Richardson's Mexican background can help with the latino vote. I'm not sure that he deserves to be the contender in the general.
But, just the fact that a native-speaker of Spanish is running, endorses the fact that the Democratic Party speaks for hispanics. Too bad that his last name isn't spanish; shallow, I admit, but people don't pay close attention.
Speaking directly to the theme of map changing. Let's look at the states with substantial Mexican (or other latino) population. Obviously, the SouthWest. More significantly California, Texas, and Florida.
The big problem with the hispanic vote is turnout, which is partly due to people without citizenship, but more importantly due to povety and disenfranchisement. If Richardson can solve that problem (that is let people know that the Democratic Party can respond to their needs), then the map-changing ideas in this post have some merit.
Now, I also agree he hasn't been a very good campaigner.
Colorado's "Blue Ribbon" Panel on health care is also looking at a number of plans for improving health care. One of the plans is for Universal Health Care funded by taxes. All the other plans are various strategies for requiring and subsidizing insurance.
Aside from the Universal Plan, all the others are SICK: designed to Save Insurance Companie's Keisters.
The "Union Plan" put forward by SEIU, would provide the least improvement in the uninsured.
I used to read MyDD comments quite regularly, and really liked many of the very informed writers. I'm afraid the interesting ones (for me) went over to Open Left.
Fair enough, I'm happy enjoying Open Left, but MyDD has always had a very high level of "wonkery", and that is really valuable.
My bigger complaint is that I find the candidate posts very repetitive and prone to stupid he-said, she-said conversations in the comments. I have my prefered candidate, but I'm not at all interested in the tit-for-tat arguments FROM PARTISANS. I'd like everyone to have a more independent line (even if they have a prefered).
I thnk the strategy of representing or presenting each of the pres candidates, has detracted from the independent analysis.
And, normally I agree, and we should consider real facts, especially relatively dependable things like polling just prior to the actual election.
But, this far in advance, we are looking at a number of impressionistic ideas like personality, negatives vs possitives, is he black enough or too black, mood of the country, coat-tail effect of candidates at the head of the ticket.
So, let me say admit I'm encouraging the possibility, rather than making a prediction.
Even though it is a pretty Conservative state, Wyoming has two Senate seats and its sole House up in 2008. In a difficult year for Republicans, it is likely that people will split their votes, and give one of the three to the Dems. This is especially likely if a good democrat is put forward.
I don't have any statistics or data on that, but I've seen split tickets in the past. Sometimes it is a sense of fairness, or maybe the pox-on-both-their-houses, or a protest.
CO-05 & CO-06 are just plain conservative. White, Christian, Military or Wealthy versions of conservative. We aren't talking artistic web designers or California liberals, let alone Urban metrosexuals.
CO-04 includes just about all of the Colorado plains. The rural population there may be aging as you say, but it is only 15% of the district. The Suburban corridor of CO-04 is growing very quickly, but the demographics of the growth are more or less similar to the CO-05 & CO-06 growth, whiter, wealthier, "southernier" and "christianer" than the average.
So, Colorado is moving a bit more Liberal on average, but this is mainly in the not-so-wealthy Suburbs of Denver, and the resort areas of the mountains.
Understanding Colorado politics requires recognizing that the blue and red areas are unevenly distributed. So you have deep blue areas like CO-01 (Denver) and CO-02 (Boulder/Resort-Mountains), but also you have deep red areas like CO-04, CO-05 and CO-06 (Ft Collins/Plains, Colorado Springs and the S Suburbs of Denver).
This is similar to the way partisan demographics are uneven on the national level, and remains true even if the state-wide vote has moved to a light-blue. I'm not sure we'll see huge swings in the three most conservative districts, but we are quite likely to see as the two "swing" districts CO-03 (mountains) and CO-07 (Denver N Suburbs) go from pale to deep blue.
Three key points for Colorado politics:
(1) Moderates move blue. The older SW suburbs of Denver that have traditionally voted Republican seem to have moved to the Democratic column. This implies that old-school, moderate Republicans are shifting to the Democrats.
(2) Rise of "Good Government". The anti-tax, anti-government line in the West may have run its course. The anti-tax restrictions finally started hitting middle-class services, like highways and schools. Owens, a darling of the GOP farm system was replaced by Ritter, a good-government Democrat. After all, honest, competent government is also Western ideal.
