard, you can get it down to about an hour and a half. Around 80 people crammed into Visions Cinema, a movie-theater-cum-lounge on Florida Avenue NW, and spilled out into the street for that amount of time earlier this month while volunteers from DC for Dean talked up the charismatic candidate and passed the hat -- and federal donor-registration forms -- for the man who would be president. At first the scene looked chaotic. "For the next 45 years we're going to be fucked over with the national debt," Michael Fierro was telling his friend as I walked into the room. Louritha Green, craning her neck over a line of people waiting to get into the narrow bar area of Visions, asked, "I wonder who's leading this?" Matt Hunter, also in line, had his own burning question -- "Are there sign-up sheets?" -- and was eager to tell me about the...

Hard Rock

Today Howard Dean's campaign announced that it has raised at least $7.5 million in the second quarter of 2003 -- a higher number than has yet been raised by any other Democrat running for president in a single quarter -- from more than 59,000 people, including 48,000 first-time donors to the campaign. Only 129 donors gave $1,000 or more, according to a report by the campaign; 18,422 gave less than $50. On Monday, the Dean campaign raised $802,083 on the Internet from more than 11,000 people, including more than 9,000 donors new to the campaign. All told, more than 70,000 people have now given to Dean. When the history of this past week in the Democratic primaries is written, the relative impact of MoveOn.org, Meetup.com and "smartmobbing" technology on Dean's ability to raise such an unexpected sum will all feature prominently. But reading the threads on the message boards at BlogforAmerica.com -- the official Web log of the Dean campaign, where donors discuss their reasons for giving...

Zero Sum

At midnight tonight, voting will close in the first online Democratic presidential primary ever. The vote is being sponsored by the San Francisco-based liberal activist group MoveOn; an estimated 300,000 of the group's more than 1.4 million U.S. members are expected to cast online ballots. And by Friday, one clear winner will have emerged: MoveOn itself. The primary was designed, according to MoveOn organizing director Zack Exley, to give the group's members a voice in the presidential nominating contest at a stage normally dominated by "pollsters, pundits and people who can write $2,000 checks." The online nominating contest requires that a candidate win 50 percent of the vote in the field of nine in order to get the endorsement of MoveOn's political action committee (PAC) and support from its vast, potentially lucrative network of small donors -- support that will very likely be worth millions and could come before the crucial second-quarter of presidential primary fundraising ends...

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