Why is John Edwards the most electable?

Yesterday, Jerome Armstrong posted a front page entry talking about the electability question, and dredging up the old discussion of whether John Edwards is the most electable candidate and why.  Dodging between the race baiting and attacks that he's anti-Obama in his posts, Jerome was able to post an update from the analysis of the poll that the diary focused on, noting the reason that Edwards is more electable than other candidates.

Unlike other Democrats, who will be forced to "run the table" of states where Democrats have been competitive in recent elections, Edwards brings new states into play. This provides alternative scenarios - and a margin for error - when it comes to winning 270 electoral votes.

Now there seemed to be a group posting in Jerome's entry yesterday that took this to be tacit evidence of racism.  But I don't think that's what it is.  

This isn't about the messenger, it's about the message.  

Message..... Delivered?

A recent poll of rural voters conducted by the Center for Rural Strategies found that rural voters are turning on the GOP.  

*Rural voters deliver a narrow plurality to a generic Democratic candidate for President: 46 - 43 percent. In contrast, President Bush won the rural vote in 2004 by 19 points.

*At the Congressional level, voters prefer Democrats in named trial heats 46 - 44 percent.

This is a huge shift, and signals a real chance for a Democratic candidate to take the White House in 2008.  Since 1980, Democrats have only been able to successfully take the White House when they have contested the rural vote with the GOP.  As the graphic below shows, contesting the rural vote is the difference between defeat and victory for a Democratic presidential candidate.

Rural Voters are the Key to the Kingdom.

Electoral victories are based in no small part upon change rather than stasis.  In the world of electoral politics, there's two major ways to get votes.  GOTV, which means getting your people out to vote, and persuasion, which means getting people who normally  vote for the other guy to vote for you.  In modern American politics, it's a simple game.  Democrats run GOTV strategies in urban areas, Republicans do the same in rural areas, and both parties run persuasion campaigns in the suburbs.  The suburbs are on the rise demographically, but they play a disproportionate role in deciding who will win presidential elections.

And ultimately, the long existing mindset that the suburbs are the field of political battle has led to a ossified political system that tailors political campaigns to the wants and desires of the suburbs at the expense of urban and rural areas.  Suburban America is doing fairly well, while it's true that the renovation of the urban core in the 1990's and early part of this decade has successfully forced many poor out of the cities into the suburbs, for the most part the most economically vital, functioning parts of America are in the suburbs.

And because of this the issue of poverty, and more profoundly that of inequality has been put on the backburner,  And we have asinine fights about the culture war, instead of doing something to help the millions of urban and rural Americans who see less opportunity for their children's generation than for their own.  However, because the suburbs alone are held to be the key to the kingdom by political pundits of many stripes, we have a political life that is characterized by culture wars instead of serious discussion about inequality, and how we can make America a better place for all.

2006 saw that change, as Democrats broke through with the rural vote, yielding surprising victories and even closer calls in House seats like the NC-11 and IN-3. Rural America revolted, and what they wanted was change.  As this 2006 Center for Rural Strategies poll shows 2006 wasn't about Iraq, corruption, or even less so a shift in social values.  It was fundamentally about inequality, and the sense that the American economy is producing deep class divisions that threaten our image of our country as basically equal.

2006 wasn't a referendum on Iraq, it was a call for economic populism.  And that, not Iraq, or anything else is what will widen the battlefield in 2008.  And John Edwards is the only candidate willing to talk about inequality, and who has specifically offered up a rural recovery plan that doesn't conflate rural recovery with the Farm Bill.  This allows John Edwards the opportunity to contest many more states than any of the other candidates.

2004..... and 2008

Looking at the 2004 MSNBC exit poll we can look deeper into the electoral calculus that has led to the strategy of contesting the suburbs.

Nationally, the Democratic base in urban areas comprised 30% of all voters, and voted for Kerry 54-45.  Suburbs made up 46% of all voters and went for Bush 52-47.  Rural areas made up 25% of all voters, and went for Bush 57-42. It's easy to see why campaigns fixated on winning the suburbs, they make up nearly hal of the voters in the country and they are the most closely contested bloc of voters.  However, being urban or rural doesn't have the same political meaning in different states, and further some states have are more rural, urban, or suburban than other.

I've drawn up a series of maps below showing what percentage of voters in a given state fall into rural, urban, or suburban categories.  The deepest shade of green means that more than 50% of the voters in a state belong to that category, lighter green 25-50, lightest green less than 25%, and gray means that that category either no data, or so few to not give a crosstab for the Kerry-Bush preference maps I've made.

Urban

Suburban

Rural

Another way of looking at this is showing what (if any) category breaks 50% in a given state. Orange means that they are majority urban states, yellow majority suburban states, and green majorty rural states.  Simply in these states if you win that category, you win the state.

So 49 electoral votes are in states where urban voters are in the majority, however none of these states voted for Kerry in 2004.   140 electoral votes are in states with suburban majority, and they lean Democratic.  45 electoral votes lie in states that have rural majorities, and these states voted overwhelmingly for Bush.    And 301 electoral votes lie in states that have no one category as the majority.

Turning to margins based crosstabbed with category.  We see that while the conventional wisdom that urban areas vote Democratic is largely true, there are exceptions.  In the following set of three maps, deep blue is greater than 60% Democrat voting, lige blue 55-60, lightest blue 50-55, light pink 45-50, light red 40-45, and deep red less than 40% Democrat.

Texas and Oregon are the big surprises here with urban voters being strongly for the GOP.

Looking at suburban voters there are more surprises.

In Texas, voters identifying as suburban are heavily Democratic, while in Arizona and New Mexico, they are marginally so.  In Florida, we see that suburban voters are more Democratic than their urban counterparts.

Finally rural voters.

Outside the Northeast and Midwest, rural voters went heavily for Bush. One notable exception is Arkansas that gave a strong showing for Kerry among rural voters.

So what does this mean?

In early June of this year, the Center for Rural Strategies released a poll showing a 21% swing to Democrats when rural voters were asked if they would vote for a generic Democrat.  

If we use the exit poll data from 2004, and assume a 21% shift from Republicans to Democrats in each state with all else being equal, we get the following map.

In terms of electoral votes, that's a 398-140 victory for the Democratic candidate.

Taking a closer look at the margins, we get this map.

This is the same color scheme as the other maps above.  As you can see, only in Utah do Republicans manage a victory with more than 60% of the vote.  The battlefield is pushed south and west.  With the shift in rural votes turning Arkansas and West Virginia, deep blue, and making Democrats competitive in Virginia and the Carolinas.  Now the truth is probably more complex than a 31% across the board shift, with gains being concentrated in the Great Lakes region, and to a lesser extent in the upper south, and on the Great Plains.

The point is that if a Democrat contests the rural vote, they greatly expand the number of states they can compete in.  And this in turn makes them much more electable. And the key to winning over the rural vote is economic populism, and not being afraid to talk about inequality while at the same time recognizing that inequality and poverty are as serious if not more serious in rural areas as in cities.  It's when Democrats succumb to identity politics, and write off rural areas because poor whites live there that they lose.  

2008 can't be about the messenger.  Identity politics have had their day, and they've lost.  The time has come to return the party to the populism of FDR and Truman, and to reclaim the nation's politics from elites who only want to talk about themselves. Economic populism is the answer.

And John Edwards is the only candidate selling populism.  I'm convinced that his recent move away from talking inequality, to talk about Iraq instead made him a weaker candidate.  Because he was trying to compete with the same suburban strategy that never works.  Now, John Edwards is back on the trail talking about poverty and inequality.  I just hope he sticks to it, because that's the ticket to winning the rural vote, and taking the White House in 2008.

