We’ve all heard, even from folks that are supposedly sympathetic to liberalism, about the dire state of the Democratic Party all over the country. In the South (which for our purposes is the 11 Old Confederacy states and Kentucky) there’s a lot of truth here.
In the South, the GOP controls 8 of 12 governorships, 20 of 24 Senate seats, 87 of 137 Congressional seats, and the state legislatures of the South breakdown as follows: 5 Democrat, 5 GOP, 2 split. Bush won the EVs here 161-0. Florida was the only state where Bush’ margins were not over 5%.
Except for Adlai Stevenson in 1956 (52%) and Truman in 1948 (50%) Democrats have never won the southern white vote since 1944. Except for Carter in 1976, Democrats have never won the total southern popular vote since 1960 (when JFK won 75% of the black vote, most of which was still southern based). Aside from LBJ (45%) and Carter 1976(47%) Dems have not won 40% or more of the southern white vote since 1960. Clinton only averaged 35% of the southern white vote in 1992-96, just 3% more than Mondale and Dukakis in 1984-88.
What of the other 38 states (and the District of Columbia)? What was their take on the Democrats in 2004? From the numbers, they responded pretty well to the Dems. More importantly, there’s lots of room (and possibilities) for Democratic growth here.
Electoral Votes: Kerry beat Bush 252-125 in the NonSouth. He won 60% of the popular vote in the West, 56.4% in the NorthEast, and only lost the MidWest by about 2% (mainly because of the highturnout in safe GOP states like Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. Except for Arizona, West Va., and Missouri, all the battleground non-southern states were close (5% margin or less). West Va. has a long history of voting to re-elect the incumbent by large margins, while Arizona is the home of popular Bush cheerleader John McCain. Even so, both the Dems AND the GOP listed Arizona as a battleground state. Only in Missouri can it plausibly be argued that the Kerry campaign, and/or the Democrats, seriously misfired. The EVs totals by regions ar as follows: NorthEast- Kerry 117-0, West- Kerry 77-47, MidWest-Bush 78-58 (this could’ve been won had Kerry won either Missouri or Ohio, or both Iowa and West. Va.
The Senate: Dems have 41 NS Senate seats to the GOPs 35. In the West, its GOP 15-11 but in the Midwest its 15-13 Democrat, and in the NorthEast its 15-7 Democrat. There are also good chances for growth in Senate seats in Montana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and maybe Nevada, Ohio, and Arizona. The only Dem state that might be lost is Nebraska.
The House: in the NS, its a GOP advantage, but only 145-143. The Midwest is a big part of that. Western Congressman are 53-45 Democrat while Northeastern ones are 47-35 Democrat. In the Midwest, the GOP has a 65-43 advantage, mainly because of rural areas, in particular Iowa (4-1 GOP US delegation) and Ohio (12-6 GOP). While the GOP has a majority of the Congress delegations from Indiana (7-2), Kansas (3-1) Nebraska (3-0) Oklahoma (4-1) and closer margins in Missouri (5-4) and Michigan (9-6). the Dakotas are both 1-0 Dem, while West Va. is 2-1 Dem. Illinois is 10-9 Dem (it was 10-9 GOP before the 2004 election). Wisconsin and Minnesota are both split 4-4.
State Legislatures: nationally, because of Dem pickups there are 3,658 GOP legislators to 3,656 Dem legislators, and 18 independents (7 in Vermont). Nationally, Dems control 20 SLs (including DC) GOP also has 20, 10 are split, while Nebraska’s is unicameral and nonpartisian. Dems had a net gain of 60 legislative seats and a net pickup of 3 legislative chambers. Here the problem is actually the MidWest, not the South. South- 5 Dem, 5 GOP, 2 split. West- 5 Dem, 5 GOP, 2 split. NE- 8 Dem, 2 GOP (NH and Pa.), and 2 split (Del., NY). MidWest: 2 Dem, 8 GOP, 3 split, 1 non-partisan.
Governors NS: GOP 20-18, nationally 28-22. This is a pickup of one seat from pre-2004. Dems have done a good job of winning governorships in NS GOP states (Kansas, Oklahoma, Montana), GOP leaning states (Arizona), tossups (West Va., Iowa, and somewhat to strongly Dem swing states (NH, Oregon, Mich. Wisconsin, Pa.). Moral of the story: blue states get your act together. Safe Dem states like Hawaii, California, NY, Vermont, Massachusetts, RI, and (my homestate) Maryland ALL have GOP governors. If Kerry voters in these states would vote for the same party in gubernatorial elections as in presidential ones, the GOP advantage in governors would be gone. Period.
So 2004 saw growth for Dems in the NS with more gold mines still to be mined there. Lets go get the gold.