Republicans a Regional Party?

Steve Benen puts together a chart based on DailyKos’ weekly State of the Nation poll and notices that the GOP has virtually no support outside the South:

GOP by region

In case anyone’s having trouble reading the visual, the Republican Party’s favorability is very weak in Northeast (7% to 87%), and only marginally better in the Midwest (13% to 78%) and West (14% to 75%). In the South, however, 50% have a favorable opinion of the GOP, and only 37% have an unfavorable view.

Time will tell how the electorate responds to changing economic circumstances, the debate over health care reform, etc., and I can very easily imagine Democrats taking a drubbing in the midterms. But it seems the Republican Party would be in a much more competitive position — in the short and long term — if its base wasn’t centered in just one region.

As a long-time Southerner living in the DC suburbs of Northern Virginia (the South ends about 40 miles from here as far as I’m concerned) I agree so far as it goes.  Mostly, though, the survey results (and, yes, this poll is reputable despite who’s paying for it) simply point to the low state the GOP is in at the moment

Yes, the hard core base is in the South and Southwest.  Has been for years.  But the Democratic Party is a bicoastal party at its core.  Recall the famous 2000 and 2004 Election County-by-County maps.  Or even the less controversial state-by-state map from 2004:

2004 election state by state

In fairness, that’s a representation of a winner-take-all system and not quite comparable to the favorability survey.   But, remember, the Democrats were in much better shape in both 2000 and 2004 than the GOP is in 2009.   But relatively small swings in approval lead to drastic changes in voting outcomes.

There’s a reason the Democrats have been around since Jefferson’s/Jackson’s day (depending on who you ask) and the Republicans since Lincoln:  They’re adept at adapting to changing times.  (Also, they’ve rigged the rules in their favor.)  Whether it happens in time for the 2010 or 2012 election cycles, the Republican Party will naturally evolve to meet the realities of the country’s demographic and cultural shifts.  The Democrats did so in the late 1980s and early 1990s, becoming decidedly more moderate in the aggregate on law and order, defense, and other issues where they were getting hammered by the GOP.  And the Republicans have gradually become more embracing of popular social programs over the years ( if not yet the means to pay for them).

To survive at the state and local level, Republicans will have to find candidates who can appeal to non-Cuban Hispanics and a more socially liberal population.  From that group will come the next crop of gubernatorial, senatorial, and presidential candidates.   And, remember, no party has won more than three straight presidential contests since FDR and Truman made it five straight during the Depression and WWII.  Indeed, only Reagan-Bush made it three straight — forcing the Democrats to quit nominating Mondales and Dukakises and reinvent themselves with Clinton.  Who then nearly made it three in a row for the Dems.

FILED UNDER: Politics 101, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. markm says:

    Whether it happens in time for the 2010 or 2012 election cycles, the Republican Party will naturally evolve to meet the realities of the country’s demographic and cultural shifts.

    ….gridlock, nothing more, nothing less. That’s all I want. It’s a tall task but the potential is growing with every day…i just wish it was one of those “if the election were held tomorrow” situations.

  2. sam says:

    Whether it happens in time for the 2010 or 2012 election cycles, the Republican Party will naturally evolve to meet the realities of the country’s demographic and cultural shifts.

    Color me skeptical. I don’t see the GOP evolving to meet the realities any time soon. The rhetorical blood spilled in the cultural war is the life-blood of the party, and I don’t think it has any interest now or in the foreseeable future in staunching the flow. Certainly the base, which is the party now, has no such interest–it’s defined by that war. Moreover, having grabbed the populist wolf by the ears, moderation and adaptation are not in the cards. The Beckification of the GOP continues apace. I’m afraid all this leaves guys like you on an ever-shrinking ice floe. Sauve qui peut.

  3. PD Shaw says:

    I notice clicking through to the cross-tabs that this poll is pretty anti political party. The Democratic Party is viewed as unfavorable in all regions except the NorthEast (thought not to the extent that the Republicans are viewed as unfavorable).

    The generic Congressional ballot is at:
    34% Democrats
    28% Republicans
    38% Not Sure

  4. PD Shaw says:

    Perhaps the reason for the anti-party showing in the poll is the number of unconventional party affiliations and non-voters:

    Democrats 31%
    Republicans 22%
    Independents 25%
    Other 5%
    Non Voters 17%

    I’m not sure who “Other” is. It makes me think Communist Party, Liberty Party, Larouchites.

  5. Herb says:

    I saw Benen’s graph and felt a twinge of hope, not for Democratic ascendancy but for a Republican decline. But it was fleeting and somewhat perfunctory.

    The truth is: I think it’s a bunch of nonsense.

    As liberal as I am, even I can recognize that there are heaps of merit in conservative ideas. It’s one of the things that keeps me from going the full Democrat by staying (officially) Independent.