Tags: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, rural (all tags)

Comments

136 Comments

Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

You really shouldn't have taken the statements about racism or gender seriously. THey weren't. They said it to see what would stick, But thanks for the data

by bruh21 2007-06-26 09:50AM | 0 recs
I don't take it seriously

and frankly, I really don't give a shit what they think.  It's that there's this group of Obama and Clinton people (mostly Obama people) that have turned MYDD into a slightly hipper version Democratic Underground.  And with Matt and Chris going, I think it's going to only get worse.  I used to think that MYDD was more fact focused and appreciate of substantive work than Daily Kos.  No more.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

I have to agree. I had a diary up this morning talking about what the American people wanted on healthcare, and what the various candidates were saying on the issue, and yet nada. I am not saying people should pay attention to just me. But healthcare is a big issue about which we should know more about each candidate rather than the horserace or mudslinging stuff.

by bruh21 2007-06-26 09:59AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

The problem with your diary was that it was non-substantive.  When I first saw that diary I thought "Oh, good, finally a somewhat substantial discussion from that guy," but I was disappointed when I opened it.   Now don't go romper room on me here (as you are prone to do at times,) but your diary was basically nothing but a Clinton-bash disguised as an issue-diary.  Many have grown tired of those types of diaries, which is probably why that diary was so poorly received.  

by georgep 2007-06-26 10:30AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

right- and this diary is substnative. funnier every day george

by bruh21 2007-06-26 10:35AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

This diary?  Yes, I find it more substantive.   I don't agree with ManfromMiddletowns' conclusion, but can appreciate the work and thought that went into the diary.

by georgep 2007-06-26 10:47AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

my point is that you are bullshitting. healthcare is an issue- and where teh american people are on it is an important point to be made. no one is talking abut it- and your response is illustrative of why it needs to be talked about. point to me one diary about the polling regarding health care and what the american people feel we should do about it published recently on this site0- and then you can claim there wasn't anything substantive- and certainly it was a hell of a lot more substantive than your poll of the day diaries

by bruh21 2007-06-26 10:53AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

You demonstrated that you have basically no clue about the Clinton plan, thereby making your diary basically just a collection of links to the top-tier candidates' websites with biased commentary.    I have to go to an appointment, but later on I will go into that diary and explain what you have missed regarding Clinton's healthcare plan.  It is not fully released yet, only part 1, but instead of pointing to the already released portion and stating that there are 2 more parts to come you make the claim that the page you link to is the extent of her health care proposal.    Either you did not know, in which case you did not properly research, or you purposely did this.   I hope not on the latter, as that would be pretty shabby, so if you are interested in debating that issue, as you claim, I'll go into that diary and post on the matter a little later on.  

I did not want to pi$$ on your diary, so I left it alone, figuring that it would not be "busy."  

by georgep 2007-06-26 11:12AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

so now i go from not having an substantive to having no clue. interesting.

by bruh21 2007-06-26 11:29AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

by the way- what the diary was for- was an opporutnity for people to discuss the issues. what i did was to provide links so that people as i said at the end could make up their own minds rather than be force feed what george or I think. I know thats a novel concept to you, but my goal was not and nor will it ever be to become a talking head. when i said at the bottom i have no idea what clinton stands for on healtchaer, and judging by what she said- its pretty weak- that's because it is weak. the others have come out with a position, right or wrong, we can judge each on our own. your excuses are just that excuses. this is an issue given her past she already knows. the idea she needs all this time to figure it out is what makes your post bogus. she gets major contrinbutions from healthcare and on top of that its an issue she was dealing according to her own website for a ong time. still and the same- i still left it to others by giving them a link to decide. which is more than i can say for any of your analysis.

by bruh21 2007-06-26 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

You were complaining that your diary had basically no response.  Rather than your explanation (that posters here are not great) I offered an alternative POV (that your diary was not very good.)   I have no illusions that you will agree with me.  In fact, I don't really care.   I just told you how I was glad to see a diary that may discuss healthcare unbiased, then disappointed to see the diary as a bash.   Suit yourself, but that may just be the reason it was not "well visited."  Or perhaps YOU are right and posters here are just not "good enough" for your substantive stuff.    

by georgep 2007-06-26 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

Well, I think it was substantive, however the substance doesn't support the conclusion. After loads of interesting information--which makes a compelling case that rural voters are in play--he offers two unsupported premises to conclude that Edwards is unelectable: (1) a populist platform will motivate rural voters to vote democratic more than alternatives, and (2) John Edwards is the only (or most) populist candidate.

I'm not sure either one is true, and the conclusion doesn't necessarily follow even if they are, since many considerations that are not addressed in this diary also motivate voting decisions.

by DPW 2007-06-26 11:04AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

the above should say ". . . to conclude that Edwards is most electable. . ." -- obviously.

by DPW 2007-06-26 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously


I agree with that.  The appeal to populism has been sold again and again, and polls well and tried a lot, but it just doesn't really seem to work.

The most depressing example was Gore.  He got 48+% on Election Day and his support slumped to 43% within hours or a day or two.  I don't buy that the Republican talking points did a whole lot of work in that short of a time.  More likely a whole bunch of voters gave Gore their vote on benefit of the doubt but were fine with and then agreed with Bush emerging with the Presidency.  Bush kept them in 2001- his approval rating stayed right at 57% until '9/11'.  They only started leaving him in late 2003 and early 2004.

Edwards is imho doing well in polling in the Border States and South because he's not identified with social liberalism in the way Obama and Clinton are.  If either of them wins the nomination and Presidency they'll have some mandate of the kind along with other kinds.

Edwards is running on an economic platform and ducking social policy issues.  That makes him vulnerable to social wedge issue approaches from both sides of the spectrum.  He's not picking up support in the Northeast or West Coast states, I'd suggest because of that, and Republicans are focussing on undoing his strength with Border State swing voters via the haircut/houses "issues".  (It's appeal to classist/antisnob resentments and creating a safe target to attack as a snob.)  Elizabeth Edwards is doing her best to help, obviously, but it's getting to the point of application of the 1993 joke- "We have a Democrat in the White House now, after X years.  And her husband is the President!"

To me all of it adds up to Edwards, like Joe Biden and Bill Richardson, trying to set themselves to bargain their way into top jobs in a Democratic Administration.  To the extent that they create real and useful constituencies, that may be a good thing on the whole.  I wish I were sure they really do.

by killjoy 2007-06-26 01:55PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

Can you give examples of how you think Edwards is ducking on social issues?

by bruh21 2007-06-26 02:13PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

"populism" hasn't worked for anyone since Wellstone died

by sybil disobedience 2007-06-26 08:00PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

Really? Here's a sampling: Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Sen. Jon Tester, Sen. Jim Webb, etc.

by Quinton 2007-06-26 11:08PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

Don't forget Sherrod Brown.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 11:10PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

I've considered Sen. Brown as more of a progressive than a populist or progressive populist though I suppose you could say he is the latter of those. Wondering why on earth that comment got troll rated by BlueDiamond...

by Quinton 2007-06-27 04:27AM | 0 recs
But is that not what MYDD has always been?

Horserace Central?

My first diary here was on Iraq and it generated 2 comments.

My second was on John Edwards and generated 90.

I think MYDD is what it is and what it will remain.

I found Middletown;s comment on Daily Kos rather ironic because in terms of substantive issues, there is MUCH more interest there than there has ever been here.

Of course, I think the quality of the discourse and discussion there ON the issues is piss poor now. And not just because I left  . . .  I said so long before I left.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-06-26 01:32PM | 0 recs
Re: But is that not what MYDD has always been?

To be honest, most people do seem to want to discuss the horserace more than where candidates stand on actual issues versus where the American people stand.

by bruh21 2007-06-26 02:14PM | 0 recs
Re: But is that not what MYDD has always been?


Well, both websites became the centers of the Dean following, which is the new incarnation of the classical Left and moderate Left.  Which factions have never been, and likely will never be, deeply interested in any ideas inherently, just in the most efficacious political tools in the here and now in the game of power and immediate needs.

Liberals are the idea people in the Party, but no fun.  They're mostly too efficient at changing their minds on the evidence or rapidly identifying where seemingly good arguments fail.

by killjoy 2007-06-26 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: But is that not what MYDD has always been?

"Liberals are the idea people in the Party, but no fun.  They're mostly too efficient at changing their minds on the evidence or rapidly identifying where seemingly good arguments fail."

Though a bit too general, this seems very right to me.

by DPW 2007-06-26 02:34PM | 0 recs
Re: But is that not what MYDD has always been?

