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A prize if you can guess what this is:

Well, OK, it's a map, and looks like a presidential election map.

But of what election? This map looks insane...a Republican winning Illinois and California...and losing the election?

A Democrat winning Mississippi and fact, winning every state officially in the former Confederacy except for Virginia?

All this happened. In fact, most of the people reading this were alive when it happened.

In this election, the Democratic candidate ran stronger in the state of Kansas - which was the home state of the Republican vice-presidential nominee! - than he did in Colorado.

The Republican won four states in New England and practically none in the South.

This is the map from 1976, when Democrat Jimmy Carter of Georgia defeated Republican incumbent Gerald Ford of Michigan to become the 39th President of the United States.

As you can see, the playing field for both candidates in this election would be completely unrecognizable today. Both Republicans and Democrats only dream of winning some of these states today.

In fact, the most notable thing about the 1976 presidential election is the stunning number of genuinely competitive states - there were more "swing states" in this election than in any other election in modern times.

Fully 31 states, comprising 404 electoral votes, were decided by a margin of eight points or fewer in 1976. Oddly enough, Carter and Ford split these states exactly down the middle - Ford won 18 of them, worth 202 electoral votes, while Carter won 13 of them, also worth 202 electoral votes.

Carter's base - his home state of Georgia and the surrounding Solid South states of Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee and Arkansas, coupled with the Democratic strongholds of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Minnesota - was slightly bigger than Ford's (the Plains and much of the Mountain West, coupled with the old-style New England Republican states of Vermont and New Hampshire), and that won the election for Carter, who wound up with 297 electoral votes to 240 for Ford (and one for Ronald Reagan).  

Here's a visual representation, with the grey states being the 1976 swing states:

Imagine playing on that map! That's about as wide-open a map as you could hope for. And as the numbers from the 1976 election indicate, a little tilt one way or the other could have turned the election into an electoral landslide for either party.

Here are Ford's margins in the competitive states he won:

                  EVs     Ford %   Carter %    Margin

Oregon              6     47.78%   47.62%       0.16%
Maine               4     48.91%   48.01%       0.90%
Iowa                8     49.47%   48.46%       1.01%
Oklahoma            8     49.96%   48.75%       1.21%
Virginia            12    49.29%   47.96%       1.35%
South Dakota        4     50.39%   48.91%       1.48%
California          45    49.35%   47.57%       1.78%
Illinois            26    50.10%   48.13%       1.97%
New Jersey          17    50.08%   47.92%       2.16%
New Mexico          4     50.75%   48.28%       2.47%
Washington          9     50.00%   46.11%       3.89%
Nevada              3     50.17%   45.81%       4.36%
Connecticut         8     52.06%   46.90%       5.16%
Michigan            21    51.83%   46.44%       5.39%
North Dakota        3     51.66%   45.80%       5.86%
Montana             4     52.81%   45.40%       7.41%
Kansas              8     52.49%   44.94%       7.55%
Indiana             13    53.32%   45.70%       7.62%

Ford's loss could easily have been a lot worse. He picked up fully 113 electoral votes in states that were decided by less than two points apiece.

On the other hand, Ford could easily have won. Check out the following states, all of which Carter won by eight points or fewer:

                  EVs     Carter %   Ford %    Margin

Ohio                25    48.92%   48.65%       0.27%
Wisconsin           11    49.50%   47.83%       1.67%
Mississippi         7     49.56%   47.68%       1.88%
Hawai'i             4     50.59%   48.06%       2.53%
Pennsylvania        27    50.40%   47.73%       2.67%
Texas               26    51.14%   47.97%       3.17%
Missouri            12    51.10%   47.47%       3.63%
New York            45    51.95%   47.52%       4.43%
Florida             17    51.93%   46.64%       5.29%
Delaware            3     51.98%   46.57%       5.41%
Louisiana           10    51.73%   45.95%       5.78%
Maryland            10    53.04%   46.96%       6.08%
Kentucky            9     52.75%   45.57%       7.18%

Victories in the two closest Carter states - Ohio and Wisconsin - would have given Ford the election, and he was about as close to a landslide as Carter was. Ford ended within five points in the electoral-vote powerhouses of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and New York, meaning that it's not outlandish to envision a 400-electoral-vote cruise for the former president, if things had gone just a bit differently.

As we know, several of the states that went for Ford are now reliably Democratic states, much as several of the Carter states are now reliably Republican (including his home state of Georgia, where he won 67% of the vote!!!)

So what would have happened if events had shifted the political climate substantially one way or the other, or if one candidate had really managed to dominate the campaign and lock up the majority of the swing states?

Here's the doomsday scenario:

That's a 462-76 electoral-college romp for Gerald Ford.