    To me, it’s not the ideas but the methods. One party tracks in bad faith dishonest arguments (the Republicans). The other tracks in weak arguments (the Democrats).

    That the weak arguments have been prevailing over the dishonest arguments as of late should be no surprise. Quantitatively, weak arguments are better than dishonest ones.

    But weak arguments have, by definition, vulnerabilities of their own which will someday be exploited.

  6. just me says:

    Personally it doesn’t appear either party garners much favor at the moment and each party has its regions where it is strongest.

    I think the electorate is getting less party loyal. They will give you a shot, but screw it up or fail to deliver within a certain amount of time, and out you go.

    Most of the graphs, polls and other information I have seen on party and party affiliation seems to point towards people becoming more independent. They aren’t loyal to a party, although they may be loyal to some ideas, but they will vote for the other or some other guy if they don’t like what their guy is doing.

  7. Ian says:

    Pretty week argument via the county by county maps as evidence of how overwhelming conservative the country actually is. Because those maps do not take into account population they are basically meaningless. You could argue the map by state returns is meaningless as well for similar reasons.The one place I do not see republicans “evolving” is when it comes to urban/rural politics. “Real America” is not what the republicans appear to think it is anymore. They disparage the cities, and those who live in them, and argue that rural America is the only part of America that is worthy. That is the real problem with the Republican Party.

  8. superdestroyer says:

    Any political party that can appeal to Hispanics would be so close to the current Democratic Party as to be indistinguishable. If you want to keep the Republican Party as a brand name that has no real difference with the Democratic party, then is will fail just as fast as staying the white, middle class party.

    Short of having a time machine that can go back and fix the stupidity of the Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II administration,s there is nothing that the Republicans can do.

    The U.S. is faced with becoming a one party state where the Democratic Primary is the real election. See Maryland, Mass., and California as examples of what the future looks like. It will not be very pleasant for middle class whites.

  9. Jason says:

    Excellent analysis and well stated. America has a two-party system — for ill or for good — and with that comes the revolving door of power. The pendulum swings one way, then another. But always between Democrat and Republican. Each election year is different as is each election. So it is simply really: if the Democrats over stay their welcome the GOP will fill the position of power. The speculation that the GOP lost its national credibility and was in decline was sorely overstated and was historically and politically inaccurate.

  10. kth says:

    Any political party that can appeal to Hispanics would be so close to the current Democratic Party as to be indistinguishable.

    Not necessarily. A party that was pro-immigration but socially conservative would have a lot of appeal for Hispanics, and yet wouldn’t resemble the Dems except on that one issue. That’s not likely now, but it was a real possibility just a few years ago, before the backlash against Bush’s immigration proposal understandably led Hispanic-American citizens to believe that a lot of Republicans don’t like them.

    Most likely Hispanic politics will follow the same trajectory as African-American politics, dominated by urban political/media machines, wholly aligned with the Democrats, animated by racial slights both real and imagined, while not much improving material conditions for its constituents. But it didn’t have to be this way, and that it is, is thanks mainly to the Republican party.

  11. superdestroyer says:

    kth,

    Hispanics are not social conservatives and have never voted for any social conservatives. Look at the members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. They are all very liberal and support big government, high taxes, racial set asides, depolicing, and social engineering before academic education.

    To appeal to Hispanics (including most Cubans) the Republicans would have to support big government, a huge welfare state, a nanny state, and race based government. Most current conservatives would want no part of it.

    Republicans need to stop thinking that middle class conservative whites can be treated the same way that the Democratic Party treats blacks. Whites will refuse to support the insanity that would be required to attract Hispanics.

  12. TangoMan says:

    James,

    To survive at the state and local level, Republicans will have to find candidates who can appeal to non-Cuban Hispanics and a more socially liberal population.

    They won’t have to, though they may try. This is only one alternative path to electoral success. Hispanics makes up 15% of the population. Whites make up 74% of the population. If we posit that X resources devoted to ethnic messaging will yield Y% increase in ethnic voting gain, then the allocation of those messaging resources towards increasing the white yield will return larger gains than if deployed towards Hispanic voters. A 1 percentage point increase in white voters will yield 5x the number of votes than a 1 percentage point increase in Hispanic voters. A related issue is the modifier of how politically active each population is so a comparison of percentage gained must be modified by a.) voter turnout within the population, and b.) party support from the people added to the party vote totals. Right now whites are both more prone to vote and more prone to participate actively in the political process when compared to Hispanics.

    Secondly, the two parties are in a relationship of symbiosis, in that the direction, philosophy and actions of one party will tend to influence the other party to react. If the Democrats continue on their effort to play up on ethnic identity, redistribute income in such a way that the redistribution tends to significantly overlap with race and ethnicity, and continues to capture larger shares of the hispanic vote, then by default, the Republicans will have their hand forced towards capturing a larger share of the white vote, especially when growing shares of white voters will be politically concerned with the increasing racialization of the Democratic Party and its policies.

