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November 5, 2004
AP: Democrats Losing Ground In Middle America

The AP notes that the final tallies in Iowa and New Mexico show that George Bush took the former blue states from Democrats as expected, indicating that the Democrats have increasingly isolated themselves to the two coasts in the past several elections:

The Democrats' defeat in Iowa reflects a larger problem for them in the Midwest and across the political map.

Along with Wisconsin and Minnesota, Iowa and its seven electoral votes are part of the once-Democratic Upper Midwest that is growing more conservative with each presidential election. Kerry won Minnesota by just 3 percentage points, Wisconsin by a single point.

In addition, Michigan and Pennsylvania went Democratic by 3 percentage points or less and Bush won Ohio despite its economic miseries.

The close electoral vote masks the problem Democrats face in traditionally friendly territory. Iowa hadn't gone for a Republican in 20 years, and that time only during the massive Reagan landslide. They barely carried the other Upper Midwest states, formerly bastions of progressive politics. They only held Wisconsin by less than a point for the second presidential election in a row, and Minnesota by less than three in a state election that saw the GOP lose thirteen seats in the state legislature. They have completely lost the South; the GOP beat them in every contested Senate seat below the Mason-Dixon line. Zell Miller pointed out that the South now accounts for almost a third of the American population, making its alienation from Democrats a dark portent for the party.

Clearly, the Democrats have to rethink their approach to national politics. They won in the last decade by nominating a centrist candidate with unbelievable political skills, but abandoned that approach the past two elections. Worse yet, they nominated two candidates who tried to hide their more radical agendas, and lacking Clinton's political skills, paid the price for it.

Had the Democrats nominated a candidate with credibility on national security, one who eschewed the liberal snobbishness towards people of faith but represented traditional Democratic policy positions, they probably could have beaten George Bush in this election. Joseph Lieberman, in particular, would have been Bush's worst nightmare. Instead, the two leading candidates for the nomination both embraced the America-hating leftists that instantly alienates most people. Both of them professed some respect for religion, but the first front-runner abandoned his church when they failed to build a bicycle path, and the other talked about how his Catholicism informed his politics while he voted to support partial-birth abortions.

Exit polling, for what it's worth, supposedly showed that this election turned on morals and values, which everyone interpreted as opposition to gay marriage and abortion on demand. I think they missed the point; plenty of people in red-state territory are ambivalent on both issues. What is meant by morals and values is primarily loyalty -- loyalty to America and Americans. In one campaign venue after another, we heard nothing from the Democratic base except vitrol and condescension for Americans who love their country and support the nation during a time of war. And after the election was over, we saw these same people completely unmasked as radicals who assume that Republicans are either rich conspiracists or drooling, inbred morons.

If the Democrats allow the radicals to continue their grip on the party, the red states may wind up pushing all the way to both coasts.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 5, 2004 10:19 AM

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» Democrats You Have a Choice from PunchTheBag
You can have a pity party, you can roll around with others in an orgy of evil Republican conspiracy theories, you can show us how hateful you can be, or you can be responsible (I know, I know thats boring)... [Read More]

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» Democrats Losing Ground In Middle America from Let's Try Freedom
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