Meanwhile, here's what might have been for the Democrats - a kind of Reaganesque thorough domination we have not enjoyed since 1964 with Lyndon Johnson.

That's very close to the magic 500 number in EVs: 499 for Carter, 39 for Ford.

While this election was very close, it was not the closest ever - it pales in comparison to 2000, for example, an election decided by 537 votes in one state, where the winning candidate lost the popular vote.

But there has probably never been another election quite like 1976, when so many states were up for grabs, when both candidates could see their way clear either to a landslide victory or a loss.

It would be a lot of fun, for both parties, if we could get to this point of national competitiveness again, although given that the GOP seems to be insistent on becoming a regional party, it's not especially likely.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:42 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Big Difference Back Then (16+ / 0-)

    A lot of presidential television advertising was done on the national networks instead of by individual media markets.  

    "Dignified people, without a whimsical streak, almost never offer fresh insights, in economics or anywhere else." Paul Krugman

    by Dana Houle on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:45:04 PM PDT

    •  Didn't the republicans invent putting together EV (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueyedace2, Puddytat

      totals in a strategy?  

      •  Can You... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...rephrase your question?  I'm not following it.  

        "Dignified people, without a whimsical streak, almost never offer fresh insights, in economics or anywhere else." Paul Krugman

        by Dana Houle on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:51:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, I remember an anecdote (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nedsdag, Puddytat

          that Reagan's people were amazed that Walter Mondale ran his campaign by assembling constituencies without regard for winning specific states.  IOW, it was republicans with advanced polling that identified putting together a winning EV strategy.

          •  if I am correct... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Inland, Randall Sherman

            Presidential candidates have always considered electoral vote math when constructing their strategy. Could be that Mondale was just an idiot

            The day Bush was elected: Dow Jones avg 10,979; unemployment 3.9%; 5.5 million jobless... Today: Dow Jones avg 7,850; unemployment 7.6%; 11.6 million jobless.

            by Yirmiyahu on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:00:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  May Be. I'm Not Sure When... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Arjun Jaikumar aka brownsox

            ...the move from national advertising to media market targeting happened.  I know it was some time between the sixties and the 1992 election, but not exactly when, and whether both parties did it at the same time or one lagged behind an election.

            "Dignified people, without a whimsical streak, almost never offer fresh insights, in economics or anywhere else." Paul Krugman

            by Dana Houle on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 07:14:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I wouldn't put too much faith in that (0+ / 0-)

            Remember that, except for a few brief shining moments after the first debate, Reagan was solidly in the lead in 1984.  Perhaps Mondale simply decided to cater to his presumed base in the hopes that lightning would strike and he would have a core group of votes to take advantage of it.

    •  Another big difference was that the GOP was (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      much more moderate in 1976 and southern Democrats continued to have a lot of influence.

      That was the only presidential election, or any other election for that matter, in which I voted for a Republican. And as I've noted in my profile, what swung the decision for me was Jimmy Carter's Southern Baptist faith which I feared would be to great an influence on his decision making process.

      One should recall as well that President Ford was largely viewed as a genial, bumbling sort, who not only was regularly harpooned on Saturday Night Live, but had the courage and audacity to appear on the program himself. Add to that the public's awareness of his kids use of pot, and Ford represented very little of which we today consider anathema.

      "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." JFK - January 20, 1961

      by rontun on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:19:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Carter's was our first... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        openly religious president in the modern era. While FDR and others spoke of God in speeches, Carter was really the first one to be seen going to churches and speaking openly about faith while campaigning.

        "The only thing I would trust Dick Cheney on is if I had a dead hooker in my hotel room." --Jon Stewart

        by DemBrock on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:47:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And then there was the 1972 electoral map..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Don't blame me - I'm from Massachusets" was the popular bumper sticker during the Watergate years, since Massachusetts was the only state to go Democratic (along with DC).

  •  what do I win... (24+ / 0-)

    for instantly recognizing the 1976 map?

    The day Bush was elected: Dow Jones avg 10,979; unemployment 3.9%; 5.5 million jobless... Today: Dow Jones avg 7,850; unemployment 7.6%; 11.6 million jobless.

    by Yirmiyahu on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:46:06 PM PDT

  •  I'm more than happy to allow the GOP (7+ / 0-)

    to continue feeding their base.  My hope is that we will continue to push the country in our direction, in all 50 states.

    "Politics is not left, right or center ... It's about improving people's lives." -Paul Wellstone

    by maggiejean on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:46:56 PM PDT

  •  You know, the more I look at polling and results. (13+ / 0-)

    ..the more I see the Republican Party setting themselves up for a landslide defeat in 2012.  Given trends, it's likely that they won't go for a moderate in 2012 and will instead go Goldwater on Barack "B." Obama.