    Thirdly, we have a world full of data sets regarding voter makeup in multi-ethnic states and what we see are very significant overlaps between ethnic groups and party affiliation. There is no reason that the US is immune from this process, especially if Democrats are exploiting ethnic and racial identity as a means of accumulating power.

    Fourthly, what policies do you imagine the Republicans can roll out which will appeal to “Hispanic voters” which do not give ground on the concept of identity politics? In other words, if the Republican preference for policies built on ideas is maintained, such that coalitions are formed on such ideas (anti-gun control, low taxes, abortion restrictions, business friendly, strong foreign policy, strong military, etc) rather than on identity issues (more affirmative action, more quotas in hiring, more welfare, more minority set-asides for government bids, more Spanish taught in schools) how can the Republicans square the circle and devise policies which appeal to Hispanics which don’t depend on identity issues? Are there issues which are idea-centered but resonate more strongly with Hispanics than with non-Hispanics? I can’t think of any.

    So, what I see you suggesting is that the Republicans abandon their idea-centered form of coalition building and instead accept the Democrat modus operandi of pandering to racial and ethnic groups. Amy Chua, a law professor at Yale, did a remarkable job examining related issues in her book, The World On Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability.

  13. kth says:

    superdestroyer, Hispanics don’t vote social conservative, mainly because the Republicans blundered into pushing them onto the opposing side in the culture wars. But in their private lives many if not most Hispanics are culturally conservative: pro-life, for traditional gender roles, not especially sanguine about equality for gays.

    Mike Huckabee, who got close to half of the black vote in the Arkansas governors contests, and George W. Bush, who pulled similar numbers of Hispanics in Texas, proved that minorities will vote for Republicans if they don’t go out of their way to insult them.

  14. TangoMan says:

    But in their private lives many if not most Hispanics are culturally conservative: pro-life, for traditional gender roles, not especially sanguine about equality for gays.

    Heather Mac Donald:

    Nearly half of the children born to Hispanic mothers in the U.S. are born out of wedlock, a proportion that has been increasing rapidly with no signs of slowing down. Given what psychologists and sociologists now know about the much higher likelihood of social pathology among those who grow up in single-mother households, the Hispanic baby boom is certain to produce more juvenile delinquents, more school failure, more welfare use, and more teen pregnancy in the future. . . . .

    Hispanic women have the highest unmarried birthrate in the country—over three times that of whites and Asians, and nearly one and a half times that of black women, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Every 1,000 unmarried Hispanic women bore 92 children in 2003 (the latest year for which data exist), compared with 28 children for every 1,000 unmarried white women, 22 for every 1,000 unmarried Asian women, and 66 for every 1,000 unmarried black women. Forty-five percent of all Hispanic births occur outside of marriage, compared with 24 percent of white births and 15 percent of Asian births. Only the percentage of black out-of-wedlock births—68 percent—exceeds the Hispanic rate. But the black population is not going to triple over the next few decades.

    As if the unmarried Hispanic birthrate weren’t worrisome enough, it is increasing faster than among other groups. It jumped 5 percent from 2002 to 2003, whereas the rate for other unmarried women remained flat. Couple the high and increasing illegitimacy rate of Hispanics with their higher overall fertility rate, and you have a recipe for unstoppable family breakdown. . . . .

    Overall teen childbearing in the U.S. declined for the 12th year in a row in 2003, having dropped by more than a third since 1991. Yet even here, Hispanics remain a cause for concern. The rate of childbirth for Mexican teenagers, who come from by far the largest and fastest-growing immigrant population, greatly outstrips every other group. The Mexican teen birthrate is 93 births per every 1,000 girls, compared with 27 births for every 1,000 white girls, 17 births for every 1,000 Asian girls, and 65 births for every 1,000 black girls. To put these numbers into international perspective, Japan’s teen birthrate is 3.9, Italy’s is 6.9, and France’s is 10. Even though the outsize U.S. teen birthrate is dropping, it continues to inflict unnecessary costs on the country, to which Hispanics contribute disproportionately. . . . .

    Overall teen childbearing in the U.S. declined for the 12th year in a row in 2003, having dropped by more than a third since 1991. Yet even here, Hispanics remain a cause for concern. The rate of childbirth for Mexican teenagers, who come from by far the largest and fastest-growing immigrant population, greatly outstrips every other group. The Mexican teen birthrate is 93 births per every 1,000 girls, compared with 27 births for every 1,000 white girls, 17 births for every 1,000 Asian girls, and 65 births for every 1,000 black girls. To put these numbers into international perspective, Japan’s teen birthrate is 3.9, Italy’s is 6.9, and France’s is 10. Even though the outsize U.S. teen birthrate is dropping, it continues to inflict unnecessary costs on the country, to which Hispanics contribute disproportionately.