I think that blogyears may be like cat or dog years, one year is the equivalent of many.  And maybe it's just that I look back on the way that things used to be, and think that things have changed for the worst.

This diary is a bad example.  

I knew that it would get a lot of attention because it had a candidate's name in the title.  It would have been the same if it had said something about Clinton or Obama in the title.

When I say substantive, what I'm trying to get at is  that when people post diaries or comments, they actually bother to link, and to provide evidence that supports their opinion instead of going off on a rant.  Quality may be a better word.

I suppose that another reason for my disappointment is that I see 2008 as being part of a limited opportunity for change, to challenge the political economy of the right.  And to make the case for unions, strong regulations to protect consumer and the environment, and the restoration of the social democracy of the post war years. And I think that although this is what most of the country wants, the class of people who inhabit blogs lack the life context to understand the sense of urgency and outrage that's building up.  

I've been deeply influenced by Karl Polanyi's book  The Great Transformation and I basically see that we are in the midst of what he calls the "double movement", where the market has gone so far to debase human life, that it prompts social protectionism to preserve human dignity and the integrity of the environment.  And that the market will be placed back in a regulating social context, it's  a matter of what form that takes.

Neo-liberalism is not an option. And the more that the market is allowed to corrupt the human nature of life, the more extreme the form that social backlash against the market will take.  Devalue human life far enough, and you open the door to fascism or Stalin.  Allow gradual change, and you can have a social democratic response that allows for the market to be tamed without the pathological elements of fascism or communism.

I really need to write my diary on Polanyi and susbstantive political economy. No relation to the  substantive that started this conversation.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 07:15PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

I call bullshit. Edwards supporters do most of the bashing on this site. Clinton supporters are too busy being bashed to attack other candidates normally. And usually her supporters are blamed with pushing the "inevitablity" meme not being hippies,lol.

by world dictator 2007-06-26 10:00AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

That's fine, if that's what you think build a case for your argument, instead of coming in and stating (without a drop of evidence) that what I've said is incorrect.

I find it hard to take posts like yours seriously, because they show a total inability to present even the most basic argument against what I've said, other than going on like a 3 year old screaming, "IS NOT."

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

where was kerry when this was happening. who knew edwards was our pres nominee in 2004. thanks for letting us know that.

by bruh21 2007-06-26 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

Edwards would have won the NC Senate seat in 2004.

Some arent opportunists like Joe Lieberman.

by BWasikIUgrad 2007-06-26 10:56AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

I don't think Fox News is known as Edwards apolegists either.

by RDemocrat 2007-06-26 12:37PM | 0 recs
Um...Nixon lost, then won. Reagan lost nom. Then

won.  No logic here.  Does not compute.

by Feral Cat 2007-06-26 04:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Um...Nixon lost, then won. Reagan lost nom.

But it does compute if you add in the fact that his polling numbers reflect the premise.

by noquacks 2007-06-27 08:23AM | 0 recs
Oh, come on

Don't bemoan the loss of civility - and then say the loss comes from not everyone supporting Edwards. Yeah, you're right, we'd all be more civil if we supported one candidate. But there's going to be differences, and there's going to be discussion - and there's going to be a few people on EVERY side who are rude and uninformed...to say it's mostly Obama people is unfair and untrue.

If you're looking for a site where everyone is civil to each other and everyone agrees, may I suggest: www.johnedwards.com

by This Machine Kills Fascists 2007-06-26 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, come on

Not everyone agrees with each other on johnedwards.com. Just go to the blog - it's the most wide open forum of any campaign website.

by clarkent 2007-06-28 06:12AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

great diary.  You nailed it.  Corss post this everywhere.

by Rt hon McAdder esq KBE 2007-06-26 11:58AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't take it seriously

The reason why this website has dwindled into a joke has far less to do with the people who post here and more to do with the content in the posts on the main blog. If you take a closer look, you will see that there's more traffic in the diary section of this site than there is on the main page. This occurred LONG before Chris and Matt decided to leave.

If a company loses business, it's not the customers fault.

by BlueDiamond 2007-06-26 05:38PM | 0 recs
John Edwards has

the right solutions.  It's not like 2004, when people said to vote for Kerry because he the "most electable" even if you did not like him much or think he had the best stands on issues. John Edwards has the best positions on issue after issue, global warming, poverty, the war, universal health care, and on and on.  AND, for once, he is the most electable.  One without the other does not mean much.  John Edwards has both.

by littafi 2007-06-26 11:04AM | 0 recs
Good analysis...but

I'd like to point out to Edwards supporters and everyone on here that this is building a compelling argument for one candidate versus the others.

However,and maybe I'm assuming you are in fact advocating for Edwards, I think this diary assumes that Edwards has a monopoly on helping the average working person. I think both Obama and Clinton, as well as many democrats, have done things to help the working class. Ironically enough Bill Clinton has done the most for the average worker in the last...well forever and is pretty much despised around here because of some of the things he did. I guess it proves once again that you can be pro free trade and pro business.

by world dictator 2007-06-26 09:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

No- the assumption of the diary is simply to build the case for Edwards. To assumptions of posters often is to bring their own baggage to the mix. How can you decide based on what was written that it's anti Obama so much as pro Edwards?

by bruh21 2007-06-26 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

by the way- I would say Edwards and Obama cares about these issues- HRC- not so much. I just spent time comparing the three candidates website on healthcare. Obama and Edwards were creating ideas for the future- and HRC- again not so much.

by bruh21 2007-06-26 10:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

You are probably not informed to the fact that Clinton is unveiling her health care plan in 3 parts.  1 part has been introduced, the other 2 parts are still to come.  So, a discussion can't be undertaken until you have the plan in front of you, which is not out yet.  

by georgep 2007-06-26 10:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

riiiight

by bruh21 2007-06-26 10:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

riiiiight what?  Are you saying that there will not be two more parts to the health care proposal?      

by georgep 2007-06-26 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

whatever george- i will believe a plan when i see one. until then you are a just typing words

by bruh21 2007-06-26 10:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

Is it taking so long to deliver Clinton's health care plan so her advisors can look at Edwards' plan and Obama's plan and then create one after checking with the health care providers and big pharma?

She obviously didn't think she needed to prepare ahead of time.

by pioneer111 2007-06-26 02:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

Because, thinking from a political point of view, would you release a Hillarycare part 2 one second before you had to?

Also, Edwards' plan is basically the Wyden plan with a few tweaks. Don't act like he thought it up out of nowhere all by himself.

by world dictator 2007-06-26 05:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

what are you three? who fucking cares who thought up a plan? grow up. jesus I just listen to ann horse face coulter try to put down edwards, and now I come here to read you saying dumb shit like this. Argue or disagree over a plan. Hell call the plan bad based on facts, but please, please stop with these type of silly moronic posts.

And by the way, you are doing your candidate zero favors saying she is too chicken to lead.

by bruh21 2007-06-26 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

by the way- I would say Edwards and Obama cares about these issues- HRC- not so much. I just spent time comparing the three candidates website on healthcare. Obama and Edwards were creating ideas for the future- and HRC- again not so much.

Basing your decision on who has the prettiest website? Why am I not suprised bruh21?

by world dictator 2007-06-26 05:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

you are another moron. I am not going to dignify your type of analysis with anything more than that. I don't care if I get troll rated. Respect is a two way street, and which you post childish things like this, you desired to be called what you are.

by bruh21 2007-06-26 07:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

and by the way - while bowie is busy troll rating me- let's be honest- something the above poster doesn't do. Rather than trying to do as he or others here do- let the canddiates words speak for themselves on healthcare. i didn't spin, and i didn't try to create a filter between it and those reading it. that is something that certain people (hillary) can not allow to happen.

by bruh21 2007-06-26 07:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

I am advocating for Edwards, insofar as Edwards is advocating for populism and for a message based campaign that competes for rural voters instead of writing them off.  It's about the message, not the messenger.

The problem with Clinton and Obama is that they are both in knee deep with Robert Rubin and the group of Wall Street supporters that are trying to muzzle anyone who dare speaks on economic populism in the Democratic party.