    "Change has come to Washington, and I hope Karl Rove is ready for it. After two years of stonewalling, it's time for him to talk." Mr. John Conyers Jr.

    by Setrak on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:48:19 PM PDT

    •  they go Goldwater We'll go Daisy nt (8+ / 0-)

      Dear GOP&Conservatives If all you have to offer are Cliches and Hyperbole then STFU. Thanks XOXOXO

      by JML9999 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:50:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  To explain what I mean further.. (6+ / 0-)

      ..I see that while Obama's support has remained stable overall, his support in the South has taken a hit while his numbers improved in the North-east, Mid-West, and the West.

      In other words, regions seem to be firming up, which is what's necessary for the Republican Party to truly become a regional party.

      Who are they going to go with, the Alaskan?  The guy from South Carolina?  The guy from Louisiana?  Arkansas?  The guy from Massachusetts who got beaten in neighboring New Hampshire's GOP primary by a guy from Arizona?

      2012's Republican nominee is going to be a conservative.  It won't be Crist or Huntsman.

      "Change has come to Washington, and I hope Karl Rove is ready for it. After two years of stonewalling, it's time for him to talk." Mr. John Conyers Jr.

      by Setrak on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:55:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They went "Goldwater" in 1980 too (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueyedace2, jds1978, Setrak, sjr1

      Worked out pretty well.

      •  Point, but.. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        askew, Nedsdag, cjallen was pointed out by brownsox, Carter didn't win a lot of states by that much.   There were a lot of close-calls.  Most news agencies successfully predicted that Obama would easily win enough EVs to win the Presidency before November 4th.   Obama's victory was much stronger than Carter's, and the current front-runners for the GOP primary aren't any Ronald Reagan.

        Mitt Romney is a joke of a candidate.  Palin?  Jindal, who'll be barely past 40?  Sanford, who's a proven moron?  Huckabee, with ZERO foreign policy credentials and a lot of views that aren't yet well known to the public?  Their bench looks like shit, and even if you look beyond the most usual names that get tossed around, the only promise they have are in 2 guys who aren't going to win the GOP primary; Jon Huntsman and Charlie Crist.

        "Change has come to Washington, and I hope Karl Rove is ready for it. After two years of stonewalling, it's time for him to talk." Mr. John Conyers Jr.

        by Setrak on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:05:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  it's a death spiral... (7+ / 0-)

          the more elections they lose, the smaller the party gets. The smaller the party gets, the more they lose the moderate elements. The more conservative they get, the more elections they lose... Lather, rinse, repeat.

          Their only hope for the Presidency in 2012 is to nominate a moderate by some electoral accident. Or that the economy collapses like Weimar Germany.

          The day Bush was elected: Dow Jones avg 10,979; unemployment 3.9%; 5.5 million jobless... Today: Dow Jones avg 7,850; unemployment 7.6%; 11.6 million jobless.

          by Yirmiyahu on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:11:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't see how this recession could possibly (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus, MadEye, cjallen, sjr1

            last that long, but I agree with the political consequences if it did.

            But also think of this;  McCain wasn't exactly a horrible candidate.  The Republicans could have done a lot worse.  McCain saved Arizona for the GOP in 2008 and had enormous appeal to older voters and veterans due to his age and service, and was one of the few Republicans that could have been called "moderate" on immigration.  Older voters and veterans often go with experience, and an incumbent President has more experience than anyone else(unless he screws up big time, of course).  Arizona will likely follow Nevada and Colorado now that there won't be an Arizonian, or even a Westerner with how things are looking, in 2012 for the top of the GOP ticket.  Hispanics have nothing to like about the die-hard conservatives that will likely dominate the GOP primary.

            "Change has come to Washington, and I hope Karl Rove is ready for it. After two years of stonewalling, it's time for him to talk." Mr. John Conyers Jr.

            by Setrak on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:22:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wasn't suggesting the recession would... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mudderway, sjr1

              last that long. I was just putting it out there as one of the only ways they could win. For instance, they could also win if it turned out that Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid eat babies for breakfast.

              The day Bush was elected: Dow Jones avg 10,979; unemployment 3.9%; 5.5 million jobless... Today: Dow Jones avg 7,850; unemployment 7.6%; 11.6 million jobless.

              by Yirmiyahu on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:31:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Agree... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Inspector Javert

              McCain did about as good as a Republican could do. If he had ran a flawless campaign, not picked Palin, etc., then maybe things would have been closer.

