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That notion was nothing more than an insistence on replaying elections of the past rather than looking towards the future.  

Sometimes the argument was disingenuous, used more to push an otherwise-favored candidate than out of conviction.  We heard a bit of it from supporters of Wesley Clark and Mark Warner, who both eventually declined to run.  And we heard it often from some Edwards supporters.  Thankfully, THANKFULLY, THANKFULLY the Democratic Party didn't buy the idea.  Whether just used as an argument or honestly believed, the idea was wrong.

Illinois.  Chicago.  There's nothing swing about those locations.  They're liberal, period.  If I were to 'build' the perfect candidate from scratch, I wouldn't have that candidate be from Chicago.  And yet we found our candidate there, a candidate who ran a smashingly successful campaign.  A candidate who won a larger percentage of the popular vote than anyone else since LBJ in 1964.

Of course, the entire "We must nominate a Southerner in order to win the Presidency!" argument was always nonsense.

First of all, it should have been noted that nominating a Southerner is no guarantee of victory, as 2000 demonstrated.  Beyond that, it should have been seen that although Bill Clinton carried some Southern States in both 1992 and 1996, he carried more than 270 Electoral College votes excluding the South.  In both 1992 and 1996, Clinton carried four Southern states for 39 and 51 Electoral College votes, respectively.  But on both years he carried more than 320 Electoral College votes outside of the South.  So Bill Clinton's take in the South was not crucial to his victory but merely supplemented an array of non-Southern states already sufficient to win the Presidency.

Variations on the "Must Nominate a Southerner!" theme:

Hardly a guarantee of success.  See 2004.  See 1988.
Hardly a necessity.  See ... um ... 2008! (yes, it's a real stretch to consider Delaware a Southern state in the 21st Century, even if it once was a slave state).

No, they don't.  Clinton never carried the South; he won a minority of Southern Electoral College votes in during both of his elections, just as Obama did this year.

Sure they can.  Obama competed in the South.  He didn't win it, but he didn't need to do so.  He picked off its second-biggest Electoral prize in Florida, and added North Carolina (tied for 3rd-most Southern Electoral College votes) as well as Virginia (5th-largest).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Listen, I have no problem with Southern candidates.  If they best candidate is a Southerner, then by all means nominate that candidate!  But if the best candidate is not a Southerner, then the same holds true.

We need to continue to pick the best candidate for President!  

Whether they are from Illinois or Maine, California or Alabama, Maryland or Idaho.  Geographic aspects of a candidate is nothing but a bonus - it should not be determinative.

And I hope we have all now learned this lesson.

Originally posted to Collideascope on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:57 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Competancy.. today, tommorow, forever! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tracker, RethinkEverything

    That needs to be something we as Democrats need to foster in our culture and use it as the hammer and anvil to reshape our nation.
    Competant government, competant leaders....this will restore faith in the public sector and allow things such as universal health care, education improvement and infrastructure improvments to become a reality.

    Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty, Free at last. (Even though I'm an atheist.)

    by UndercoverRxer on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:01:39 AM PST

  •  Someday the Dems will nominate someone (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, carllaw, RethinkEverything

    other than a centrist to win too. I hope.

    The determination of our President to prosecute the war, and the probability of his success. is made evident by the puny opposition arrayed against him.

    by Tom J on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:02:15 AM PST

    •  ? (0+ / 0-)

      I wouldn't call Obama a centrist.  I don't buy that's he's the most liberal senator, but he's fairly left-wing (and his health plan will ultimately turn-out to be a single payer system, as it has a built-in incentive for employers to drop coverage and pay the tax).  

      "An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot." - Thomas Paine

      by Mister Gloom on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:10:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ask Obama. Ask Rahm. (0+ / 0-)

        that's not a accusation, it's pretty much fact. and a description i think he would embrace himself.

        Sure, when looking at the extremist right like bush/palin he looks like the progressive hero... but when compared to real progressive ideals.. he ain't no progressive.

        Rahm, the son of a rightwing terrorist from Israel, is Obama's first pick.  I don't think it's going to get any more liberal from there.

        When the plan is to expand the military budget, transfer troops to Afghanistan, protect health insurance companies (i take Obama at his word... they will be part of any program he supports)..

        If we want progressive change, we have to organize.

        The determination of our President to prosecute the war, and the probability of his success. is made evident by the puny opposition arrayed against him.

        by Tom J on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:22:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There were no southerners on either ticket this year.

    It was truly demonstrated that it's more about the personalities at play than what part of the country they're from!

    "Obama has never run anything" Except yo ASS..INTO THE GROUND!!!

    by Jank2112 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:07:56 AM PST

  •  IL and DE are both south of MN (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ourprez08, slapshoe, UndercoverRxer

    where I live, and the "Northerner" on the ballot was way to far north for me...