To be honest, I have no doubt that Clinton and Obama will speak on poverty, but I think that only Edwards has been willing to talk convincingly about inequality, and the reasons that the poor are poor.  Talking about poverty is fine, but does nothing to change the situation, talking about inequality, that opens the door for change.  And that's the entire point of economic populism.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 10:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

I actually think that both Obama and Edwards are going to do a good job contesting the rural vote.  I can't find the article, but I was reading yesterday about how Obama was going to places in rural South Carolina who haven't seen a democratic primary contender in years.

I do think that your analysis is interesting, I believe that Obama is more electable but I have little factual basis for that.  It is derived simply from anecdotal evidence.  I do think that Edwards and Obama are both quite electable and would help boost downticket races.

by Obama08 2007-06-26 10:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

agreed

by bruh21 2007-06-26 10:23AM | 0 recs
The biggest problem I have with Obama

is that his campaign about the messenger, it's about him, rather than a message.  And when you start looking at the people on Obama's economic team, you have to think that if he ever gets around to articulating a message it's not going to be economic populism.  It's going to be positively Clintonian because he's got a bunch of Rubinites running the show.

And as for reaching out to rural voters, Clinton and Obama haven't produced anything like Edwards's plan for rural recovery.

They aren't populists, they're fully in the suburban mode, and that's the reason I just don't think that they can win over rural voters.  And that means they have to fight for the suburbs, and play more culture war instead of talking about inequality.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: The biggest problem I have with Obama

It is a good point, but I think that Obama is going to focus his outreach in rural areas not necessarily on economic populism but instead possible on values voters and patriotism.  That may sound stupid, but let me try to explain what I mean.

I know that objective reports are far preferred to anecdotal evidence, but bear with me.  The power that Senator Obama has in reaching out to rural voters is going to come from two places, the first is the religious community.  

Senator Obama gave a speech at Rick Warren's megachurch and while the crowd was initially unsure they were ecstatic by the end.  Though he doesn't preach they anti-abortion anti-gay rhetoric they tend to hear from conservative Christians he talks in a language they understand.  

I live in a conservative Christian part of Michigan and I know a number of people who even to this day are strongly supportive of the President.  I've been asking them who they support in the primaries, and several of them have mentioned switching parties to vote Obama.  When I asked them why they said they loved the way he talked about social justice issues.  He makes progressive issues Christian issues.

The other way I see him being able to reach these issues is precisely because he is not using the occasionally divisive language which drives a wedge between the wealthy and the poor.  Whenever he speaks about solving issues he seems to reject the existing frames and say, "there is a better way, and working together we can find it."  This frame rings true and makes people think, we are America, of course we can do better.

by Obama08 2007-06-26 10:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

YOu miss the point. Economic Populism is the KEY issue for delivering the widest possible vote to the Whitehouse.  This diary NAILS the point.  Absolutely nails the point.

And Iowa will prove it.

by Rt hon McAdder esq KBE 2007-06-26 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

I think that there are several ways to appeal to rural voters.  Economic populism is one that has worked effectively in the past.  I am simply suggesting that it is possible that Senator Obama can be successful with rural voters by casting progressive ideas as moral imperatives.

I do not think that I missed the point, I think that I was suggesting that there isn't always one correct answer.  I did actually agree in the post that you are responding to that Edwards would be successful contesting the rural vote.

by Obama08 2007-06-26 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

what are the other ways?

by bruh21 2007-06-26 01:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

If you look just a little up your screen you will see my post on this topic.

by Obama08 2007-06-26 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

Okay - read it- so you are saying that he wants to reframe Christian issues from social conservative issues to economic issues? Isn't the problem that David Kuo (former head of faith based inniative) has cited as what many Christians expressly do not seem interested in? What I mean is- is Obama's audience really interested in refocusing their attention ?

by bruh21 2007-06-26 02:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

It has to be a part of an overall messaging strategy and they can't be framed as economic issues.  As soon as they become framed as economic issues the battle is lost.  They are social justice issues.  The way Obama talks about them is exactly right and the reason I'm encountering Christians whose number one issue previously was abortion who support him.

You need to look no further than his DNC Convention speech for the framing:

If there is a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for their prescription drugs, and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandparent. If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.

It is that fundamental belief, it is that fundamental belief -- I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper -- that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams and yet still come together as one American family.

This kind of rhetoric is already included in his stump speech, it isn't a stretch to modify that to play up these themes in the correct communities and settings.

by Obama08 2007-06-26 02:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

I think that all the polling that we have from recent years suggests that framing issues as "moral imperatives" forces the debate back into the values/culture war that has made it impossible for Democrats to compete in rural areas.

As I pointed out in the graphic from the 2006 rural tracker poll, rural voters want to see something done about economic inequality.  Economic populism is a message that can serve as a unifying theme that works everywhere.

Furthermore, faith for rural people isn't the "show me" affair that it is for suburbanites.  It's a private matter that deeply influences the way that you see the world, but not something that you force on other people.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 01:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

My sound card just died about 15 minutes ago or else I would find a good clip for you, but I think with the right messenger a faith message can work in rural areas.  Senator Obama's style of oratory lends itself to these kinds of speeches and it works.

It definitely needs to be done correctly.  I think that if you were to mix equal parts economic populism and Matthew 25 it would work.  I think that if you have a leader who believes and doesn't sound contrived when talking on the topic they ought to discuss faith.  Matthew 25 works perfectly with the progressive message.

Matthew 25:34-40

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

by Obama08 2007-06-26 02:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

Also- in building a coalition is not the problem that by using Christian doctrine you turn off other parts of the party who even if they are Christian don't want their faith used this way?

by bruh21 2007-06-26 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

It does depend on how you go about building that coalition.  Some ground rules:

- Only speak of faith if you are comfortable speaking of faith.  I have seen a number of Democratic officials speak of faith when it was unsure ground for them, it wasn't pretty.

- If quoting scripture, use it sparingly and only a couple words.  You need to use just enough to relate to Christians in the crowd without using so much that people of other faiths become uncomfortable.

- Never allow scripture and faith alone to be your guide.  Most people in the Democratic party (and hopefully most people in general) want a sound scientific or logical explanation for why something is right, the theological explanation should only assist your case.

- When giving a speech which has large faith based components do not make it a pep rally.  For most people their faith is a personal thing, applause lines in a faith speech should be used sparingly and appropriately.

by Obama08 2007-06-26 02:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

Interesting ideas. I will have to think about it. I can't see anything wrong with it on its face.

by bruh21 2007-06-26 03:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

There's a gentleman who ran for Congress in 2004 in the area I'm from.  

A very decent, honest man, who's a preacher.

Now the GOP congressman in this district uses faith as a crutch to support him when confronted with questions about social justice.

Now the gentleman running for Congress as a Democrat was constantly urged by supporters to use religous language as a vessel for a message of social justice.  But this guy felt that he needed to seperate his roles as a preacher and as a candidate.  He felt uncomfortable mixing the two, feeling that it corrupted both.

I think he's right.

Ultimately, in pursuing social justice goals like universal access to healthcare, and taming the excesses of the free market only state based solutions are going to be effective.

The Clinton (William Jefferson) administration's
efforts to replace the regulatory function of the state with market based self-policing failed.  We now live in a country where the lack of regulations protecting consumers has allowed food to be laced with dangerous chemicals, and inequality is at levels not seen since the 1920's.

Moreso than Iraq, Bush's legacy will be the destruction of social state, the product of the New Deal and the Progressive era that tamed the tendency of the market to consume the human aspects of life in pursuit of profit.  Grover Norquist got his wish, and government was made small enough to drown in a bathtub.  And the city of New Orleans went down the drain too. This is the challenge that we face, and only the state is large enough to tame the market, and to restore balance so that man and nature are not forever damaged.