  15. superdestroyer says:

    kth,

    The Huckabee number is based upon a poll of nine blacks and has an error bar of close to 100%. Blacks voted 96% for Obama and Hispanic voted at around 80% and voted against an open borders, unlimited immigration, pro-welfare state Republican.

    Hispanics are not social conservatives. They have abortions at a much higher rate than whites. They have children out of wedlock at a much higher rate than whites. They drop out of school, get married younger, get divorced, and have all of the other behaviors of people with little forward time bias.

    Hispanics live for today and do not plan for the future. They are, by definition, not conservative. Just because many of them claim to be Catholic (while rarely attending and never donating money) does not make them conservative.

    Also, why would any ambitious Hispanic who wants to get involved with the Republicans when the Democrats are promising to tax whites and give the money to Hispanics.

  16. An Interested Party says:

    It will not be very pleasant for middle class whites.

    Oh, do tell what will happen to this particular group in the future…

    And by the way, fellas, do keep painting blacks and Hispanics as groups of degenerates who only want to suck away resources from white people…it is this message given off by so many Republicans and conservatives that has already hurt that party/movement and will continue to do so in the future as long as it is spouted…good work, fellas…

  17. Our Paul says:

    The issue up for discussion, depending on one’s view, is either the regionalization of the GOP, or on a broader perspective, the question of whether Barak Obama’s election to the presidency was transformative. But first, this:

    As a long-time Southerner living in the DC suburbs of Northern Virginia (the South ends about 40 miles from here as far as I’m concerned)…

    Do not know how far your house sits from the Rappahannock River. That was the dividing line during the Civil War as it was a natural barrier for northern movement South. This vignette proves it:

    While parked in Carter Creek, (Lancaster County, Virginia) on SV Perseverance in the year of our Lord 2002, I proposed we sail across the river to Urbanna on Sunday, buy the newspaper and have a proper sit down brunch. It had been a an enjoyable slog from the Bahamas to Carter’s Creek, and soon Perseverance would be hauled and put on the hard.

    The vessel’s tour guide and all around Decider agreed, and the next morning, after an early start we were in Urbanna, a town on the south side of the Rapahannock River. Like all river side locations, the town is enriched by summer folks from Richmond, and points North like Washington D.C. and thus we expected no problems when we popped the big question: “Where can we buy the New York Times, or the Washington Post?” The answer was short and sweet, albeit with a trace of humor. “Wrong side of the River.”

    The answer then, and now, says more than just where the dividing line is…

    In the lead up to the ’08 election, commentator Sean Oxendine over at Next Right wrote a series (well worth a read) of posts examining the possibility that the election might lead to re-alignment of the political parties. Like all Center Right commentators, he, like our host, ignore the events that surrounded the 2000 election, and the anomalous nature of 2004 election.

    There are three salient points in the 2000 elections. (1) Al Gore had a nation wide plurality of votes. (2) The plurality was achieved despite the presence of Ralph Nader (Center Left Green party) who sucked votes away from Al Gore’s natural constituency. (3) The intrusion of the Supreme Court into the political process. It is accepted that in the absence Ralph Nader the Democratic Party would have won the election. If the Supreme Court had not stepped in, a recount of all of Florida (the natural solution) would probably have swung the election to Gore.

    The 2004 election had little to do with whether the country was swinging to the Center Left, we were in the middle of the “War on Terror”. From the viewpoint of the Left versus the Right political core issues the election offered no insights — the war and need to support President was the over ridding issue.

    The ’06 Congressional election deluge was interpreted as an anti-Bush phenomena, but an equally valid interpretation is that it reflected pent up support for Gore’s Democratic positions that had been dammed up by the Iraq war, and need to support a war time President.

    The dam broke in ’08, and the question is how long it will take for the Republican Party to repair itself. The flotsam and jetsam that the dam held back are certainly now visible to all. They include mounting dissatisfaction with the expanding income inequality and the inability to solve the problem of healthcare monopolies that are ravaging the health and economic well being of our middle and lower classes.

    I am surprised that James Joiner takes comfort in the 2004 election while ignoring the implications of the Nader factor in the 2000 election. Equally strange is his reliance on the 2004 Red / Blue County election maps. Surely he is aware of Mark Newman’s cartograms, where the maps are adjusted to population density. Well worth a glance (link in honor of Ian (September 19, 2009 | 12:38 pm).

    To understand what the 2008 election meant, I prefer the analysis by what has to be smuggled into the regions to the south of the Rappahannock River. Not only are the maps informative, but it is accompanied by statistics on demographic shifts that speak volumes and are telling.

    My humble view, yes, the Republican Party is becoming regionalized to the South. I remain puzzled by this:

    To survive at the state and local level, Republicans will have to find candidates who can appeal to non-Cuban Hispanics and a more socially liberal population.

    Surely you are not arguing that an “attractive candidate” will be able to sell your core principles of small government with minimal regulatory function, low taxes, and laissez-faire economics as the solution to our current problems?