              While Obama effectively tied McCain to the Bush administration, it wasn't nearly as effective as if someone directly involved with Bush, like Cheney or Rice, would have ran. Then it would have been a landslide of ~400 EVs for Obama.

              "The only thing I would trust Dick Cheney on is if I had a dead hooker in my hotel room." --Jon Stewart

              by DemBrock on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:51:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Don't forget to add... (0+ / 0-)

            ...the uncovering of all the juicy details of eight years of scandals and bungling, to enhance the political collapse of the GOP!

        •  The 2008 election was over in July (3+ / 0-)

          If you looked at the maps on fivethirtyeight and pollster during the summer it was clear that McCain had only one victory scenario: winning all the big battleground states like Ohio, Penn. and Fla., as well as holding states like Va. and N. Carolina that were assumed (incorrectly) to be in the Republican camp.

          Obama, on the other hand, had many more possibly winning scenarios--there were lots of ways for him to get to the magic number. He had much more tactical and strategic flexibility.

          Like I said, all of this was perfectly clear during the summer. Of course, the media pretended it was a horse race until late October. I guess they just couldn't get enough of that tasty McCain BBQ.

      •  Worked Out Pretty Well for the RepubliKlans... (0+ / 0-)

        for the rest of us, not so much.

        After having a POTUS who couldn't watch TV and eat a pretzel at the same time, it's great to have one who can.

        by OnlyWords on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:08:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The difference being that in 1980 the GOP (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        still claimed an abundance of moderates while picking up the allegiance of former Democrats/Dixiecrats.

        Add to that the incredible impact the Iranian hostage crisis had on the American psyche, coupled with the nation's feeling of impotence when it came to dealing with the energy crisis.

        Plus, the New Deal and Great Society were under vicious attack, discredited by an increasingly prosperous middle class which had bought into the idea that their rights and livelihoods were being sacrificed in favor of poor minorities.

        This was the era of "Bakke", of the Panama Canal Treaty, and of amnesty for Vietnam draft evaders.

        "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." JFK - January 20, 1961

        by rontun on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:30:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Role reverse (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          is starting to develop with Democrats taking moderates and making the Republican Party into a right wing party.

        •  pre- and post- Reagan maps are different (0+ / 0-)

          Old Dem party had many Southern Dems that were conservative. This was a remnant of the Civil War because many conservative Southerners didn't want to be associated with the Republicans which were thought of as the Yankee party.

          LBJ was mildly liberal, but he was an exception. Same thing with Carter. Look at maps of Kennedy's election, lots of Republicans voted for him.

          What Reagan did is make it OK for conservative Dems to switch over. Not all, but large number of Dems that were always politically in agreement with Rep conservatives, finally felt OK with supporting Rep Reagan. Reagan changed the map forever. It took several years, but I think 1994 was the culmination of that switch to the Rep party by conservatives.

          Starting in 1980 the Dems went into a decline. Luckily Bush 41 was horrible and that got Clinton elected, but overall the Dems declined.

          Finally 2006 the Dems came back up, but the Dem party today is completely different than ever before. We can thank the disasters of 2000 and 2004 for that. Many non liberals fled the Dem party and liberals got angry and united after 2004. The war going on all during this time also got liberals motivated.

          I believe the Dem party of today is ""overall"" more liberal than ever in all of US history.

          Prior to 1994 Dems usually had Congress, but they weren't liberal Dems. This is the first liberal majority in Congress in all of US history.

          The Dem party is clearly marketed as left of center now and the Rep party as right of center. It has never been this clean cut before.

          We now have a prez that is liberal (more than Clinton for sure) and the first liberal majority in Congress ever.

          I think we are going to see some significant things this year. I hope we get to keep the liberal majority after the 2010 election.

          What we got to say ; Power to the people no delay ; To make everybody see ; In order to fight the powers that be

          by OrganOfThought on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 12:35:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I think it depends... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rontun, Setrak

      on what happens in the midterm elections. If we give them a bad enough smack down they might wake up, but I doubt it.

      The lesson of that history is that you must not despair, that if you are right, and you persist, things will change. -Howard Zinn

      by blueyedace2 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:02:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Regardless of the outcome of the midterms (0+ / 0-)

        I dont see how Huntsman or Crist wins the 2012 GOP primaries, and they seem to be the only moderates who may run as of now. I dont think a pro-civil unions candidate can win the GOP primary in 2012, and as far as Crist, I think his strong stance in favor of the stimulus puts him in a tough spot.

    •  I guess it goes without saying but (0+ / 0-)

      a lot obviously depends on the economy. If the economy is recovering well by 2012,  then I think Obama probably wins easily, regardless of who the Republicans run.

    •  Actually Goldwater was quite sane (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      compared to the current crowd.  His conservatism was never hate people who look different from you, govern what they do in their private lives kind.