Back to Obama, and the use of religious rhetoric.  By using relgious rhetoric in the pursuit of state intervention to restore the human character of life, and constrain the market, you create a situation in which religion respects an establishment of the State, and the State respects an establishment of religion.  This is a huge problem, and just can't happen.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 06:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

You make good points, I think in this we are simply going to have to agree to disagree.  I feel that if you are moved by your faith to act then there is absolutely nothing inappropriate about discussing those issues of faith.  I respect the decisions of the gentleman who ran in your district, each candidate must decide for themselves whether they are comfortable with it.

by Obama08 2007-06-26 06:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

I have had a day to think about it. There is nothing wrong with people discussing their faith so long as it is understood that faith, as you mention, can not be the basis for public policy. There is a fine line, but it's one that I don't think should be crossed and must be explained to people somehow so that the left doesn't repeat the mistake of creating the same condition that produced the christian right.

by bruh21 2007-06-27 09:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

We are a government of men and also a free market of men.  You don't use religious rhetoric to define state intervention.  You use it to guide the shared moral responsibility of government and business.  Often times the common ground people seek but rarely find is right there in the feeling that faith is a key component in our lives.  If we can meet on that common ground that we all have a shared responsibility to each other, then the rest is just details.

by Doug Dilg 2007-06-26 06:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...

I really like your analysis on the rural vote.  I agree that the populist message is a key.  However I would also agree with Big Tent Democrat that Edwards needed to be seen as the anti-war candidate and Obama let him go there.  The end of the occupation and the populist message are inter-related.  If we don't withdraw from Iraq we don't have the resources needed to address economic issues at home.  It was an adjacent item from Edwards main focus but it was essential for credibility on the foreign relations front, which is needed in the urban and suburban areas.

I think Edwards is handling the issues remarkably well. His rural recovery strategy shows depth of understanding.  Campaign strategy will be a key to winning the nomination and I think he is doing the right things.  

by pioneer111 2007-06-26 02:36PM | 0 recs
Uh-Oh !!!

HA! I invented the Hamilton Project tag with my post about it:

Hamilton Project - The Empire Strikes Back

by blues, Sun Apr 09, 2006

So, Mr. Middletown, you just mentioned:

The problem with Clinton and Obama is that they are both in knee deep with Robert Rubin and the group of Wall Street supporters that are trying to muzzle anyone who dare speaks on economic populism in the Democratic party.

And you made another reference to this downthread. And this rang that little bell, so I Googled around for Robert Rubin for three minutes and came up with:

Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project

From all I've read about this Hamilton Project, if Clinton and Obama are in cahoots with them, that is a very, very big problem for me.

(Is that moniker referring to the place in CT? I'm from Danbury.)

by blues 2007-06-26 02:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Uh-Oh !!!

I'm not going to go dig for info right now.

But Obama and Clinton are both deeply connected to the Hamilton Project and Robert Rubin.

Clinton is being advised directly by Rubin, but the connections to Obama are more concerning, because they haven't received near the attention that Clinton has.  Obama is in many ways being prepared as a trojan horse in case Clinton loses.

Obama was the keynote speaker at the launch of the Hamilton Project praising them, Jaime Rubin, Robert Robin's son, is one of Obama's key fundraisers, and Karen Kornbluh, Obama's head economic adviser, was a Rubin aide. And his economic staff are free traders.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 05:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

The problem with Clinton and Obama is that they are both in knee deep with Robert Rubin and the group of Wall Street supporters that are trying to muzzle anyone who dare speaks on economic populism in the Democratic party.

If Edwards is going to be anti business then I'd like to see how he gets anything done with a congress full of politicans who "have sold out".

Furthermore even if Edwards isn't taking campaign contributions from businesses now, which he is, he'll be taking as much money as he can get from businesses during the general.

I much prefer a candidate who can work with businesses to get things done. Populism and business friendly environments are not mutually exclusive. As soon as democrats embrace this message we'll start winning more elections and doing more for workers. Is it any concidence that Global Warming and Health care are starting to gain traction in congress because businesses are fed up?

My point is that businesses are not intrinsically evil. Some pro business conservatives, well thats another issue. Businesses are a tool that can either be used for good or bad. If you can explain to a business owner supporting X bill benefits them then they'll support it. And if you can demonstrate why that same bill will help the working class then the working class will support it too. And win we both compromise we both win.

by world dictator 2007-06-26 05:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

I don't see any anti-business rhetoric in Edwards positions.  He believes in the capitalist system, just that the worker whose labor creates the wealth should have a fair share of it.  That requires a balance of power which is provided by regulations and collective bargaining.  

I agree, that being populist and pro-business are not mutually exclusive.  Being exploitive of workers is in conflict with a populist agenda.  If this can be readily understood then the business community has nothing to be concerned about.  What would change is the obscene compensation paid to CEOs and profits to shareholders.  A balance is needed for fairness.  Some object to that goal.

by pioneer111 2007-06-26 10:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

You gotta admit. It's pretty fucking funny that you say "Edwards isn't anti business" and then the very next post someone an Edwards support says something anti businnes

by world dictator 2007-06-27 05:58PM | 0 recs
Business Has Sold Us Out

It's way late to be worried about people being "pro-business", "anti-business", or whatever. Business used to be almost synonymous with producing stuff, but that has changed. The "pro-business" interests have bribed the government into letting them do whatever they desired, and we have now come to find that what they desired was to sell off all of the USA's means of production to places like China. So we now are counting down the shoe on a national catastrophe, and must reach for any straw that might save us. It's now far too late in the day to be worried about coddling the business interests, now that we are on our way to a mega-depression.

by blues 2007-06-27 03:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

Edward's has figured out what the new rural poll says--that the rural vote will determine who wins the election.  This poll from the Center For Rural Strategies has good numbers.  Like or not, candidate are going to have to take a look at, and address these rural issues.

As far as I'm concerned--it's about time.

by Nick Stump 2007-06-26 08:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but
The Clintons sold us out on healthcare and more "competition" with the Tele Communication Act that CONSOLIDATED the media - resulting in very few Progressive voices "allowed" on public airwaves.
With Hillary raking in truckloads of cash from media corporations and telecoms - don't look for media reform during a Hillary prez. And what about net neutrality?
Remember - during the 90s taxpayers paid for fiber optic -ha! So far - MIA.
by annefrank 2007-06-26 11:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

Yeah Bill Clinton sold you out by spending so much political capital trying to get universal health care passesd before it was on anyone's radar. Good thing economic populists like you defeated the Clinton health care plan. I totally thought it was the $100 million dollar ad campaign by the insurance industry that killed it. Guess I was wrong.

by world dictator 2007-06-26 05:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Good analysis...but

The health insurance industry have spent $3 so far on Hillary and Obama and Edwards.

by Rt hon McAdder esq KBE 2007-06-27 02:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Jimmy Carter in 1976

Jimmy Carter managed to run a rural type campaign in 1976 although not so much in 1980.  Take a look at the electoral college map.  Carter won every southern state but Virginia (IIRC).  He's the only Democrat since FDR to do that well in the south so it's more than just civil rights.  Carter also upset the electoral map within states.  He did much better in rural PA than a "normal" Democrat but worse in Philly, Pittsburgh, and the suburban areas.

Carter did not carry a single state in either the Rocky Mountains or Plains areas.  This was certainly more than a regional swing but less than a national swing.  The graph at the start of your diary goes back only to 1980.  Too bad.

The 16 point edge Reagan enjoyed in 1980 in rural areas was built in part on hyper inflation and the Iraq hostage ctisis.  The role of a hand full of religion Republicans in pushing the essentially secular Reagan over the openly religious/spiritual Carter may have played a part and it may not have but they got the "credit."

by David Kowalski 2007-06-26 11:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

Great analysis, Man!

by annefrank 2007-06-26 11:15AM | 0 recs
Doesn't pass the sniff test

If Edwards was the most electable Democrat he wouldn't be waaaaaay back in third.

by dpANDREWS 2007-06-26 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: False comparison

The diarist is talking about the general election.  You use the national polls for a democratic primary, but that is not what is being talked about.

by jsamuel 2007-06-26 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Doesn't pass the sniff test

He isn't wayyyy back. He's got a solid 20% of the vote nationally and polls very well in Iowa.

by Rt hon McAdder esq KBE 2007-06-26 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Doesn't pass the sniff test

I would say that Edwards is nowhere near a solid 20% nationally.  

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/ 2008/president/us/democratic_presidentia l_nomination-191.html#polls

The RCP averages have Edwards at 12.4%.  At best he might be at 15% if Gore's numbers are redistributed.  

