November 4, 2004


Democrats' Losses Go Far Beyond One Defeat (Ronald Brownstein, November 4, 2004, LA Times)

In the struggle for political power, Democrats now face a stark threat: Under George W. Bush, Republicans are consolidating their control over the culturally conservative regions of the country.

The 2004 elections underscored that the nation's so-called red territories — areas that support the president — are becoming redder. And that threatens to leave Democrats at a long-term disadvantage in future races for the White House and battles for Congress.

Although Bush in Tuesday's vote made some inroads among swing groups such as Latinos and married women, exit polls and voting results in key counties across the nation suggested he won his second term mostly by increasing the GOP strength in places where the party was already strong — especially rural, small-town and fast-growing exurban communities.

Bush successfully defended 29 of the 30 states he won in 2000 — and increased his margin of victory in 19 of those 29. Exit polls showed he dominated among the same groups central to his much narrower win in 2000 — including regular churchgoers, married families and gun owners. And both the exit polls and voting results make clear that he inspired a huge surge of Republican turnout — just as he did in the 2002 midterm elections.

Just as important, his strength helped carry the GOP to substantial gains in congressional races across the red states. All six of the Democratic House seats that Republicans won Tuesday came in red states. (Four of them came in Bush's home state of Texas, where a new redistricting map benefited the GOP.)

Even more dramatically, Republicans captured six Democratic Senate seats in states that Bush carried twice, while losing only one red state seat, for a net pickup of five in those states. With those gains, Republicans now hold 44 of the 58 Senate seats in the 29 states Bush has carried twice, bringing the party to the edge of a majority even before contesting seats in the blue states that voted for Al Gore and John F. Kerry.

Which is to say, the natural Republican majority in the Senate is 60-40, even before you consider that such a dominant party is likely to pick up seats in Blue states.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 4, 2004 9:44 AM

If the Republicans were thinking really long term
(say 300 years and not just 30 or 40) they would
try to force through real increases in federalism
rather than continue the feast or famine cycle
whereby liberals and conservatives fight
tooth and nail to control the federal hegemon.

All it would take is outmigration from the liberal
bastions to the empty quarters over the next
two decades to return the New Deal allignment.

Posted by: J.H. at November 4, 2004 10:05 AM

I am concerned about cultivating voters in blue states as well as getting some of the bigger blue states with urban areas. Keeping Ohio, Arizona, Colorado and Florida are crucial to 2008 but we need a Pennsylvania or Michigan. New Jersey is too far gone and the GOP is nonexistent in NJ; however, Maryland at least has a good Republican governor and not a RINO . 

In addition, having the GOP start out 55 down with California instantly going blue is tough. One might say that the GOP counter to California is the South, my response is even though the GOP has solidily won the South for the past couple of elections, I think the Democrats could get competitive in the South by nominating a candidate who understands the South (not just a Southerner like an Edwards but a guy who is friendly and attractive to Southern voters because of his policies). Also, the South is easier to peel away because there are numerous states, unlike California which the GOP has to win outright.

Posted by: pchuck at November 4, 2004 10:29 AM

All the GOP has to do to retake CA is aggressively court Latinos and blacks on social issues.

Posted by: oj at November 4, 2004 10:42 AM

OJ isn't that what the GOP has been doing. It hasn't worked up to this point in time in California. By the way pchuck is absolutely correct that GOP should cultivate Blue State politicians like Romney and Guiliani for a Presidential run. I don't want to suffer this Red-Blue cr*p in 2008.

Posted by: h-man at November 4, 2004 11:17 AM

Actually, I'm not so interesting in getting Blue state politicans, I'm interested in getting more Blue state voters. I'm also not suggesting that we (the GOP) go Rockefeller or moderate, I just think we need to get more big states.

In response to OJ, we should continue to work on the black vote but that is so long term and we have discussed this before. Hispanics and Asians should be a big focus.

Posted by: pchuck at November 4, 2004 11:51 AM


They've just started. Blacks didn't switch from the party of Lincoln overnight and they won't from the party of LBJ.

Posted by: oj at November 4, 2004 11:55 AM

What I'd like to see from Republicans is now that they're in SOLID, they should go "bipartisan" in the Dems way and show the Dems exactly as much consideration as the Dems showed us when they were in power -- i.e. none whatsoever. Make them crawl and lick our boots like they made us crawl and lick theirs.

No quarter.
No mercy.

Posted by: Ken at November 4, 2004 12:59 PM

The demographics favor the GOP in PA and probably even in MI. Bush did better in PA this time. OH and WI are similar. After all the talk about MN, I was surprised that the margin there was not closer.

I wouldn't write NJ off, either. Bush lost by about 200,000 votes. Making inroads in the black and hispanic communities will pay dividends there more (quickly) than just about anywhere else.

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 4, 2004 1:03 PM

Both PA Senators are GOP.

Posted by: oj at November 4, 2004 2:02 PM

oj: Arlen Specter is a Republican? Whodda thunk?

I was looking at that purple map that has been going around the internet. Yeah, Pennsylvania and Michigan were real close and there is hope; however, Philadelphia is a pit of Democratic machine corruption.

New Jersey is such a Democratic machine and the GOP is an absolute mess. Unfortunately, Illinois also has a completely disfunctional state GOP.

Posted by: pchuck at November 4, 2004 9:48 PM