  •  The Republicans are too Busy "Clinging" (11+ / 0-)

    To the Folks that are busy clinging to their Guns and Religion.

    Dear GOP&Conservatives If all you have to offer are Cliches and Hyperbole then STFU. Thanks XOXOXO

    by JML9999 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:49:08 PM PDT

  •  Lot of water under bridge since 1976. nt (7+ / 0-)
  •  I don't want the GOP to have fun, ever. n/t (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueyedace2, Jimdotz, JML9999, Puddytat, COkdub

    "Go well through life"-Me (As far as I know)

    by MTmofo on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:51:24 PM PDT

  •  Interesting. (4+ / 0-)

    I've been wishing the Electoral Scoreboard had data before 2000. It's fun to play with.

  •  Don't be too quick to say the Repubs are regional (17+ / 0-)

    First, they were saying that about the Democrats not that long ago.

    Second, in the midst of a horrible economy, with the least popular incumbent in history, running a candidate who was showing signs of senility, and with a VP candidate who was .... who was ... Sarah Palin! they still did pretty well.

    •  Sadly (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueyedace2, plf515, jds1978, sjr1


      Capital is only the fruit of labor, [...] Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
      President Lincoln, December 3, 1861

      by notrouble on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:53:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Very true (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueyedace2, plf515, jds1978, sjr1

      It's only been a couple of years since I openly lamented that we'd never see a Democrat in the White House who didn't have a southern accent to lure those voters.  We need to count our chickens only after they have hatched.

      In the mean time, I'll enjoy myself watching the flailings and failings of the Limbaugh-Palin Party.

      Those who yell do so because their arguments are so weak they can only be supported by massive amounts of hot air. Sue, West Allis, Wisconsin

      by Puddytat on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:57:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We have no trouble electing senile (4+ / 0-)


      Ablington is a scab at the bending factory. Relentless!

      by ablington on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:58:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's Always Some Delay In Political Favoritism (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plf515, rontun
      Rs can't hide and run at the same time. When i watch Cantor, Boehner, McCain and McConnell, it's clear they're locked in stonehead stupid about how regular citizens feel and reason. Obama is 90 feet taller than them.
      Rs have a routine of spieling directly to the media, hoping the recurring ripples will soak into peoples minds. But people don't like most media anymore either. Guess why.

      Century Turns After 8 Year Delay. Billions Cheer.

      by renzo capetti on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:17:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Things would have been... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, Harkov311, plf515

      a lot worse for the Republicans if they had ran someone directly tied to the administration. Run Cheney or Rice and a 400 EV landslide that was deserved would have been the result. But McCain, having the maverick label, love from the media, and great military background, had a lot of things going for him that a typical Republican would not have had.

      "The only thing I would trust Dick Cheney on is if I had a dead hooker in my hotel room." --Jon Stewart

      by DemBrock on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:56:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nothing's ever over, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the republicans are certainly digging themselves in a hole by the themes they've chosen.  Sure, they did okay despite choosing Palin.  But they still chose Palin, and would choose her or someone like her again.  

    •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think McCain did a pretty decent job for the Reeps, or maybe there was a bit of a Bradley effect, or both.  I expected the swing to the Dems to be at least two points stronger than it was.  But then, I never expected to see a day when we carry Indiana and lose Missouri.

      In some ways, McCain was the Reeps' "Hail Mary" pass, as a lot of the hardcore base never liked him. I can easily see them concluding that they lost by not picking a true conservative, and going with Huckabee or Palin next time around.

  •  Wow! (5+ / 0-)
    Thanks for the flashback to "Election 1976"!

    Capital is only the fruit of labor, [...] Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
    President Lincoln, December 3, 1861

    by notrouble on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:52:58 PM PDT

  •  NO (0+ / 0-)

    I don't think so, the Rs need to take the party away from the Nazis that are in charge of it now. Then maybe we could get back to helping Americans and the world not that we ever really did except a few times. Fat Chance of that happening any time soon. Sad.
    Everything is on schedule, please move along.

  •  The first presidential election I voted in (6+ / 0-)

    was 1976.  Apparently I defied my fellow Michigan voters and went with Carter, who happens to have the same blue eyes as my most favorite person-grandma.  

    Though I don't regret that vote, I like to think my reasoning is a little more solid these days.

  •  Pardon Effect (6+ / 0-)

    I believe that Ford lost the election when he pardoned Nixon.  Carter was a very weak candidate compared to Ford.  But, he "sinned" and after the Nixon pardon which equated in many minds that Ford was going to follow in the squalid footsteps of Nixon.
    The R's took a few years to do that.