(3) Purge of moderate republicans. Radical Conservatives (neo-cons, theo-cons and racist-cons) seem to have taken over the state-wide Republican Party. This wouldn't have happened without the dominance of the hard-right districts in CO-04, CO-05 and CO-06 (Musgrave, Lamborn & Tancredo).
In other words, the dominance of the right-wing in a few districts gives them power they wouldn't have if all the districts were pink instead of red. This prevents moderate Republicans from regaining influence in the Party.
So, perhaps a hard-right, anti-abortion initiative may produce some blowback among various Democratic, Libertarian, and moderate Republicans. But, I would say other, long-term trends are more influential and more important.
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.
With two Senate seats up in the same election, Western state voters are very likely to split the ticket. There is kind of a "fairness" attitude about it, or possibly "we don't really trust either Party, so let's have one of each to watch over the other".
Since the Congress caved to Bush and funded the Iraq war in the supplemental, their favorables declined in polling. Bush's support also declined. I don't think the decline came from the Republican base, who are already-committed, pro-war Republicans. It points more to dissatisfaction from the liberal wing of the Democratic party.
In other words, there isn't much middle there, and trying to cater to some middle-road on Iraq is just going to lose more support from the Dems best supporters.
While Bush or the next great GOP hope can dig this hole deeper, I suspect all the Democratic candidates will have their hands tied by the difficult situation on the ground in Iraq, and will not withdraw as fast as the American people desire. Maybe they get lucky (in the cynical sense) and Iraq collapses on Bush's watch.
But let's say the most anti-iraq president wins the election. He (gender specific, I think) will depend on support and political cover in Congress. And Congress will depend on support and pressure from the populace.
The best service we could do is to produce electoral wins by stronger anti-war candidates for Congress, which means playing a strong role in the primaries. If we end up with a Congress that is 1/3 split (Reactionary, Conservative-Centrist and Liberal), then we don't have the means to change US foreign policy.
We may even be better served by losing some bluedogs to the right wing, as their pro-war support could have the effect of dragging the Democratic party to the right politically, and down in the polls.
First, they CAN read polls. That actually explains the problems they face (people aren't buying their politics), and thus their deceptive political writings and their use of triangulation strategies.
These so-called centrists of the Democratic Party are deathly afraid that the activists will become active. Perhaps, they're even more afraid of the left-wing of the Party than they are of the Republicans. The Party Base, Liberal Democrats, Activists, Move-on, and the Blogging Media add up to a power base that is capable of challenging the establishment.
This fear of the base has always been there, at least since Vietnam, but now we have a whole set of issues where the Liberal wing of the party is coherently opposed to the Conservative wing, and we find the general public siding with the liberals. So, their fear is understandable because it isn't just about losing to the Republicans. These are centrists by ideology and economic interest (who pays their bills?). They don't actually want Liberal ideas represented because they and their big funding sources are conservative, if not corporate. They CAN read polls, and realize that they have to shore up the middle, aka use Republican framing, or else their strategies will be swept aside.
The Centrists have had a couple of decades to work on maintaining ideological control. To be cynically political about it, Iraq is a proxy for other issues, so votes to continue the war are a proxy for other positions. These votes WILL end up coming back to haunt some sitting Democrats in the Primaries.
We've seen these centrist strategies play out in State Party politics, where Liberal Platforms are ignored by the candidates supported by the Party higher-ups, and go soft on the issues that matter to the base:
- Single-Payer Health Care
- Responsible, multi-lateral foreign policy
- Policies that favor Labor and lower income
As for the war still being popular anywhere, keep in mind that 60% of the country now supports withdrawal, and 60% think the war was a bad idea. That means anywhere with a PVI of less than R +10 probably now has a majority in favor of withdrawal. In turn, that means the war is still popular in about two Democratic held seats, TX-17 and TX-22. Even then, only barely.
While it may be true that certain Democratic regions have residual pro-war sentiment, merely asserting that fact without evidence is a weak argument. Something like 95% of Dems are anti war, and so all we really have is a marketing issue. Perhaps we need nothing more than a good political articulation.