    Psst: Whether the election of Barak Obama is transformative with a significant re-alignment of the political parties will have to await a future discussion. As I am off to the summer cabin, I will leave this thread to TangoMan. In a perverse way, he is able to confirm the validity of my views in a fashion that I, afflicted with the curse of slow thinking and slow writing could never accomplish!

  18. TangoMan says:

    And by the way, fellas, do keep painting blacks and Hispanics as groups of degenerates who only want to suck away resources from white people..

    I’d love to see your evidence that this process is not taking place. Educate me. Please.

    If you concede that this process is indeed taking place and that Democratic policies work to further this process, then the issue becomes one of marketing – is it better to be honest or dishonest. Each policy cuts two ways – honest dialog results in hurt feelings in minority communities and in feelings of unfairness in white and asian communities which are then addressed by developing policies which mitigate the unfairness. Dishonest dialog results in ego boosting in the minority communities and in the development of a polarized white/asian community, one axis being lulled into blissful stupor as their interests are shortchanged and the other being driven to anger about the dishonesty as their interests are being shortchanged.

    Which is the best path to chose? The overarching question is why so many Blacks and Hispanics are attracted to a party which panders to their race and ethnicity rather than to a party characterized by coalitions formed around ideas and policies, irrespective of race and ethnicity? Blacks and Hispanics who favor low taxes, smaller government, strong military, law and order, are very welcome in Republican circles. Why do they need policies centered on their race or ethnicity?

  19. TangoMan says:

    The ’06 Congressional election deluge was interpreted as an anti-Bush phenomena, but an equally valid interpretation is that it reflected pent up support for Gore’s Democratic positions that had been dammed up by the Iraq war, and need to support a war time President.

    The interpretation can only be accepted if it meets a test of face validity. Obama is now implementing a socialist vision of transformation that you, I assume, argue would not be different from that proposed by Gore. Obama is gathering more opposition than support to health care reform, climate change tax reform, increased levels of unionization, developing dialog with rogue regimes, etc. This resistance to the liberal agenda leads me to believe that your proposition fails a test of face validity and thus your alternative interpretation is not equally valid.

    They include mounting dissatisfaction with the expanding income inequality

    Do you have evidence that there is mounting dissatisfaction caused by income inequality? Further, once immigration as a causal factor is controlled we see a pretty impressive drop in income inequality and for that matter, a drop in the number of those without health insurance. US Census reports:

    Real median income rose for native-born households for the second year, up 1.0 percent from 2006, to $50,946. For foreign-born households whose householder was not a U.S. citizen, income dropped by 7.3 percent to $37,637. For households maintained by a naturalized U.S. citizen, median income remained statistically unchanged at $52,092.

    Among the native-born population, 11.9 percent, or 31.1 million, were in poverty in 2007. Both the poverty rate and number in poverty were statistically unchanged from 2006.

    Among the foreign-born population, the poverty rate and the number in poverty increased to 16.5 percent and 6.2 million, respectively, in 2007, from 15.2 percent and 5.7 million, respectively, in 2006. An increase in poverty for U.S. noncitizens (from 19.0 percent in 2006 to 21.3 percent in 2007) accounted for the rise in poverty for the foreign-born population overall.

    Here the Census Bureau reports undercut the urgency on Health Care Reform:

    * Both the number and percentage of uninsured for non-Hispanic whites decreased in 2007, to 10.4 percent and 20.5 million, respectively. For blacks, the number of uninsured remained statistically unchanged from 2006, at 7.4 million, while the percentage declined from 20.5 percent in 2006 to 19.5 percent in 2007. The uninsured rate for Asians rose from 15.5 percent in 2006 to 16.8 percent in 2007.
    * The number and percentage of uninsured Hispanics decreased from 15.3 million and 34.1 percent in 2006 to 14.8 million and 32.1 percent in 2007.

    Between 2006 and 2007, the uninsured rate for the native-born population declined from 13.2 percent in 2006 to 12.7 percent in 2007. Meanwhile, the percentage of the foreign-born population without insurance was statistically unchanged at 33.2 percent in 2007. Among the foreign-born population, the uninsured rate for naturalized U.S. citizens increased from 16.4 percent in 2006 to 17.6 percent in 2007, while the uninsured rate for U.S. noncitizens was statistically unchanged from 2006, at 43.8 percent in 2007.

    Importing poverty has, unsurprisingly, a negative effect on income inequality and on rates of health insurance coverage.

    Surely you are not arguing that an “attractive candidate” will be able to sell your core principles of small government with minimal regulatory function, low taxes, and laissez-faire economics as the solution to our current problems?

