The Four-Point Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson's unannounced but in the race. He's going to be a contender for the Republican nomination. What does he bring to the table for the Republican nomination? There are four big items.

1. THE SOUTHERN SLOT. There was no major Southern candidate for the GOP nomination. So Tennessee-born Fred Thompson filled a hole in the Republican field. Of course, Mike Huckabee, James Gilmore, and Ron Paul are Southern as well, but they're all minor candidates. From Thompson already had more support than the other three put together the day after he announced that he was thinking about running.

But the South is bigger and more heavily populated than most people think? As a result, Thompson's regional base is much larger than McCain's, Romney's, or Giuliani's. Generally, the South is thought of as the eleven former Confederate states plus the border states of Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland. But the stereotype is wrong. The South includes much of southern Ohio, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. Of course, some parts of the cultural and political South have defected, including the Washington, DC suburbs and the Miami region in Florida. Nevertheless, Fred Thompson's regional clout would be extensive in both the primary and the general election.

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Blanket Words & De-Southernizing American Politics

Hey, y'all!  This is my first post.  I'm a student at the College of Charleston and a proud, comprehensive liberal.

It used to be "communism."

This was the word thrown around indiscriminately at anything and everything whose end was to help people and afford them a life with some sense of dignity.

These "communists" were people who advocated unionization, Social Security, the New Deal, and civil rights. Of course, actual communists only comprised no more than a small minority of all unionized workers--especially in the larger unions like the AFL. If we were to apply a stereotype to groups using three percent or so of all members within that group, then all American corporations would be fascist since several corporate leaders in the 30's and 40's publicly advocated fascism and the economically-darwinistic policies of Hitler. I hope this isn't true.

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Might the Mountain West Not Be as Democratic as We Thought?

I have been a strong advocate for the Democratic Party's western strategy for some time, both because the Democrats performed relatively better in the region in 2004 than they did elsewhere and because the issues facing the region, like conservation and dealing with growth, might make voters in the region more amenable to Democrats than Republicans. Indeed, Democrats across the Mountain West performed well in 2006, with Democrats being elected or reelected governor in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming; Democrats picking up congressional seats in Arizona and Colrado; Democrats winning a close Senate race in Montana; and Democrats increasing their share of state legislative seats throughout the region, as well.

But for as well as the Democrats did in 2006 by those metrics, new polling indicates that the Mountain West might not be quite as ready to swing Democratic as many, including myself, had thought. Taking a look at the new survey from the Cook Political Report and RT Strategies some interesting points jump out. Among registered voters around the country, Democrats hold a striking 16-point lead -- 52 percent to 36 percent -- on the generic congressional ballot question. Breaking down that number region by region, the numbers work out as follows:

Total Democrats
(Incl. Leaners)
Total Republicans
(Incl. Leaners)

Interestingly, the Democrats actually perform better in the South than they do the West. Certainly the difference is within the margin of error. But at the same time, according to the poll, the only region of the country in which the Democrats do not receive a majority on the generic congressional ballot question is in the West. But the story does not end there. Taking an even deeper look into the crosstabs of the poll at the internals of the West, some very important questions come up about the potential for Democratic Party performance in the region.

Total Democrats
(Incl. Leaners)
Total Republicans
(Incl. Leaners)

I must note as clearly as possible that the margin of error for these subsamples is very high, particularly for the Mountain West, which only had 78 respondents. As such, a large grain of salt must be taken before reading too much into these numbers. Still, it's worth noting that, at least according to this poll, Republicans perform their best in the Mountain West while the Democrats perform their worst in the region. These numbers, in fact, are much worse than they are for the Democrats in the South or even in the "Farm Belt" where the Democrats maintain a 42 percent to 36 percent lead (though, again, with a very high margin of error with just 76 respondents).

Certainly we should not fret too much over numbers that come with such a high margin of error. What's more, I'm not, by any means, advocating that the Democrats give up on the strategy of focusing on the Mountain West in favor of, say, going back and trying to win back the South in 2008. That said, these numbers should at least throw a splash of cold water on to those who believe that the Democrats are bound to win in the Mountain West in 2008, both because of the trend in the region and because of the party's focus there (with the Nevada caucuses and the party's 2008 convention being held in Denver), and cause folks on this side of the aisle to redouble their efforts and outreach in states across the region.

It's Time Democrats Campaigned In Texas & South Again


There will be numerous sightings of Barack Obama in Texas including tonight in Houston and tomorrow in AUstin. Whether you have made up your mind about which candidate you're going to support or you're still open, I think this is a great thing for our state.

For too long Democratic candidates running for President have ignored Texas because they consider it a lock for Republicans. How foolish. Given that John Kerry, who came infrequently and never at crunch time, still received 40% of the votes in George Bush's supposed home state in 2004, I think it would be a serious mistake for ANY candidate to ignore Texas.

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The Not So Solid South: How Republicans Have Wrecked Nixon's Southern Strategy

In 1968, Richard Nixon committed the Republican Party to the Southern Strategy.  This has worked brilliantly on the electoral college level.  In both 2000 and 2004, George W. Bush received every electoral vote from the 13 southern states (Kentucky, West Virginia, and the 11 states of the Confederacy), 162 in 2004.  The Nixonian ploy,was to use coded or veiled racism to induce the south's traditionally conservative white voters to abandon their traditional allegiance to the Dwemocratic Party and join a center-right coalition of national Republicans.  This conversion took longer on the legislative level.  The region's House delegation didn't swing Republican until 1994 (moving the House nationally into the Republican column).  In 2004, five southern Senate seats swung Republican giving the GOP firm control of that body for a brief time.

Nixon's southern strategy was far different (and more subtle) than George W. Bush's and Karl Rove's version.  Republicans remained competitive in the northeast and Great Lakes states and ran strongly in California.  The South was not running the show.  Party power brokers generally came from the Midwest (like Gerald Ford, Bob Michel, Everett Dirksen and Bob Dole).  The "religion" was Billy Graham and not Jerry Falwell.  Even Southern Republicans like Howard Baker fit more neatly into a national mold.

Nixon's aim to add southern white voters, traditional conservatives, to the center rightgroup of traditional Republicans succeeded.  That success has done more than give a temporary edge in the electoral college to national Republicans.  It has transformed the face and nature of Republicanism at the gain of only a partial payout.

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