News from the Votemaster
Richard Baehr wrote a very interesting piece on Fred Thompson. The bottom line is: be careful what you wish for; you might get it. A lot of GOP conservatives are moaning about the current presidential field: Giuliani has a Clinton-sized zipper problem, McCain is too much of a maverick, and Romney can't make up his mind what he's for. Enter the savior: Fred Thompson.
But do the Republicans really need a southern conservative at all? And if they do, what's wrong with Mike Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister with a proven track record as governor of Arkansas? Baehr makes the point that politics is becoming regionalized. In all of New England, the GOP has but a single House seat (Chris Shays in Connecticut) and they are hugely outnumbered in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. The North is lost. So is the Pacific Coast, with Arnold being a bit of an anomaly (a Republican who acts like a liberal Democrat). Of course, the South is fairly strongly Republican, although with Democratic governors in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana, the GOP has to at least pay attention.
No, the real battles are going to be fought in the Midwest and the Interior West, and these states, which have long been Republican, are trending Democratic, what with the governors of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, and even Iowa all being Democrats. The problem is that westerners tend to be libertarians--keep the government off my ranch and out of my life--and Southern conservatism is strongly in favor of government interference in personal affairs (abortion, gay marriage, Terri Schiavo, etc.). A slogan like "Vote for me and I'll have the government legislate good morality" just doesn't cut it in the West. The Republican candidate has to have substantial appeal in the West in order to win. In that regard, the pro-choice, pro-gay Giuliani might not be such a bad choice and neither would McCain. Running a Southerner as the Republican nominee will absolutely clinch Alabama for sure, but it wasn't really in play to start with.
For the Democrats, the situation is quite different. Running liberals from the Northeast, say John Kerry or Hillary Clinton, makes Massachusetts a slam dunk, but that doesn't play as well everywhere. If the Democrats were to go for a Southern ticket, say John Edwards (NC) combined with Wesley Clark (AR) or Jim Webb (VA), all of a sudden Virginia, North Carolina, and Arkansas would be in play. It's an odd situation, but the Republicans need to avoid a Southerner and the Democrats might be advised to pick one. Karl Rove probably would agree with this analysis: Hit the other guy where he is strongest.
This page is the prototype for 2008. The data and map will refer to previous elections until serious polls begin in 2008. The blog will be updated when there is interesting news about the 2008 races.Preview of the 2008 races: President Senate House
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-- The Votemaster