    Considering that government intervention in the marketplace was a driving factor in the corruption of financial standards which led to this crisis, the fact that the more heavily regulated financial systems of Europe had banks with larger leverage ratios and banks which swamped their host countries’ abilities to cover the risk, and that the Bush era faced the largest increase in regulatory spending in the last 60 years, the answer should be clear – government imposition of social goals onto financial decisions tends to corrupt the integrity of the financial decisions. Such a form of “matrix management” leads to the formation of a cancer in the fabric of society. The remedy is to remove the requirement of financial decision makers having to serve two masters, and the best way to do this is to reduce the size of government and the scope of government intervention.

  20. anjin-san says:

    Hmmm. Tango hates brown people just as much as he hates black people. Who would have thought?

  21. odograph says:

    Frank Rich’s column today might relate: Even Glenn Beck Is Right Twice a Day

  22. ehl says:

    Here we go again, Democrats patting themselves on the back and predicting the ultimate demise of the Republican Party, and quoting a rabid Left Wing websites “poll” to back it all up.

    Take a look at the map and it becomes clear that there are a whole lot more red states than blue. If there is a “regional party” in the US then it is clearly the Democratic Party. Peel away even one of the blue states and the Presidency is out of reach for a Democrat candidate. Just ask Al “I didn’t carry my home state” Gore. For all of the noise over Florida, what would have happened if Al Gore had spent a little more time and money in Tennessee?

    Anyway the political pendulum swings both ways and it seems to be speeding up and it looks like President Obama may be more like Jimmy Carter than JFK or Bill Clinton. Maybe Barack should have spent a little more time thinking about what he would do after the election.

    As I see it, the biggest mistake that the Democrats are making is that they are ignoring the people at the “Tea Party Rallies” and the “Town Hall Meetings” to their own detriment. The Tea Parties did not start after Barack Obama took office, they began in 2006 as a protest against high taxes and government intervention. Then came the amnesty for illegal aliens fight and things started to take off. The Republicans tried to ignore the movement at first but could not do so after the McCain amnesty bill was shot down three times, and McCain kinda wanted to win the Republican primary race. Glen Beck is quick to point out that he did not start the movement and it is not “his”. It is ours, all of us.

    The movement is growing and there are quite a few Democrats who have joined it. I have been to the rallies and many people there will tell you that they are Democrats and that they voted for Obama last November, then they will quickly tell you that they won’t do it again.

    Many Democratic politicians are already finding that they are facing tough opposition in the coming election year. Most of these guys will probably not make it, unless they recognize the source of their constituent’s complaints. Spending bills that were not read and rushed through a midnight vote. Bills written by outside special interest groups. Tax increases that are called “investments in our future”. Trillion dollar spending plans that are called “Deficit Neutral”. I could go on and on.

    If any party is in danger of becoming a “regional party” it is the Democratic Party and it’s too bad that most of them can’t see it happening.

  23. anjin-san says:

    Clearly, the GOP has become a regional party. As it is now, the only place they are truly representative of is the state of ignorance…

  24. Our Paul says:

    I would like to thank TangoMan for is contributions to this thread, once again he make those who of us who think the function of government is to promote the common good look sober and rational.

    Correspondent ehl is correct in pointing out that the tea bag movement dates back a few years, and it coalesced around Ron Paul’s run for the Presidency. The argument they present is what logicians term “reductio ad absurdum” and I doubt they are the force that ehl think they are. My suggestion to ehl is to view and ponder the maps I presented in the post above. One correlates the simple electoral maps presented by Dr. Joiner to population density and electoral college votes. The cartography from the Times is of interest as in quantifies which counties showed increase in either Republican or Democratic vote.

    There are reason why our host today and immediately after the election was concerned about the state of the Republican Party. They can be found in the links I gave in my above communication.

  25. TangoMan says:

    once again he make those who of us who think the function of government is to promote the common good look sober and rational.

    I’m at a loss to understand how sowing the seeds for a financial crisis by implementing regulations that don’t account for unintended consequences is interpreted as promoting the common good and why those who cheer on such reckless government corruption of private sector activities see themselves as sober and rational.

  26. TangoMan says:

    Clearly, the GOP has become a regional party. As it is now, the only place they are truly representative of is the state of ignorance…

    A hypothesis which can be tested has more credibility than one which cannot, and luckily your hypothesis can be tested come Nov. 2010. We’ll soon see if the Democrats win more districts, as your hypothesis would predict, because you claim that the GOP is regionalized and represents ignorance. Ignorance is usually cured with time and instruction, so we should expect that there will be fewer ignorant people in the US in 2010 than in 2008 and thus there should be fewer people voting Republican. The reverse process of educated people turning ignorant is unheard of, for one can’t turn off knowledge that one has acquired, so it will be impossible, under your hypothesis, for those who voted Democratic to begin to vote for Republicans.

  27. Mike says:

    The Daily Kos poll was very inaccurate in the 2008 election with an inordinate amount of liberals and minorities in its demographic makeup. Take it with a grain of sea salt.

