Nearly 50/50 nation may obscure different trend: Some states getting redder; others, bluer
Except for super-partisans of the Right and the Left, one assumes some or many Americans still theoretically embrace the idea of a two-party system (or idealistically, multiple parties); that it's simply not healthy for one or the other party to dominate a state or region for decades at a time. Again theoretically, each party supposedly balances the excesses of the other and checkmates the corruption of the opposite party. Although this theoretical system of checks and balances may break down in this modern era where moneyed interests bankroll BOTH political parties, at least at the national level!
However, one point obscured in the immediate post-election coverage: Many states are getting REDDER or BLUER. (By the way, I really detest this cockamamied partisan color scheme. It is so misleading for those of us who associated Blue with the Tory conservatives, as in Canada or Britain, and Red with parties of the left, as in Red Labour or Liberal! From my research, we should blame the late Tim Russert and/or NBC's Today Show. Same network!)
So the headline to The NEWS JOURNAL's editorial today: "Can the Republican Party come back in Delaware?" Except for Greg Lavelle's victory for that hotly-contested State Senate seat, a more precise headline might have been, "Can the Republican Party come back in New Castle County?" Obviously, the G.O.P. is thriving in lower Delaware, particularly in Sussex County, but THAT brand of Republicanism alienates some Chateau Country Republicans. Perhaps newly-elected Ernie Lopez (who used to win my trivia questions!) can be the bridge.
But the one-party dominance of a state is obviously not limited to Delaware. My native Illinois, like Delaware, used to be fiercely competitive between the parties for statewide office. No longer. Indeed, lest we forget, Barack Obama easily won his race for U.S. Senator against Alan Keyes, the conservative talk show host and onetime Presidential hopeful himself. Keyes was way too conservative to win a statewide race in Illinois. (Historic footnote: That Obama--Keyes contest was the very first in U.S. history in which BOTH major party candidates happened to be African-American.)
Similarly, most Southern states are simply becoming fiery red.
Case in point, Tennessee (where I was a talk-show host, newscaster, and news director, 1977-87). I covered Al Gore's successful run for U.S. Senate. That now seems like a long time ago. And Tennessee Republicanism was personified by someone like Howard Baker.
Now? Read this article from The TENNESSEAN of Nashville: "Tennessee: A red state grows redder"
(Substitute non-coastal Sussex County, Delaware, for Tennessee as you read this, and note the uncanny parallels, with the obvious exception of Sussex County's Hispanic population. And it's not a stretch to imagine current Tennessee U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander - whom I covered off & on as Governor - suffering the fate of Mike Castle in some future Tennessee G.O.P. Senate primary. Incidentally, then-Governor Alexander introduced me to the first Delaware politician I would ever meet, Pete DuPont!)
This article perfectly illustrates why we'll see a tug-of-war between Republicans at the local level and some national Republicans after this election...
I challenge the notion that we need two parties.. We need parties that work together. Today's Republicans cannot work well with anyone. Today's Democrats can. Much criticism was given to Barack Obama for not moving faster when he controlled the House and Senate. There was a reason. Those Democrats who were elected from Conservative areas were conservative as well, and representing their constituents was their first priority. Point is, party affiliation is irrelevant. Belief in what one's constituents believe, is very relevant.
The benefit of having one party in Congress, is that there is no partisan excuse not to work together... A Congress, or a General Assembly where there is only one party, though equally divided between progressives and conservatives, can work together in the same fashion Congress once worked together back in the day, when two parties put their constituents first, instead of future interests of their party...
The problem is all Republican. Not Conservatives versus Liberals, but Republican... Just like it used to be a Democrat Problem when Dixiecrats ruled the South.
Thu, Nov 8, 2012 9:34am
Secondly, even though the map shows very red and very blue, if you look at the winning totals, you see that the very red states were 60/40 favoring red, and the very blue states were 60/40 in favor of the blue.
Put in proper perspective, if you were standing in a grocery line, and ten people were in front of you, 5 with red shirts on, and 5 with blue shirts on, you would have 50/50 or North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Nevada, and Colorado. Of those ten people the difference between them and say a very liberal state like New York, would be if one of those red shirts in the 50/50 line, switched to blue... Likewise, Kansas would be represented if only one of those blue shirts in 50/50 line, switched to red....
So there is really no reason Congress cannot get along. The only difference between New York and Kansas is one person switching shirts... The other nine, standing in line, change nothing at all, and are exactly alike, in both regions.
We need winners, so we arbitrarily made rulings that the most votes carried a whole state. But that doesn't negate that on the ground floor, there are quite a few Democrats or blues living in Tennessee... In fact, there are more Democrats in Tennessee, then is the total population of Delaware... Consider ourselves fortunate that for as small as we are, we have 1/50th of a voice in the Senate over everything that takes place. and if there is a tie, we are the only state in that chamber(for the next 4 years), to have 1.5/50th voice...
