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The Young Democrats of Greater St. Louis are holding a Iowa returns watch party/mock St. Louis caucus on Thursday, January 3rd. From the release:

St. Louis, Mo. – Gearing up for the primary election season the Young Democrats of Greater St. Louis will welcome Democratic activists to The Royale Food and Spirits for an old fashioned caucus to pick a presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.

The event will begin at 8pm at the Royale Food and Spirits at 3132 South Kingshighway. The results of the caucus should be available around 9:30pm January 3rd while the rest of the night will be dedicated to watching the Iowa returns. You are invited to send a camera and/or reporter to watch the St. Louis Caucus as well as the Iowa Caucus results.

The Caucus will be hosted by 9th Ward Democratic Committeeman Ron Auer and will be monitored by Kyle Dubbert, Republican Supervisor of the Saint Louis City Election Board. While the caucus is non-binding, it will reflect the much anticipated Iowa Caucus and emphasis the caucus Missouri used to hold.

I’ll be there to support John Edwards, and below the fold, I’ll tell you why.

JohnEdwards.com

I won’t say anything about the other Democratic candidates. I think Democratic Party has generally fielded good candidates this time around, and they are all running on platforms more progressive than Gore in 2000 or Kerry in 2004. I would support any of the other candidates in the general election, should they gain the nomination.

John Edwards, with student volunteers on spring break 2006 in New Orleans.

For me, it boils down to the fact that in 2008, only 3 years after Bush appeared poised to begin the privatization of Social Security, the world  looks brighter. The progressive aims of universal health care, ending the war in Iraq and going to war only as a last resort, the transformation of our energy policy into one based on clean and renewable forms of energy, and curbing the outsized influence of corporations on our government, these are not just things I want but can only dream of; they are things that the rest of America wants, too. The moment is ours, if we push for it.

Enter John Edwards, an articulate yet plainspoken fighter for Democratic values. His political speeches combine discussions of policy with emotional arguments that hit you right in the gut. When you hear him speak, there’s no doubt where stands: for an end to the war, for universal health care (not just affordable access to health care), for unions, for a new drive toward clean energy, against the influence of big money in politics. It’s a much stronger version of Gore’s “the people vs. powerful” from 2000, and light years beyond Kerry’s “Hope is on the Way” schtick from 2004.

Prime examples:

His “Will You Stand Up?” speech at the DNC Winter Meetings in February:

And his recent “America Rising” speech in Boone, IA:

Now, if all John Edwards had going for him was a few good speeches, I wouldn’t think twice about supporting someone else. But when you look deeper at his policy proposals, they’re fantastic. From open government to tax simplification to his universal health care plan to food safety, you can  see more details at http://www.johnedwards.com/iss… And as the environmental journal Grist notes of John Edwards’ energy plan, he has “had a pied piper effect on the other candidates”, causing them to be bolder on everything from the environment to trade to health care.

And as great as all of this already is, it would mean little if John Edwards couldn’t win. But he actually has an excellent shot at winning the White House back for the Democrats. A recent CNN poll had Edwards cleaning the clock of leading Republicans in head to head polls. I’m also confident that he can help elect Democrats down the ticket; it’s not coincidence that Claire McCaskill asked him to campaign for her in Springfield, MO last summer.

As an unabashed Edwards supporter, I had planned to write an endorsement on this blog some time ago. Little did I know that leading lights in the progressive blogosphere like Atrios, Chris Bowers, Matt Stoller, MissLaura and the good folks at the Agonist would beat me to the punch. In addition to what I have said here, I would urge you to consider what they have to say, and to vote for John Edwards on February 5th.