election'08: the race to clean the place
Regardless of the outcome of the election, it is undeniable that we are in the midst of a major change within the political identification of a large swath of American voters.
The electoral map, once regionally dominated by red states in the South, Great Plains states and the West and blue states concentrated in urban coastal areas, is now a polka dot of red and blue with red states frequently turning purple to light blue.
One of the legacies of President Bush's electoral triumph, whether through guile, good luck, innovative use of statistical information or downright felonious activity is that he polarized the nation like no other.
A look at the splits from 2000 and 2004 from a chart at Realclearpolitics.com shows Bush's dominance in these now traditional red states.
Whereas, the two previous election cycles featured enormous swings in support for either candidates, Bush beat Kerry by 20 points in Indianfor instance and Gore trounced Bush by 27 and 25 in Massachusetts and New York. This time around Obama can claim to have closed the gap significantly in every state Bush won sans Alabama where Obamamania is still as comfortable as a cow in a leather jacket.
Here's realclearpolitics.com's electoral chart:
Obama's lasting electoral triumph will likely be increasing the shading of the West to blue. Colorado, which was not on the Democrats radar four years ago is likely to go Obama's way, while New Mexico, which had been teetering on blue for two elections is solidly in his column.
If New Mexico was a target for Democrats before, it is likely that states like South Dakota and Montana with their gunslinger Democrat in the governor's mansion could be the new battleground states in 2012.
Yet, it would be wise to remember only four years ago Karl Rove was trumpeting the same rhetoric in regards to an emerging GOP domination.
Dick Polman at philly.com writes:
It was a mere four years ago when Bush's top political guru was suggesting that an extended era of GOP dominance was at hand; in his words, 'we may be seeing part of a rolling realignment.' Well, the nation's pragmatic voters have apparently nixed his dream. And it would appear that the Obama camp has no desire to go the way of Karl Rove. Political will is frighteningly fleeting, but a possible Obama administration has the political landscape of Bush in 2004 without the baggage the president still carries today and by proxy John McCain. Obama's brief honeymoon period coupled with a Democratic Congress, done correctly, could set the stage for the expansion of the Democratic rule.