Thu, Nov 8, 2012 9:44am
But you're missing my main point: A state such as Illinois or Delaware or even Tennessee would often have U.S. Senators of opposite parties, or a Governor of one party and some other statewide officials of the other.
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Nov 8, 2012 10:14am
I think the trend is continuing that the map shows Blue in metro areas, and Red in rural counties. In Delaware, the rural areas are shrinking quickly; this time Kent became blue with NCC due to all those out-of-staters from the Northeast moving here and the growing minority population in Dover. It won't be much longer before Sussex too becomes blue as gay/lesbian folks who have beach homes in the Rehoboth area, retire in Rehoboth making this their main residence (rather than the DC metro) where they'd be voting, and as more and more out-of-staters from the Northeast also move into Sussex. The Lower Delaware TEA party GOP's days are numbered.
As Delaware is filling up with liberal Northeasterners who retire here, I wonder if the Southern states, NC, SC, GA, etc., are filling up with conservative folks who are moving there for retirement to get away from the libs in the North? Maybe that's why they are getting redder, just as Delaware is getting blue'er.
Thu, Nov 8, 2012 10:37am
Agreed with Kavips. There should be no party affiliation, and elected officials should work together. However, that's not going to happen anytime soon.
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Nov 8, 2012 11:17am
Well voting has consequences. Here is an article from CBS that tells of possibly the first consequence of the election outcome. So the DEMS may have won the battle, but lost the war. I guess time will tell.
Sadly Mike it is just beginning...Boeing has already announced big layoffs too.
Ever read Atlas Shrugged? We are about to step into Ayn Rand's world.
Thu, Nov 8, 2012 10:46pm
Yep. Glenn Beck-Churchill was right all along! And so was Mr. Pizza.
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Nov 8, 2012 10:49pm
Interesting, article EarlGrey. Boeing said the layoffs weren't due to the election, but that does seem strange to announce these layoffs two days after the election. Also that article said Lockheed Martin is laying off. Both were claiming to want to be leaner and given the fact the wars are coming to an end, that could be part of why they're cutting back, but it still seems suspicious that two days after the election they both announce layoffs. I guess in one sense they figured a Romney Presidency would mean larger contracts for them, with Obama more cuts.
Fri, Nov 9, 2012 4:26am
I would love to comment on the Boeing situation, but as I work there, it would be improper. All I can say is "thanks for re-electing the Socialist."
Mike from Delaware
Fri, Nov 9, 2012 8:46am
JimH: Hope you're not directly affected.
Fri, Nov 9, 2012 10:03am
JimH - Do you think Boeing owes you a job? That makes you the socialist. Did you vote for Romney the businessman? If he had won, would you be celebrating the smart business acumen that led Boeing to lay-off people?
If you're reading this paper you probably work at the Vertol plant (or whatever it is called now) making weapons systems. Isn't it good that we are fighting wars so you are employed?
Fri, Nov 9, 2012 11:40am
Elections have consequences...buckle up as we move FORWARD towards the fiscal cliff like lemmings.
dunmore: it's not just Boeing laying off people...there are hundreds of employers who will join in soon, thanks to Obama's lousy economy, higher taxes, higher health-care costs, higher energy-costs, and increased regulations. After FOUR YEARS he has ownership of our economy. We almost had a President who understands fiscal responsibility, but he lost to Santa.
Fri, Nov 9, 2012 11:42am
Al. I did miss your point. I went another direction.
But historically, we all had a progressive era growing up. The legislation created during the Great Depression skewed a lot of things towards the middle-class, and for many of us maturing during the forty years after WWII, very few dared question the wisdom of that middle-class-centered, value system.
Take Goldwater-Johnson as a gauge. The nation leaned 60-40 towards liberal philosophy.
Now, the popular vote is 50-50. I would argue that when you have such a tight line that decides the balance of power, where whether a progressive or a conservative person gets elected, decides the balance of power of a nation, that would tend to make one more inclined to vote in line with a philosophy that mirrors one's beliefs...
Now here's my point. If the philosophy, such as the New Deal was set in stone, and no huge changes say to Social Security, Medicare, military spending, religious rights, had even the remotest possibility of even being overturned, then we would, at least I would, vote in a person because of their individual attributes. Just to back up this hypothesis, we see this exact trait taking place on a local scale, where probably very few people went to vote in the 4th District, with taxation, reproductive management, or religious issues on top of their mind. It was decided on personal attributes, (if one can believe Rick and Al's callers as well as your exit interviews at the polls)..
I would be interested in whether any of the experts you speak with have entertained this theory, that because of the fine line separating the balance of power in a 50-50 split, party philosophy has become the dominant factor when choosing any candidate....
If national electorate were in a 60/40 split favoring either one of the political philosophies, we might again return to not caring about the political affiliation of state officials, and having split representation again in our legislature, state offices and Congress..because once again, a person's attributes were more important than his personal beliefs....
Sun, Nov 11, 2012 3:19am
Kavips: Your theory does sound good, but it's based on an awful lot of idealism, which I gave up on years ago.
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