May 16, 2005


Democrats Covet the West, but Can't Keep Losing the South (Ronald Brownstein, May 16, 2005, LA Times)

Since President Bush's narrow reelection in November, many Democrats have looked longingly to the Mountain West as the party's best opportunity to rebuild an electoral college majority. And in the years ahead, states such as Colorado, Arizona and Nevada may indeed become more competitive political battlefields.

But new long-term population projections from the Census Bureau show that anyone who believes Democrats can consistently win the White House without puncturing the Republican dominance across the South is just whistling Dixie. The census projections present Democrats with an ominous equation: the South is growing in electoral clout even as the Republican hold on the region solidifies.

Veteran demographer William H. Frey, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank, this month extrapolated the census numbers into projections for the electoral college over the next quarter century. His conclusions, in a paper titled "The Electoral College Moves to the Sun Belt," framed challenges for both parties but raised the toughest questions for Democrats.

Overall, Frey forecast a continued shift in influence from "blue" states where Democrats have run best, primarily in the Northeast and Midwest, to "red" Sunbelt states that mostly have voted Republican in presidential elections since the 1960s.

The shift isn't precipitous, but it appears inexorable.

How is a party whose pitch is more death and higher taxes supposed to appeal to anyone?

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 16, 2005 10:00 AM

We should move the capital to the middle of Kansas.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 16, 2005 10:35 AM

If you're one of the people getting the direct benefits by those who are paying higher taxes why wouldn't you vote Dem?

Posted by: BJW at May 16, 2005 10:57 AM

Well, it sorta depends upon whose deaths you're talking about.

Posted by: Brandon at May 16, 2005 11:49 AM

The Democrats don't covet the South. People like John Edwards have been running away from it for 20 years.

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 16, 2005 12:21 PM


Because you're the ones they want to kill.

Posted by: oj at May 16, 2005 12:22 PM

city journal had an article awhile back, referring to the core of the democratic party as "tax eaters", because they depend on tax receipts for survival. groups like public union members, welfare recipients, counselors, social workers, etc.

Posted by: cjm at May 16, 2005 2:08 PM

Why does the MSM keep referring to Bush's "narrow" re-election? I thought it was one of the more solid margins in recent times. Does anyone remember the 2004 data compared to other recent Prez. elections?

Posted by: Tom at May 16, 2005 2:12 PM


Bush's re-election would have been characterized as 'narrow' had he won 40 states.

And if the GOP picks up 2 or 3 Senate seats in 2006 (and holds its margin or beter in the House), we'll still be hearing/reading about the evenly divided America.

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 16, 2005 3:16 PM

The West is not the South. Outside of areas where Mormonism predominates, Westerners are probably the least religious of Americans, certainly the least inclined towards having sectarian positions made the law of the land. When Democrats have won there, they have done so by defeating religious zealots.

People move West to get away from government not to have it micromanage their lives, OJ-style.

Posted by: bart at May 17, 2005 7:35 AM