  28. superdestroyer says:

    eh1,

    It has nothing to do with polls and everything to do with demographics. Less than half of the children in first grade are white. That means that the Republican (more conservative party) will eventually have to appeal to non-whites or go out of business.

    Thus, the question becomes how does the more conservative political party appeal to groups that are overwhelmingly liberal. A good way to look at it is that there is no way that Ronald Reagan could carry California in a presidential election (or even in an election for governor) because the changing demographics have made the Republican in California irrelevant.

  29. kth says:

    Mike, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Kos-commissioned poll skewed leftward as a whole, and overrepresented Democratic support across the board. But it would be rather more surprising if the deltas, the differences, between the South and the rest of the country weren’t borne out in other polls (unless the poll is overcounting Dem support in some states but undercounting it in others, which would be odd, to say nothing of difficult to pre-meditate).

    The takeaway would seem to be: if the opposition is only running up the score in states they won in 2008, then they aren’t likely to improve much upon that year’s results.

  30. TangoMan says:

    It has nothing to do with polls and everything to do with demographics. Less than half of the children in first grade are white. That means that the Republican (more conservative party) will eventually have to appeal to non-whites or go out of business.

    As is usually the case with social phenomena there are plenty of cross currents at work. Yes, the White birth rate is low and the Hispanic birth rate is high, so those trend lines are obvious. However, those trends can be mitigated somewhat by looking into the details of the birth rates, for instance,as Arthur Brooks points out:

    According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That’s a “fertility gap” of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections.

    It’s clear that the liberal-conservative birth rate differential isn’t sufficient in size to match the White-Hispanic birth differential, so the overall issue of growing Hispanic influence in the political sphere is something that is still on the table, however the question of race/ethnicity overlapping with party identification becomes more germane, in that white liberals are reducing their cohort size every generation while white conservatives are increasing their cohort size, so as the generations progress, assuming trends hold, we should see whites identifying more as conservatives and white liberals becoming an ever smaller faction within the Democratic Party.

    We’re pretty much facing two suboptimal choices here, on the one hand we have a loss of a small government party which doesn’t pander on the issues of race and ethnicity and on the other hand we have a political system where race/ethnicity becomes intimately bound with party identification. Take your pick.

  31. Wayne says:

    One of the main reasons the GOP lost so bad in the last election besides change, was many Republican try to run as more liberal and many of the Democrats ran as conservative. So the idea that we need to run even more liberal candidates to win election seem ridiculous to me. Reason many are unhappy with the GOP is that they become Dem lite who spend too much money. Fortunately or unfortunately depends on how you look at it, the DNC has shown they spend way too much money and made the GOP spending look like prudent sending.

    Yes James I know you said “socially liberal” but most people are socially conservative as well. Just not the definition that many have place on that term.

  32. superdestroyer says:

    Tango,

    A white child born into a conservative family (read Mormon) can always become a liberal. However, a Hispanic baby will always be Hispanic and will get to the point in life where taxing whites to give money to non-whites will be a very compelling campaign promise.

    Also, my guess is that many of the so-called conservative parents are really blacks, Hispanics, and poor whites who always poll more conservative than they vote.

  33. Laughing Liberal says:

    Tango – Your posts are just one long string of discredited talking points. The party that brought us the “Southern Strategy”, Jesse Helms, Willie Horton ads, and the birther nonsense doesn’t pander on race/ethnicity issues? News to me.

    Also, young people of all races are the most liberal of all. They voted for Obama by 2-1, and will most likely grow up as liberals, so I don’t know where all those young conservatives you speak of have been hiding.

    Finally, please keep parroting the negative stereotypes of minorities and idea that increased white voter participation is the solution. The Rove 50.1% strategy failed for a reason, and it will fail again. Go ahead, nominate Palin or Huckabee and see.

  34. anjin-san says:

    Ignorance is usually cured with time and instruction

    Well then, let me try to instruct you. History shows that the party in power generally (though not always) loses ground in a midterm. In other words, it is expected and predictable, rather like your rants…

  35. JohnR says:

    Yes, and there are several other polls that indicate twice as many voters identify themselves as “conservative” as “liberal”. IMO these polls reflect the fact that “liberal” has become an almost pejorative term so many voters won’t admit to it. Conversely, Bush and the Neocons did such a bad job that many solid republican voters are now (temporarily) calling themselves independents.

    This is part of the normal cyclical nature of our system. IMO the Reps need to come a bit Left on some of the social issues, but should stick with pro-market, smaller tax positions…even if it means we have fewer/smaller govt programs. Reps also need to recruit Hispanics and Women. Two huge swing demographics that are up for grabs.

  36. JohnR says:

    Much interesting discussion on this thread of where Hispanics actually fall on social/fiscal issues. Despite some disturbing stats in the thread, I’m convinced Hispanics are Right-of-Center on the social issues.