    Pam Bennett Candidate Aurora City Council At-Large

    by Pam Bennett on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:55:30 PM PDT

  •  How much of a loser am I (6+ / 0-)

    that I immediately knew that was the 1976 election map?

    The Republican Party is neither pro-republic nor pro-party. Discuss!

    by Nathaniel Ament Stone on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:55:55 PM PDT

  •  Triumphalism reigns supreme (0+ / 0-)

    GOP is a regional party.
    Will never elect another president.
    Will never control a branch of Congress.
    Riiiiiiiiight.   Follow the pied piper right over the cliff.
    What we have seen in the last 2 months is little more than Bush's Third Term-
    Economic deterioration,
    Corporate bailouts
    Expanded land war in Asia,
    A grossly expanded money supply which, unless checked, will lead to inflation worse than Carter's (you know, the one-term and out Democrat?).
    These clowns in DC better straighten out their act-quickly.
    You notice that the Deleware senate poll numbers are not on the DK front page.  Or the NJ governor.  Or the Virginia governor.  Or...the CONNECTICUT Senate?
    Wonder why?

  •  Very interesting piece. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arjun Jaikumar aka brownsox

    A lot of info to chew on.

    It would be a lot of fun, for both parties, if we could get to this point of national competitiveness again, although given that the GOP seems to be insistent on becoming a regional party, it's not especially likely.

    However, I don't really care about fun... I'd be perfectly happy with boring old Democratic victories! ;o)

    When it's Wall Street it's called a bailout; when it's Main Steet it's called Socialism. Funny how that works.

    by MacJimi on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:57:44 PM PDT

  •  This kind of stuff makes the argument for (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, ranger995, blueyedace2

    reform.  If a candidate can win all of those states but lose the election, something is wrong with the Electoral College.

    There are a few options for replacing the current Electoral College:

    1.  The National Popular Vote Plan, which would have states award their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.  So far, 4 states representing 50 electoral votes have approved this (and many more are close to approving it).  Once enough states pass it to represent an electoral majority, whoever wins the popular vote will win the electoral college.  I diaried this today.
    1.  Congressional district allotment of electoral votes.  This, in my opinion, would make our current problems worse, plus it would subject electoral votes to gerrymandering.
    1.  Proportional allocation of electoral votes.  This means that each state would give away it electoral votes in proportion to the percentage of the popular vote that each candidate received.  It's an interesting proposal but I'm not sure that it wouldn't create a slew of its own problems.
    1.  Abolish the Electoral College by constitutional amendment.  This is similar to the National Popular Vote Plan but would likely be more controversial, it's farther from being passed right now, and it would be messier in general.
    1.  Anyone have any others?
  •  Too cool for school! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Love the charts.

  •  HA! I knew what is was and I was born in 1982. (4+ / 0-)

    Yes, I did figure this out even though I was born long after this election. I will say that the "'08" in the corner was a bit deceptive. :)

  •  What about a right-leaning third party in 2012? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, blueyedace2

    If you look at the factors examined in the book Third Parties in America, we're ripe for a large third party, especially with the decline of the Republican Party.  I wouldn't rule this out.  Right now people that could be running would be Ron Paul or Jesse Ventura.

  •  What a glorious day that was (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, emilysdad

    And of course it had very little to do with Mr Carter. ;-)

  •  The Nixon Pardon killed Ford. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inland, OnlyWords, Betty Pinson

    Especially given the fact that Nixon went on some high-profile trip to China or somewhere very close to the election, reminding people of the pardon.

    (at least that's what i seem to remember)

    •  Oh yeah: The Reaganites weakend Ford too. (5+ / 0-)

      In fact, if I was going to compare Ford 76 to anybody, it would be McCain.

      The Wingnuts went along in a grudging sort of way, and Dole was added to the ticket (and Rockefeller dumped) to try to get their enthusiasm.

      Even then, though, I think they were waiting for 1980 to run their boy Reagan.

      •  Yeah, Reagan made a strong run (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GayHillbilly, Bush Bites

        during that primary, didn't he?  Everyone thought, "how silly - an actor for a president?"  I still can't believe he was able to pull it off the next time around.

        A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. FDR

        by Betty Pinson on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:44:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Third time's the charm. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GayHillbilly, MadEye

          (He tried in 68 also.)

          By early spring, California Governor Ronald Reagan, the leader of the GOP's conservative wing, had become Nixon's chief rival. In the Nebraska primary on May 14, Nixon won with 70% of the vote to 21% for Reagan and 5% for Rockefeller. While this was a wide margin for Nixon, Reagan remained Nixon's leading challenger. Nixon won the next primary of importance, Oregon, on May 15 with 65% of the vote and won all the following primaries except for California (June 4), where only Reagan appeared on the ballot. Reagan's margin in California gave him a plurality of the nationwide primary vote, but when the Republican National Convention assembled, Nixon had 656 delegates according to a UPI poll (with 667 needed for the nomination).

