If Democrats clean up tonight as expected, it’ll be a vindicating victory for Howard Dean. The DNC’s infamous screamer locked horns with many in his party over his “50-state strategy,” but this election his seemingly quixotic venture has borne fruit, the Hill reports. Barack Obama is within striking distance in places like North Carolina and Indiana, while Democrats could pick up congressional seats in deep-red Mississippi and even Alaska.
Opponents offer only grudging accolades for the DNC head. “It’s a partial vindication,” says one Democrat Dean detractor. “Who would have predicted the conviction of Sen. Stevens?” But it was Dean’s infrastructure improvements that allowed Democrats to capitalize on such good fortune, and Obama owes his huge grassroots success in part to Dean’s efforts. “He was reviled,” says one politics professor, “and this is his ultimate triumph.”