    "If the good Lord had intended for us to walk, He wouldn't have invented roller skates." - Willy Wonka

    by RethinkEverything on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:08:03 AM PST

  •  It's true (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But only proven two days ago, against a GOP ticket of all Westerners, after 44 years of strong Southern presidential influence. The South hasn't gone away as a major force at the presidential level, I think, it's just hibernating, and perhaps not even for another cycle.

    Choose Our President 2008

  •  I had gotten to the point where I'd vote (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for almost anyone without a southern accent! And I'm a native of the south (who worked hard to lose that accent!) Fortunately I escaped some 25 years ago. The south is still a lost cause but the rest of the country will go on. Eventually, maybe another generation, the south will discover it has lost its power and come to the table--and the 21st century.

    •  If VA and NC can go blue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      there is hope for the South...  Dems need to keep making inroads, and the 50-state strategy is a multi-cycle strategy that will continue to pay dividens as long it is a priority!

      "If the good Lord had intended for us to walk, He wouldn't have invented roller skates." - Willy Wonka

      by RethinkEverything on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:13:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  C.A.R.Y. (0+ / 0-)

        Cary, NC, is a prosperous suburb in the Raleigh-Durham area.  It's nickname is "C.A.R.Y." meaning, "Contaminated Area:  Relocated Yankees".

        VA, NC, and FL went blue in part because of enhanced minority turnout, and in part because of the continued growth of the C.A.R.Y. population.


        "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

        by New Deal democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:36:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The problem is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        for any even vaguely progressive views to take hold in tbe South, major lobotomies would be necessary. States Rights, White Superiority, religious fundamentalism are so ingrained that there's no appealing to reason. Now, that's not limited to the South, by any means--just concentrated there, as well as in Utah. The only parts of the south where Democrats can hope to gain are those with an influz of population from somewhere else. Texas will swing; Georgia--but only because of Atlanta--might. The problem there is that the migrants to both GA and TX cities have been largely corpporate Republicans. There has been no migration TO the South since 1860 except in a few large cities. There has been no infusion of new ideas in over 100 years.

  •  Overstating This? (0+ / 0-)

    I saw a lot of people talking about the history of it, and how it was successful with LBJ, Carter, Clinton, etc.... but I don't remember any wailing and nashing of teeth that we hadn't nominated one.  In fact I never heard any variation of, "We won't win because Obama's not a southerner," after the convention.

    --- It's SPELLED "TooFolkGR" but it's pronounced "Throat-Warbler Mangrove."

    by TooFolkGR on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:15:03 AM PST

  •  the dog that didn't bark in the "southerner" talk (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ourprez08, esquimaux

    is the way it ignores the existence of nonwhite southerners.

    obama's midwesternness, combined with the southern black vote and the continued emergence of a huge blue youth vote with every election cycle was a huge factor IMO.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:15:46 AM PST

  •  Don't forget the old saw that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Senators can't get elected.

    Double SNAP!

    •  But again (0+ / 0-)

      this was not tested this year, as both major parties nominated Senators and all non-Southerners.

      Choose Our President 2008

      •  True, but I'm thinking of the primaries. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        There were other options on both sides.  Governors are supposed to be the ideal candidates, because there's not as big a trail of potentially divisive legislative minuteae.

        And while I heard lots of grumbling from the R side about the ultimate choice of McCain, that he was the last candidate standing and not a deliberate and widely-supported choice, based in part on the definitive legislative trail he left, there was not any grumbling from Dems in late summer and on in to the fall that Obama was in any way a is-this-the-best-we-can do? choice.  

        Of course, Obama had the shorter record in the U.S. Senate, but there were many Illinois Senate votes of his to deconstruct out there.

        My own feeling is that this man won because how could we not have elected him??  He has special gifts and even though he was not a Southerner, not a Governor, not white, and possessed a funny name, we still elected him to lead us in this critical time.  Good on us.

  •  Obama transcended geography (0+ / 0-)

    In the way he ran his campaign. The fact he's from Chicago is little more than a footnote. Apart from being a lock in Illinois from day one, he completely took the geographic element off the table. I can't think of any other Democratic candidate in my lifetime who did that.


    by W Lane Startin on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:21:36 AM PST

  •  Even more serious issue (0+ / 0-)

    Even with a Southerner on the ticket, local Democratic politicians in the South ran away from the nominee.

    What that did is validate the view that the nominee was too whatever to be acceptable in the South.

    Where local Democratic politicians in the South changed their approach and supported the Obama-Biden, Obama either won or significantly outperformed Bill Clinton's numbers.

    I call this the reverse coattails effect.  Local validation that the national candidate is worth supporting.

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