          At the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida, Reagan and Rockefeller planned to unite their forces in a stop-Nixon movement, but the strategy fell apart when neither man agreed to support the other for the nomination. Nixon won the nomination on the first ballot.

      •  Yeah, it wasn't just the pardon. Reagan may not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        have pulled it off either. Nixon left a lot of bad taste for the Rethug brand.

        IGTNT...Honor the Fallen...Respect Their Loved Ones.

        by geez53 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:49:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  No other election? Wait, what? (3+ / 0-)

    1960 and 1968 both had dozens of close states.

  •  Excellent! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arjun Jaikumar aka brownsox

    This is such a cool article. I've been looking at election maps for days, trying to understand what's going on with political thinking.

    You stumped me!

  •  This shows that Ideology *is* important (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, MadEye, iowabosox, jds1978, sjr1

    Sometimes we can afford worry about Yucca Mountain or particular weapons programs or whatever local-yokel issues are important in a few states.

    But when the map gets big, we had better have a national vision, an overarching theme that says why people should vote Democratic.

    Not why they should vote Obama, Kerry, Gore or Clinton...why they should vote Democratic.

  •  Nixon (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, GayHillbilly, sjr1

    The Southern strategy was a success for the party--not too good for the country.  LBJ saw it coming with the voting rights act--and put country ahead of party.

  •  2000 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's really not certain that Bush won in Florida. and

    by chloris creator on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:18:28 PM PDT

  •  If we really want to cement our position... (0+ / 0-)

    we need to press for that multi-state-popular-vote-winner-gets-the-electoral-vote thing. The Electoral College was rigged by the Founders to be biased in favor of small (i.e. rural) states. And short of a Constitutional Amendment -- which is not going to happen -- there is no other way around that bias.

    I know the special interests and lobbyists are gearing up for a fight as we speak.
    My message to them is this: So am I -- President Barack Obama

    by Jimdotz on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:23:47 PM PDT

  •  Only way this would ever happen again is if (4+ / 0-)

    the Republicans nominate a fiscally conservative, socially liberal nice guy.  Don't rip into this with specifics; I'm talking about perception plus a couple of hot issues such as abortion.  Ford's near-success encouraged similar Republicans George Bush (the elder, before he sold his manhood to become Vice President) and John Anderson to take on Reagan in the 1980 primaries.

    The math every eighth-grader is supposed to know while registering for high school- this coming Wednesday's Tutoring Room.

    by algebrateacher on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:26:44 PM PDT

    •  Agree. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      algebrateacher, Mudderway

      It probably would have been better for the Repubs if they nominated a fire breathing conservative this time out and got their asses kicked.

      Then the wingnuts would have went away and licked their wounds.

      As it is, they think McCain lost precisely because he wasn't conservative enough, and they're damn well going put a real wingnut at the top of the ticket next time.

  •  I would suggest... (6+ / 0-)

    ...that 1976 represented the last election in which both parties fielded an honest candidate.  For all his faults, Ford was serious about governing.  Since then, the GOP has only run hucksters and shills.

    "To hell with the rich. They made me sick." - Philip Marlowe

    by Roddy McCorley on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:29:41 PM PDT

  •  Party of Nixon (4+ / 0-)

    Also remember that those maps showing Ford almost winning were all drawn soon after Nixon was forced to resign. And also as 14 Church Committee reports of (mostly Nixon's) spy agency abuses were published in 1975-6. During the aftermath of the US finally leaving Vietnam in disgrace.

    Despite all that, Americans were more interested in seeing more years of Republican rule. And even after seeing 4 years of a Democrat failing to run a tyranny, they decided to go back to a Southern California Republican who would. For 12 years, along with his business manager Bush. And then after watching more proof that Republicans are crooked tyrants (Iran/Contra/S&L operation throwing us into insecurity and depression - sound familiar?), and watching a couple Democrats run the country well for 8 solid years, they wanted another Republican tyranny.

    Remember it, because Republicans have been here before, "in ruins". And before that, when America was run ragged by Hoover and a Republican Congress destroying us with debt in the 1920s. Every time, Republicans come back for more. More tyranny, more busted economy, more covert wars and spooks running amok.

    The more that map changes, the more it stays the same. Even after Nixon, whose name is synonymous with "crooked" and "liar", that's been the map of "Republican Country" over and over again.

