Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

TIM NOAH MAKES A SENSIBLE POINT ABOUT THE SOUTH It's not a swing region. It's the core of the Republican base. It is to the Democrats what California is to the Republicans: a place they're only going to win if they're running away with the election. Yeah, Bill Clinton won 4 southern states in 1992, and they netted him 39 electoral votes. But you know what? He beat Bush in an electoral landslide, 370-168. You know what would have happened if Bush the Elder had swept the entire old confederacy? Clinton would have won in a somewhat smaller electoral landslide, 331-207. Similarly, in 1996, Clinton won 4 southern states (exchanging Georgia for Florida, a twelve electoral vote pickup) which gave him 51 electoral votes. But you know what? Clinton beat Dole in the Electoral College, 379-159. And if Dole had completely swept the south? Clinton still wins, 328-210.

The Old Confederacy is the most heavily Republican region in the country. It's not terribly shocking that a Democrat, in a close race, would write it off. Republicans have basically written off California and the I-95 corridor in the same fashion. They know they're not going to win there unless they're going to win the election anyway. But nobody gives them flack for it, because "California and the I-95 corridor" isn't a recognizable geographical-political region in the way that "the South" is. And nobody in the Republican primaries talks about how the eventual nominee needs to be someone who can appeal to people in Vermont, or Rhode Island. They have a base region, and certain swing states that they target (Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania). If New England or California goes Republican, great. If they don't, they don't. It's no big deal, because the Republicans don't need them to win. The Democrats could be the same way. Why they're not is anyone's guess.