And the polls in Iowa are very close.  Although it is probably right now his best state (better than NC.)

by georgep 2007-06-26 02:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Doesn't pass the sniff test

I'm looking at Pew. Bring a shift from Pew and the point would be open.  

by Rt hon McAdder esq KBE 2007-06-27 02:15PM | 0 recs
Racist! Sexist!

Kidding.

No, but the fact of the matter is racism and sexism are factors in electability.

But it can cut the other way as well.

I believe Obama will certainly draw more African American votes in a GE than could Edwards and/or Hillary, though Hillary will help somewhat as well on that score.

I believe Hillary will garner more women votes as well.

By the same token, Obama will likely do not as well with white voters and Hillary will do less well with male voters.

Now, is it all a wash? Probably not.

Are there other issues affecting electability? Of course, including, strangely, issue focus.

But race and gender are issues.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-06-26 12:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Racist! Sexist!

I don't deny that for a small number of people race and gender are going to be the issue, however I think that for the vast majority of people it's a matter of the message and not the messenger.

And I think that if we talk about candidates who build the party instead of tear it down, we need candidates who focus on the message, and not the messenger.  Clinton and Obama are all about the messenger, and I think that in the end this does nothing to contribute a coherent message from which the party can build year to year.

The media loves stories about the messenger, because it relieves them of the burden of actually looking at the policies proposed by candidates.  And it ends up driving those least likely to vote away from the political process.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 01:45PM | 0 recs
Define small

But on the point of the Standardbearer working for the WHOLE Party, well, that's one of my mantras.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-06-26 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Define small

Small- maybe 10-15% of the people who can reasonably be expected to change their vote.  If you've got a white robe in the closet but always vote for Republicans anyways, it doesn't really matter, because it's not going to affect the outcome of the election.

More on the part of building the party, I think that one of the great problems facing the Democratic party is a lack of a cohesive message.  Since the late 1970's Democrats have went in different directions, and Republicans have centered on the anti-tax, anti-government message as their core message.

Democrats in trying to be the "big tent" party have become the party with no message, winning become Republicans are really that incompetent.

I think of 2008 in term of punctuated equilibrium.

Many different demographic groups are in play right now, and there's a very real opportunity for a populist to come in and attack the failures of the anti-tax, anti-government rhethoric of the right, and make the case for economic populism and a return to the FDR legacy.  With the government intervening to ensure all equal opportunity.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 02:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Racist! Sexist!

You try to do a serious piece and then say something like Clinton and Obama are all about the messenger.  It cheapens the debate and frankly cheapens the image of your candidate.  Is that really all the game he's got?  The Senate just passed the first CAFE standards bill in 20 years and a direct line can be drawn from that bill to the one Obama introduced along with Senators Biden and Lugar.  He just recently went into the lions den in the Detroit Economic Club, spoke directly to the Automotive Industry and put forward a reasoned and yes, non-partisan, argument for raising CAFE standards.  He has been the point person and key legislator for the Ethic reform bills which have recently passed.  I'm not a Clinton person so I'm not going to speak for her but she's a lot more than just an empty vessel and anyone who thinks so is just kidding themselves.

by Doug Dilg 2007-06-26 02:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Racist! Sexist!

Obama's proposal he made in Detroit came out to $7/per car in health care assistance to the big three at a time when healthcare (and legacy) costs are around $1500/per car. It was an insult, and anyone who has an inkling of understanding about the auto industry would tell you as much.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 02:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

A few things.

First, much of this diary contains very useful information, and you should be commended for the work that went into it.

But, I think you are a little quick in your conclusion that Edwards is the answer. To begin with, although I think economic issues are very important to most rural voters (certainly in the south, they are), the kind of populism respresented by Edwards' rhetoric and policies may not be the most persuasive approach (I'm leaving aside, for now, the merits and practicality of his policies. I think some of his proposals are economically misguided and unlikely to get anywhere in DC). Many rural folks have a kind of aversion to huge government (especially federal government), so there will be a mixed reaction to his ambitious ideas. Also, much of Edwards' platform is aspirational language rather than concrete, identifiable plans for improvement. That is fine--and not unlike the plans of other candidates--but it may not be as comforting to a prospective rural voter as one might believe. It may actually leave them with the feeling that smoke is being blown up their ass. Credibility will be key here, and I think Edwards and Obama can convey the requisite credibility (Edwards' biggest hurdles will be the media reports suggesting hypocracy, such as his charging $55k to give a speech on poverty).

All we know from the poll you cite is that rural voters list disparity in economic policy as a primary concern. That doesn't tell us specifically what they want to hear in the way of reform. And, some of what they want to hear may just be bad policy--which could cost democrats other votes should our candidates promote them. As a strategic matter, we should avoid a scenario wherein a swing in one direction provokes a swing in the other direction among some other part of the electorate.

There are also other issues that were not listed in the poll that matter to rural voters. Education is a big issue for many rural areas. Rural schools are suffering badly for various reasons, principally, lack of resources (including human capital) and inadequate parental/community support. All the candidates address educational disparities, although I think Edwards and Obama have addressed rural-specific issues more effectively. Significantly, Obama is the only person who speaks the problem of anti-intellectualism in poor communities. Though this may be unsettling to some audiences, I think it ultimately reflects a higher level of seriousness about the problem. Whether it translates into votes, I don't know. I suspect that the parents who would be offended probably don't vote.

Environmental justice, believe it or not, is a significant issue in certain rural areas. I've heard Obama speak to this, but I'm not sure about other candidates. I think on the environment more generally, the candidates wouldn't be too distinguishable from the perspective of the rural voter. Protection of land is the main issue for many of them (i.e., hunters).

Another thing to consider is how different the rural vote can be. Here in South Carolina, the rural vote in my part of the state is mostly black. (SC is 30% african-american) Obama would probably outperform Edwards there, but I don't want to be too presumptuous about racial voting patterns. Other rural parts of this state are white--and, in all honesty, probably less inclined to vote for a black candidate. It's hard to tell, really. Moreover, rural voters have tons of other internal differences (farmers, plant workers, religiousness, war support, etc.) that require attention before their voting patterns can be effectively predicted.

Finally, there are the intangibles. Voters tend to choose people they like, trust, and identify with. I have mixed feeling about criteria like these, but it's a reality. I won't hazard a guess as to which candidate will do best. Edwards can be a Willie Nelson democrat sometimes, which helps, but he's also a polished trial lawyer. Given Edwards' talent in front of a jury, he should do fine if he can survive the media and republicans' attempt to portray him as a rich smooth-talker. Obama's story and rhetoric tend to avoid any impression of elitism, but Obama will have to deal with other kinds of identity politics. In general, I think he's pretty likeable and trustworthy, but there's a lot of time left in the campaign.

But, finally, I think there is something about Obama that is ignored when we talk about electability. Before I get to it, let me say that much of my family comes from rural (mill-village) South Carolina; also, as it happens, I tend to know a lot of libertarians as well as conservatives. When Obama comes up, many admit to be attracted to him for the simple reason that he would be the ideal representative to the rest of the world at this point in our history. His worldly, multi-ethnic story and cooperative attitude is a refreshing change after the past 7 years.  

Well, that's was way more than I wanted to write, but this can get complicated. My basic point is that it's too difficult to predict with real confidence. I think I can say, however, than Edwards and Obama can campaign better than Clinton in the rural areas.

by DPW 2007-06-26 01:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

nice post.

by bruh21 2007-06-26 01:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

My basic point is that it's too difficult to predict with real confidence. I think I can say, however, than Edwards and Obama can campaign better than Clinton in the rural areas.

All rural areas?  One might argue that in some northern rural areas, HRC might do better against, say, Romney, than Obama or Edwards might do.  Who knows?

Since I have every confidence in your basic point, I have to take the rest with somewhat of a grain of salt!

:-)

by Rob in Vermont 2007-06-26 03:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

No, not all rural areas. I remain open to the possibility that Clinton might perform better than Obama and Edwards in some places. And, you're also right to point out that the much depends on whom will be nominated by the republicans.

