November 8, 2004


Democrats Need a Red-Blooded Candidate to Stanch Losses (Ronald Brownstein, November 8, 2004, LA Times)

Maybe Democrats will find a way to argue about the reason for the sweep by President Bush and congressional Republicans last week. But the answer, and the lesson, appears about as clear as these things ever get: The Democrats need to widen the electoral battlefield.

In the congressional and presidential races, Democrats maintained the core of their support in the blue states that Al Gore won in 2000. But at both levels, the Democrats made scant headway in the red states Bush won last time.

That left Sen. John F. Kerry with too narrow a margin of error for reaching 270 electoral college votes and congressional Democrats with too few options for reversing the GOP majority. It also allowed Bush, far more than Kerry, to take the offense and erode the edges of the other side's coalition.

"We were not pressuring them in as many places as they were pressuring us," said Steve Elmendorf, Kerry's deputy campaign manager. "We were never really in play in a whole bunch of states Bush had won four years ago, and he was pushing us hard in states we won four years ago." [...]

Partly because his own base was so strong, Bush was able to mount challenges for more Democratic terrain. Bush gained 48% or more in six states that Gore carried. Although Bush still fell well short in the Northeast, he significantly improved his performance in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Only in five of the 18 Gore 2000 states was Bush held to 43% or less.

And the GOP will rather easily carry WI, MN, MI, and OR next time--indeed, the numbers this time show that the President probably would have carried them had the economy been just a a tiny bit stronger or the troops been out of Iraq.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 8, 2004 9:05 AM

They derided Zell Miller. I hope GW keeps old Zell in mind for something in his administration.

Posted by: Genecis at November 8, 2004 12:46 PM

I don't know. Without the Bushitler hatred that brought lots of Dems to the polls, I'm not sure that they can repeat this turn out effort.

On the other hand, as terror recedes from the foreground, ironically because of our successes, I'm not sure that Reps can repeat this turn out effort.

All that being considered, I would guess that Florida eventually goes blue, but that Republicans are compensated with WI and Minn and Iowa and Michigan and perhaps eventually PA.

Posted by: AML at November 8, 2004 1:06 PM


It all depends on who the the candidates are. A Zell Miller-like Democrat running against an Arlen Specter-like Republican could cause some red states to go blue and vice versa.

Posted by: Vince at November 8, 2004 2:02 PM


The Right isn't voting terror and it had a 6% advantage in '02. It'll be at least that in '06 and that means the realignment will continue.

Posted by: oj at November 8, 2004 3:37 PM


No, that's the thing of it, they don't. There were plenty of good Republicans who lost to hack Democrats from 1932 to 1980. Dominance gets ugly.

Posted by: oj at November 8, 2004 3:43 PM