War Room Tactics
I really think that momentum is key -- orchestrating the campaign to peak at just the right moment.
For example, Dean had been campaigning heavily in Iowa for months, and all indicators suggested he would win that state's Caucuses with ease. However, in the final couple of weeks, Kerry's popularity surged. Even in the final days, it appeared that Dean would still win, with Kerry predicted a close second. Of course, Kerry took the state with a commanding margin; but the real surprise was Edwards placing a very strong second, displacing a "firmly established" Dean. (Kerry took 38% of the state's delegates, Edwards 32%, and Dean 18%.) Consider the political landscape just days prior to Iowa's results: CNN - Dean, Clark top Democratic choices, poll says. (Kerry was tied nationwide with Lieberman for third, while Edwards isn't even mentioned in this article!) My interpretation is that Dean peaked far too early in Iowa, while Kerry and Edwards know how to pace a campaign and connect with voters.
To beat an incumbent, you must convince voters of two things: First, the current administration is not doing the job they should be; and second, you can do better. I expect that the emphasis on defeating Bush is now transitioning to an emphasis on electing Kerry. The ball is starting to roll, and I don't see much that Bush-Cheney can do other than a lot of hysterical arm waving and nasty finger pointing. My hope is that Kerry-Edwards will emphasize positive change during this stretch, and let Bush-Cheney hang themselves with their own negativisms.
Ref: CNN - Kerry wins Iowa; Gephardt to bow out