Nevertheless, I'm skeptical that Hillary would have broad appeal to rural voters. I base this primarily on her intangibles, I admit, which are tough to quantify/measure for comparative purposes. I also think she is least likely to actually campaign in rural areas and the south.

But, you're justified in taking all this with a grain of salt. To be sure, we're talking about a lot of people I've never met and whose minds/dispositions I am unable to read.

by DPW 2007-06-26 03:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

Nice post.  THere is very useful data on rural voters here but I must admit I am tired of the electibility meme.  No one knows at this point and I say let the primary voters decide.

by John Mills 2007-06-26 03:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

The Identity Politics that are about to be played out in the General election.  

by Rt hon McAdder esq KBE 2007-06-27 02:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

I'm tired of Edwards supporters referring to him as the most electable candidate we have because he's a white man who hails from the south. Hillary is making states like Texas competitive (or at least that's what the last poll I read from TX said a few weeks ago), and he'd get slaughtered for his idiotic decision to brush aside the war on terror as a "bumper sticker" in the places where national security is a hot button issue (i.e. the south).

All Edwards is doing is rehashing some of his 2004 rhetoric while promoting a big, lavish fantasy agenda that will never pass in this country. It's all talk and smiles with him, and to me, his campaign is nothing but fakery draped in catchphrases and finger pointing. He tries too hard to be Bill Clinton, when really, he's everything bad about the former president. Honestly, Edwards does nothing for me, and I think most of America feels the same way.

by Jordan Boyd 2007-06-26 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

Hillary is not competative in Texas. Are you drunk?

by Rt hon McAdder esq KBE 2007-06-27 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

First off I have to criticize your use of jpegs.  Use the png format for that type of image.  You will get smaller sized clearer images.

That being said you do a good job of explaining how edward's willingness to be bipartisan and moderate on social issues would help him in the general election.

I prefer Obama's approach of trying to compete in those areas without sacrificing core democratic values.

by sterra 2007-06-26 02:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

Is the later part of what you wrote- sacrifice of core Democratic values what Edwards stand for?

by bruh21 2007-06-26 03:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?
I liked the straightforward  Edwards' approach of not sacrificing the democratic values of moral obligations to each other and "Equal opportunity for all, special privileges for none." (Thomas Jefferson).  The Democratic Party has strayed far far from out core beliefs of protecting our liberties.  "A Necessitous man is not free".
I think the Man from Middletown is on to something here.  Leaving no state and no county behind is also Howard Dean's strategy.  
by Feral Cat 2007-06-26 05:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

There is some very interesting data here about rural voters here but all of this talk about electibility 17 months before an election reminds me of sports fans who annoint their teams champions in the off season b/c of a trade.  Frankly, it is worth about as much.  You never know who is going to win until they play the games or have the election.  May the strongest candidate win.

by John Mills 2007-06-26 03:24PM | 0 recs
Lousy sports comparison

Granted, there are over reactive sports fans who do just that, pretend a trade acquisition or draft pick is worth much more than it is.

But it's hardly true that you never know who is going to win a championship until all the games are played. No QB in several decades with a yards per pass attempt average of below 6.7 has won the Super Bowl. Most have been well above 7.0. I could give many more examples, ones never covered by the mainstream media.

Similarly, electability is hardly a vague application. When the nation is basically 50/50 you can't nominate candidates with high unfavorables and who basically forfeit a huge chunk of the nation and insist no one else could have done better.

One concern I have about this diary; the over playing of the 21% shift among rural voters. If that were true, we could nominate anyone and not even have to campaign. The entire nation has shifted somewhat and it may be slightly more pronounced in rural areas, but to quote numbers like 21% is a misleading disservice, the same as pretending that Ohio is now sharply a blue state on the federal level based on a few statewide results in '06.

by Gary Kilbride 2007-06-27 01:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Lousy sports comparison

We are in off the season and haven't had one primary/played one game.  Are champions based on last years stats?   If you looked at records prior to the World Series last year, you would picked the Detroit Tigers (95-67) to beat the St Louis Cardinals (83-79) but yet the Cardinals won.  There is some useful data here but in essence that is what is being done here with MfromMs conclusion.

I get that people are concerned that Hillary can't win but polls change tremedously during campaigns - Mike Dukakis was 17 points up in July 1988 but ran a crap campaign and lost.  Howard Dean was way ahead going into Iowa but collapsed.  Bill Clinton was supposedly dead after Jennifer Flowers and the draft in 1992 yet went on to serve 2 terms as President.  The examples are endless.

If we want to have a discussion about electiblity after some voters have actually cast their ballots - fine - but let's not use this poll or that poll to try to determine electibility 17 months out.  Let's have an election.

by John Mills 2007-06-28 07:34AM | 0 recs
INTERESTING POLL!!!!

For those who thought Obama had the lock on the youth vote.  Think again!!  Here's a diary for you georgep!!

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/06/2 6/opinion/polls/main2983410.shtml

by samueldem 2007-06-26 05:00PM | 0 recs
Re: INTERESTING POLL!!!!

No, we are asserting, and are STILL asserting, that Obama has the COLLEGE EDUCATED YOUTH VOTE.

Get it right.

by BlueDiamond 2007-06-26 05:31PM | 0 recs
Re: INTERESTING POLL!!!!

Because as is well know, if you don't go to college.

If god forbid, you work in skilled trades, or other blue collar worker the value of your opinion must be discounted for the portion of your humanity taken away by not going to college.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 05:43PM | 0 recs
Re: INTERESTING POLL!!!!

If you don't know what the heck you are talking about, you may want to stay out of the conversation.

by BlueDiamond 2007-06-26 05:48PM | 0 recs
Re: INTERESTING POLL!!!!

Hmm.

Yes, I suppose that I know nothing of politics having worked as staff in my state's legislature, and having been responsible for using NCEC data to draw up the field plan for the Congressional campaign I worked on.

Don't know what NCEC data is?

If you don't know what you're talking about, maybe you should stay the hell out of the conversation.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 05:54PM | 0 recs
Re: INTERESTING POLL!!!!

You know what you can do with your trumped up  creds ?

by BlueDiamond 2007-06-26 06:09PM | 0 recs
Re: INTERESTING POLL!!!!

You know what.

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

I don't forget where I came from, and I don't think that I'm better than anyone else because of the things I've had the opportunities to do in my life.  I only hope that the young men and women coming up today have the same opportunities.  I can't in good faith deny them what was given to me.  

And I can't look down on a man or a woman who does manual labor, because all work has dignity.  Even if it doesn't require a college degree.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 06:23PM | 0 recs
Re: INTERESTING POLL!!!!

My sources at UCLA suggest the Democratic chapter is  split between Edwards and Obama.

by Rt hon McAdder esq KBE 2007-06-27 02:10PM | 0 recs
WRONG

You have posted some cute little graphs and maps. That's great. But, this statement right here:

"And John Edwards is the only candidate selling populism."  ....................." Now, John Edwards is back on the trail talking about  [poverty and inequality]  .I just hope he sticks to it, because that's the ticket to winning the rural vote, and taking the White House in 2008."

IS BASED ENTIERLY ON YOUR OPINION!

My late father, a Preacher , used to always say, "Even the devil himself can use the truth to tell a lie"

FTR: No, I'm not calling you the Devil or a Liar, but I am asserting that you are taking facts and adding your own opinion to them.

by BlueDiamond 2007-06-26 05:28PM | 0 recs
Re: WRONG

Oh great the son of a preacher talking about a  tissue of lies.

by Rt hon McAdder esq KBE 2007-06-27 02:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

How condescending.

I've thoroughly linked to documentation backing up the claims that I made, yet somehow your opinion trumps the  mountain of evidence I've compiled to make my case.

You want to know why I say that economic populism is the key to winning the rural vote.

Here it is.  This is from a 2006 poll conducted by the Center for Rural Strategy.

If you want to refute that, then please link to either a poll or an article providing some substance to your opinion that this poll is in some way inaccurate.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 05:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

Where is this statement documented in your chart?

"And John Edwards is the only candidate selling populism."  