    I’ll admit they’re Left-of-Center on fiscal issues (they like big govt)…but I think this is common among most immigrants and since such a huge proportion of Hispanics are 1st/2nd generation, I’m not upset. Once Hispanics assimilate, become homeowners and businessmen, I think they’ll shift to the Right and embrace the conservative ethic of lower taxes and less govt interference.

    My only fear is Leftist tactics that try to stifle assimilation. The Left is fighting hard to convince Hispanics they’re “victims” (just like blacks) who MUST vote as a bloc (a Dem bloc of course). The Left is trying and succeeding at balkanizing this nation. A hodgepodge of hateful blocs that see each other as the enemy and endlessly squabble for a bigger piece of the ever-expanding govt pie.

  37. Our Paul says:

    Hey TangoMan, try a bit of branch logic, the old yes or no approach to a series of simple questions. Start with this one: Has income disparity been increasing? The answer can be found in the in the work of Emmanuel Saez, whose work is reviewed and referenced here. The graph speaks for itself, and is more clearly presented in the link to Paul Krugman’s blog in the article.

    The graph will show you that the only time income inequality was this high, was just before the Depression. You will note that the increase in income disparity began at the onset of Reagan’s Presidency, hand in hand with the increasing national debt, the “reform” of the tax structure, and the craze for deregulation. Other studies have pointed out that in the past 30 years the rate of increase in income disparity is greater during Republican control of Congress, and less when Democrats are in control.

    Yes, but what does it all mean. The answer can be found here.

    Pssst: The Internal Revenue Service has extended its grace period for repayment of delinquent taxes to folks hiding wealth in foreign banks to October 15th. After that date, criminal prosecutions will be pursued. Big party for the great unwashed is scheduled for that date…

  38. TangoMan says:

    I’ll admit they’re Left-of-Center on fiscal issues (they like big govt)…but I think this is common among most immigrants and since such a huge proportion of Hispanics are 1st/2nd generation, I’m not upset. Once Hispanics assimilate, become homeowners and businessmen, I think they’ll shift to the Right and embrace the conservative ethic of lower taxes and less govt interference.

    JohnR.,

    It’s fine to look at historical patterns and, as a first cut, to apply them to contemporary issues in order to develop a rough prediction for future outcomes. However, when this is done it must be tempered with available data which modifies the historical patterns and it must be anchored in the environment of today, rather than the environment of yesteryear.

    The historical patterns of assimilation that we saw with the immigrants of Eastern and Southern Europe is not taking place with Hispanics. As Edward E. Telles and Vilma Ortiz noted in their study “Generations of Exclusion: Mexican Americans, Assimilation, and Race” the patterns of the past are not seen in the present even when we examine 4th generation Mexican-Americans.

    In many domains, however, the Mexican American story doesn’t fit with traditional models of assimilation. The majority of fourth generation Mexican Americans continue to live in Hispanic neighborhoods, marry other Hispanics, and think of themselves as Mexican. And while Mexican Americans make financial strides from the first to the second generation, economic progress halts at the second generation, and poverty rates remain high for later generations. Similarly, educational attainment peaks among second generation children of immigrants, but declines for the third and fourth generations.

    Secondly, immigrants used to arrive to the US when the US was an industrial, rather than a post-industrial, knowledge-based economy, and the need for farm laborers and physical laborers was great and these livelihoods provided reasonable living wages. Further, the social safety net was more sparse, so failure to establish self-sufficiency in the US led many immigrants to go back to their home countries.

    That world is now long gone. We live in a knowledge-based economy where the need for 6th grade educated workers is pretty sparse and so too is the pay that they can earn. This in turn leads to high levels of social spending on the immigrants, and their children, that effectively makes these immigrants net-tax recipients – they actually make the nation poorer. As the National Research Council noted back in the 90s, an immigrant with less than a high school diploma ends up costing society, over their lifetime, nearly $130,000. Extrapolate this analysis to multiple generations, and when 3rd and 4th generation Mexican-Americans are doing less well on the educational attainment scale than the 2nd generation, we can predict that we’re creating a class of net-tax recipient citizens.

    Thirdly, past immigrants were a diffuse lot and they came from afar, thus they found it difficult to replicate their home culture in their new land. This is not so with the majority of our new Hispanic citizens in that they come from a land right next door to the US and they have duplicated much of their culture within the US to the degree that the US is now bending to change to accommodate them.

    In other words, the actual facts on the ground tend to severely undercut your model of future developments following a pattern established by past developments. All immigration patterns and processes are not identical. I don’t share your faith in the past as prologue.

  39. superdestroyer says:

    Look at the border cities in Texas and Arizona. They have been majority Hispanic for decades and are some of the bluest areas in their states. Hispanics are economically very liberal while never, ever voting based upon social issues.

    If Hispanics were socially conservatives then the Congressional Hispanic Caucus would resemble the blue dog Democrats. However, the CHC is probably the second most liberal group in Congress behind the Congressional Black Caucus.