Now, before anyone starts throwing stones at me, I would like to say this: yes, I think Ford would be a great asset for the DNC. That being said, on a good day, Ford would be ¼ the asset that Dean is. That doesn't mean we should start kicking Ford while he's down- the bad guy here is Carville, not a former candidate for Senate. So be mad at Carville. Let him be the next Lieberman (our favorite punching bag the greater part of this year). In the meantime, we need to really look at what happened in Tennessee, to prevent anyone else from jumping to the wrong conclusions.
Here are some numbers to think about:
Tennessee is 15% Liberal, 40% Moderate, 45% Conservative.
Ford won 89% of the Liberal vote, 63% of the Moderate vote, and 19% of the Conservative vote.
So, from what I've heard, a lot of people are thinking that if only Ford has picked up the rest of the Liberal vote (that 11% of 15% of voters) instead of aiming for that block of voters three times in size (getting 19% of 45% of the vote) he would have won.
That's just flat wrong, sorry.
(Need I remind anyone that the gay marriage ban won 80-20%. Any candidate making a pro-gay marriage stance would be dead and buried at the starting line.)
Here are some clearer numbers:
The racial numbers shouldn't surprise anyone. Ford captured 95% of the black vote, and 40% of the white vote. Considering some of the comments made here, that seems like a lot of white rednecks who don't mind voting for a black guy.
Not a lot to be said about that.
Those people who made less than $50,000 per year, voted for Ford 57-42.
Those people who made more than $50,000 per year, voted for Corker 57-42.
That's not a typo- the divide is that precise.
So, in order to win Tennessee based on these numbers, we would either need to 1) make more poor people, or 2) try to win some wealthier voters.
Here are some more numbers:
Ford captured the 18-29 demographic 51-49%. He also carried the 60+ demographic 53-47%. Corker carried the 30-44 demographic 54-44%, and the 45-59 demographic 55-44%.
So, in order to win Tennessee based on those numbers, we would either need to 1) encourage more young and old voters to vote, 2) wait for the rest of the boomers to reach retirement age.
The education numbers are the ones that are most puzzling:
Ford carried the voters with no High School education 66-32%. He also carried those with High School only 53-46. Corker carried both the Some College and College Graduate demographics...but Ford comes back to capture the Postgraduate demographic 52-48. So...what is it about people with advanced degrees that make them more likely to vote for Ford? I'm stuck here.
Coming into this race, a lot of people were saying that the rural voters would decide not only who wins this race, but who will win Congress. It held up here.
Ford lost the suburban vote 39-60%. White suburbia may always trend Republican, even if running a white Democrat. He captured the Urban vote 54-45%. But he lost the rural vote (which is about 40% of Tennessee) 52-47%. White suburbia may always trend Republican. However, if a good ol' country boy candidate can avoid losing the urban vote, he might have a chance.
From these numbers, the best I can tell is that in order for a Democrat to win a statewide election, he or she will need to capture either more white voters, more wealthy voters, more middle-aged suburban voters, or more conservative voters. Some of you have probably already realized that these four groups are actually one and the same. These are the voters we need to reach- conservative, white, upper-middle class, college graduates. Or the racist rednecks in the boonies, whichever is easier.
How does running a more liberal candidate help here?
Here's what I'm saying: I will be here in 2008, writing about how I'm volunteering for the Democratic nominee for the Senate. This nominee will be conservative. He or she will be pro-life and anti-gay marriage. He or she will not be a fan favorite here at DailyKos. But I will do what I can to get this person elected, because I still believe that any Democrat is better for the country than any wingnut neoconservative.