Hmm?

by BlueDiamond 2007-06-26 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

John Edwards overarching theme is a message about Two Americas.  I'm dissappointed that he hasn't used that speech recently.

Clinton and Obama have no message, their campaigns are based around the novelty of themselves as messengers rather than actual plans to change people's live.  Look at Obama's TV ads in Iowa.

He's so vain, he clearly thinks this election is about him.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 06:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

OPINIONS again.

by BlueDiamond 2007-06-26 07:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

So these  ads aren't biographical, hence about the messenger?

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 07:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

What? The election is very much about the candidate and not simply abstract plans or policy proposals. We're being asked, essentially, to hire a specific person to assume and carry out the responsibilities of president.

If you were an employer interviewing candidates for a job--any job--you would naturally evaluate candidates to determine who is most likely to accomplish (reliably, successfully) specific objectives. Doing so requires you to determine personal characteristics/dispositions such as commitment, interpersonal skills, intelligence, values, etc. Obama's ads, smartly, address these very kinds of things. What kind of a person is he?  What are his moral/political priorities? Does he demonstrate leadership skills like commitment to ideals, a constructive approach to problem solving, a sense of public obligation, a collective vision for this country that inspires broad support? The content of his ads make perfect sense. Whether they will get him the job is another matter, but they provide the kind of information it would benefit a voter to know.

This messenger/message dichotomy doesn't make sense. Sure, it's about ideals, but it is also specifically about a person who can be put those ideals into action.

by DPW 2007-06-26 07:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

So, if I understand you correctly campaigns shouldn't run biographical ads?  I know of very few campaigns that don't have biographical ads.  It is important in establishing a narrative and a trust with voters.  Furthermore, if you don't define yourself for the voters someone else will, and it won't be good.

by Obama08 2007-06-27 08:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

If he's the most electable why is he so far behind in fundraising?

by Doug Dilg 2007-06-26 06:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

Because in America, you no longer have to pay a poll tax in order to participate in the political process.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 06:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

That's not much of an answer. Presidential elections aren't won on demographics and platforms alone.  

by Doug Dilg 2007-06-26 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

No they are won by votes, and in that everyone is equal.  

I have a serious problem with the way that our system effectively gives allows individuals to buy influence disproportionate to what they would receive in influence were distributed equally as in one person, one vote. It's the world we live in, but that doesn't mean you have to like it.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 06:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

I bet that breaks your heart doesn't it?

by BlueDiamond 2007-06-26 06:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

No, not really.

I like democracy.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-06-26 06:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

Oh, that's because the Media won't cover him and when they do, it's not GLORIFIED enough. It's all the Medias fault. They say so many bad things about Edwards and that's why he has no money.

The Media LOVES Barack Obama and have shown it since before he announced, Madassa, B. Hussein Obama, Is he a Muslim Terrorist, he just quit smoking, but did he really? Are we ready for a  smoker in the White House?, Are we ready for a black prez?, Is he black enough? Is he too Black?,Do the Black people like him? Do the White people like him? Why do the Blacks not like him as much as the Whites Like him? Look at his ears, he's an empty suit, he's all style no substance, Rezko oh no , Osama , oops, Obama, the swimsuit, the anti Hillary ad, Slut shakes her booty for Obama in ad. With all the Medias Overwhelming LOVE , he was able to generate tons of crowds, more small donors than all the candidates, and more cash for the PRIMARIES that any candidate. Thanks to the MEDIA who LOVES Obama.

But, Edwards is simply not getting enough positive coverage like Obama. He gets negative Press: Edwards touts UHC Plan, Edwards is in Iowa, Edwards is in NH, Edwards slams Bush, Edwards backs out of the Fox Debates, Edwards Wife's Cancer has returned send money NOW!, Coulter attacks Edwards, Send Money Now, Edwards doing great in state polls, Edwards is great, Edwards is awesome, Edwards is attractive, Edwards is the most electable, and that's why he's not generating cash and crowds.

See now? It's all the Medias fault that he's third. It's all the Medias fault that he has less small donors than Hillary and Obama. It's all the Medias fault. It's got nothing at all to do with him. He did nothing wrong ever, ever, ever! Poor John Edwards.

by BlueDiamond 2007-06-26 06:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is John Edwards the most electable?

chill out.  It's all in your head.

by Rt hon McAdder esq KBE 2007-06-27 02:06PM | 0 recs
Fascinating Post, thanks

I really appreciate the work you put into this. MyDD has often had the best "wonky" discussions, Pollster.com excepted. Recently, the partisan voices have made things more like DailyKos than before. That could be expected since all the Democratic candidates (and their supporters) are well-aware of the importance of mind-share in the blogs.

So, if anyone talks positively about one candidate, it causes the supporters of the others to jump in. This often becomes a dis-service to our understanding... so maybe we have to go over to pollster.com.

Anyway, the idea of electability is important, and MfromM's Rural, Suburban, Urban analysis is a good thought game with actual numbers and data on which one can compare iseas and form opinions. It is a deeper analysis than simply looking at which are the swing states.

But, electability DOES require looking at which states each of the candidates brings into play. For example, does Richardson open up states with larger hispanic populations? Are any of those swing states?

While I have a lot of appreciation for Edwards populist rhetoric, and I understand that rural voters have populist impulse, I don't think your single poll is sufficient to prove your case. I believe that populist rhetoric has a resonance across a number of demographic groups. That means your analysis could be run in a nmber of interesting ways.

by MetaData 2007-06-26 09:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Fascinating Post, thanks

Can you give examples of other ways to look at this. Above someone gives an interesting view as to how Obama is doing this through his social justice discussion with people of faith. Do you have other lenses through which we could look at this?

by bruh21 2007-06-27 09:17AM | 0 recs
HISTORY Will Prevail

This is strange. I started out on Edward's case big-time, but that was really to just push the sludge through the pipes. I really prefer Kucinich, but Edwards comes next in my line. As I see it, the back-and-forth arguments about rival candidates has become excessive. I really have no enthusiasm for Hillary or Obama, but I don't try to attack them.

The message that I keep 'catapulting' (heh!) is that we can't just keep arguing about the candidates without any focus on the HISTORY that is happening around us RIGHT NOW! I predict that the candidates that are most concerned with the war disasters and the economic survival of the general public will be the only ones who stand ANY CHANCE of being elected after all the societal melt-downs that are so very likely to beset us by 2008. I don't look at the candidates from the perspective of current events, but rather from the perspective of future situations that, while stark, are beginning to look inevitable.

In other words, even the dinosaurs of Connecticut are going to hate Lieberman the war-monger with white-hot passion when they get their foreclosure notices, while trillions are being spent on his stupid wars. A LOT IS HAPPENING NOW, AND BY 2008 IT WILL BE VIEWED AS HISTORY, AND THOSE WHO LET IT HAPPEN WILL BE REVILED. THAT IS MY ARGUMENT.

I am not so focused on the primaries as on the history that looks poised to clear all the decks totally. Even the primaries will seem totally irrelevant after the present junta gets done eating our lunch.

by blues 2007-06-27 11:47PM | 0 recs
Racism?

I don't think it's necessarily racist to assert that the only white male among the TT candidates is the "most electable." But I do think that's the way it will seem if Edwards tries to make this an argument in his campaign. As everyone knows, in politics, sometimes appearances are more important than reality, and if the one white male candidate who's got a shot in the race starts trying to argue he's the "most electable" then people will think what they think.

But then this really is a substanceless argument anyway. You can put all the graphs and charts you like, you can do up his horoscope and read the bumps on his head, but none of that shows John Edwards is by any stretch of imagination the "most electable."

To convince me you will need to show me that national polls and head to head matchups in June the year before the GE has even started have any accuracy whatsoever as far as predicting the outcome of a GE.

Remember, this is how we got John Kerry last time.

The long and short of it is that it's total BS to try to determine who's the "most electable" at this point--AND--Edwards can't use that argument anyway. The one white male in the TT can't afford to try to argue that he's the most electable because, fairly or not, he'll be painted as a racist and/or sexist. And it won't even be the Obama or Clinton campaigns who do that painting--they won't have to say a word.

by Mystylplx 2007-06-28 10:53AM | 0 recs

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