Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Fundamental Shift More Important Than Mere Hope Tinged With Opportunism


Better than Kaine, worse than crap

If my pal Bil is correct and Obama names Bayh his running mate tomorrow, I'll endeavor to explain why I'm withdrawing my endorsement of him and why I'll be skipping the presidential line on the 2008 ballot. It's something I've never done before. And I certainly intend to vote and to continue supporting progressives who are running for Congress. The PAC associated with this blog, Blue America, has raised nearly $1.3 million and all of that is meant to help elect progressive leaders, not Evan Bayhs or Dan Quayles. And although Bil's prediction depressed me today, over all, my spirits are still high, primarily because the fundamental change in thinking of so many Americans is unstoppable. Conservative America is dying a death it has earned and a death that is long overdue.

This morning's NY Times talk about a landslide of Democratic registrations, perhaps even enough to overcome Republican voter fraud.
For more than three years starting in 2005, there has been a reduction in the number of voters who register with the Republican Party and a rise among those who affiliate with Democrats and, almost as often, with no party at all.

While the implications of the changing landscape for Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain are far from clear, voting experts say the registration numbers may signal the beginning of a move away from Republicans that could affect local, state and national politics over several election cycles. Already, there has been a sharp reversal for Republicans in many legislatures and governors’ mansions.

In several states, including the traditional battlegrounds of Nevada and Iowa, Democrats have surprised their own party officials with significant gains in registration. In both of those states, there are now more registered Democrats than Republicans, a flip from 2004. No states have switched to the Republicans over the same period, according to data from 26 of the 29 states in which voters register by party.

Now, in states where pluralities would be more comfortable living under a Nazi system-- Louisiana, Kentucky and Oklahoma-- Republican registration rose, but those were the exception to the rule and in traditional battleground states like Iowa, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania Democratic registrations swamped Republicans. In traditionally more Republican-leanings states, like North Carolina, Arizona and Colorado, independent registration has gone sky-high. The fact that this has been going on for 4 straight years is probably going to translate into a catastrophe for the GOP at the polls in November, at least in congressional races, regardless of how badly Obama continues to screw up.
“This is very suggestive that there is a fundamental change going on in the electorate,” said Michael P. McDonald, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an associate professor of political science at George Mason University who has studied voting patterns.

Yet while an unpopular war, a faltering economy and a president held in low esteem have certainly combined to hurt the Republican Party, Democrats are also benefiting from demographic changes, including the rise in the number of younger voters and the urbanization of suburbs, which has resulted in a different political flavor there, voting and campaign experts said. The party has also been helped by a recent willingness to run more pragmatic candidates, who have helped make the party more appealing to a broader swath of the electorate.

Many of the congressional races that Blue America is most heavily involved in are districts with the biggest swings away from Republican registration, like our three key Florida races in Miami-Dade and Orlando, races likely to see the political demise of Republican rubber stamps Ric Keller, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart. They are part of an Obama campaign priority and a long-term national trend, demonstrated in 26 states with registration data that shows Democrats gaining 214,656 voters while the Republicans lost 1,407,971!

This may well be compounded when it's time to draw new congressional districts.
Elected Democrats have made significant inroads even in places where Republicans have enjoyed a generation of dominance. In Colorado, for example, Democrats control the governorship and both houses of the Legislature for the first time in over four decades. Last year, Virginia Democrats gained a 21-to-19 majority over Republicans in the State Senate, the first time the party has controlled that body in a decade.

In New Hampshire, Democrats are in control of both the legislative and executive branches for the first time since 1874. In Iowa, Democrats have taken over the statehouse and the governor’s office simultaneously for the first time in a generation.

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