HAMDEN – Former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean describes the 2016 election as “reality television comes to politics.”
FOX 61 caught up with the former Democratic National Committee chairman while he was in Hamden on Thursday. Dean was invited to speak to students at the spring initiation ceremony for Quinnipiac’s chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national honor society for political science students.
Dean said the political landscape was very different when he ran for president in 2004, but it’s even changed since the last presidential election in 2012. He said that’s not because of the candidates.
“People are just fed up with the whole system,” said Dean. “You’ve had people run before who were way different than most politicians. It’s just they’ve never had this kind of support before.”
In 2004, Dean drew criticism for an outburst during a speech after the Iowa caucuses, which was later dubbed the "Dean Scream."
He told FOX 61, “I didn't lose because of the 'scream speech'. I lost because I was the front-runner who came in third in Iowa. When you do that, it's not a good sign.”
But in this election, outbursts and statements deemed outrageous to some don’t seem to be bothering voters.
“Those kinds of people are attractive at times when folks are feeling they want change. As one of my friends says, they don’t want to just reset the table, they want to kick the table over,” said Dean. “This is a very different campaign this year and it's because people are willing to tolerate stuff in the name of kicking the table over that they would never have tolerated before.”
Dean endorsed Hillary Clinton very early on, and has been campaigning for the former secretary of state. But he says the Republican race is the one to watch this year.
“This is going to be the wildest convention in my lifetime on the Republican side.”