    Keep an eye on the map, or it will be Republican again as soon as there's something around to steal again.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:34:46 PM PDT

  •  I have to say it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the WINNING candidate won the popular vote in 2000, the losing candidate just came close enough for his daddy's Supreme Court to throw it to him in a decision so brazenly partisan that the MAJORITY opinion stipulates it is not to be used as precedent.  

    2000 was a palace coup.

    As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country. A Lincoln

    by TheGryphon on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:37:48 PM PDT

  •  Nothing is permanent in politics! (4+ / 0-)

    It is fascinating to look at the 1976 map.  It shows that things are not permanent.  Parties morph, unknown events shape trends, issues of one party could be the issue of the other party tomorrow.  While I know that this site is dedicated to electing "more and better Democrats," I not-so-secretly suspect that most people who post here are more committed to ideas than to party.  That should be a lesson to party leadership who think we are just to be herded.

    •  And most inevitable of all (0+ / 0-)

      people grow old and die and their children and grandchildren and greatgrandchildren have different values and a different worldview.

      "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -- George Bernard Shaw

      by Inspector Javert on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 09:25:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Youth Vote (0+ / 0-)

    1976 was the second presidential election in which 18-20 year olds were able to vote.  

    Can't find the breakdown for the 18-20 vote, but in 1976, 52% of 18-24 yr old voters turned out to vote.  Overall, more than half of them voted Democratic.

    In 1972, the Nixon-McGovern matchup was harder for the youth vote to impact. Nixon was an incumbent, McGovern a liberal challenger.

    Carter had a better chance. He came from the South, the Vietnam War had ended and Nixon had disgraced the GOP brand. The new young voters combined with older, mainstream Dem voters probably had a big impact.  But it was too close for comfort, that's certain.

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. FDR

    by Betty Pinson on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:40:08 PM PDT

  •  Two Very Unique Things About 1976 (0+ / 0-)

    This was the first election after 1. Watergate and 2. Roe v. Wade.  This was the only election in which the Republicans nominated a pro-choice candidate.  I think that opened the South up, only because we nominated a Southerner who calls himself Pro-Life (although said he would not actively seek to overturn Roe v. Wade).

    "Unrestricted immigration is a dangerous thing -- look at what happened to the Iroquois." Garrison Keillor

    by SpiderStumbled22 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:45:18 PM PDT

    •  Are you sure? (0+ / 0-)

      I mean, Nixon's supreme court appointee wrote Roe V. Wade.

      My take on abortion is that it wasn't a huge issue until the late 70s/early 80s because that's when the Repubs started motivating the evangelical base.

      You could be right, but I just don't see it that way.

  •  I love your work, but 'fun' if the Rethugs were (2+ / 0-)

    competitive nationally?

    How could that be fun by any stretch of the imagination? The murderers of our quality of life should be reduced to a fringe, thank you.

    Children in the U.S... detained [against] intl. & domestic standards." --Amnesty Internati

    by doinaheckuvanutjob on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:46:13 PM PDT

  •  Of course, if Ford HAD won (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    iowabosox, Harkov311, geez53

    We almost certainly would have been spared Ronald Reagan.  I met Jimmy Carter and worked on his '80 campaign (not my fault, damnit).  He's maybe the most decent man to ever hold the office.

    But if Ford won, he would have been saddled by the inevitable crash of the OPEC/Vietnam inflation and the Iranian Hostage crisis.  

    Whomever the Dems threw out there in '80 (Kennedy?) would have romped to election just like Reagan did.

  •  In 1980 (3+ / 0-)

    Reagan's win was dramatically skewed by this:

    Reagan States won by less than 5%/10%:
    Margin of victory less than 5%

      1. Massachusetts, 0.15%
      2. Tennessee, 0.29%
      3. Arkansas, 0.61%
      4. Alabama, 1.30%
      5. Mississippi, 1.32%
      6. Kentucky, 1.46%
      7. South Carolina, 1.53%
      9. North Carolina, 2.12%
     10. Delaware, 2.33%
     11. New York, 2.67%
     13. Maine, 3.36%
     15. Wisconsin, 4.72%

    Margin of victory more than 5% but less than 10%

      1. Louisiana, 5.45%
      2. Vermont, 5.96%
      4. Michigan, 6.49%
      5. Missouri, 6.81%
      6. Pennsylvania, 7.11%
      7. Illinois, 7.93%
      8. Connecticut, 9.63%
      9. Oregon, 9.66%

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 06:07:02 PM PDT

    •  Notice all those southern states STILL close (2+ / 0-)

      Man, Carter must have had some serious regional base pull if the state most likely to switch from Reagan to Carter after MA was Tennessee!

      All your vote are belong to us.

      by Harkov311 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 07:53:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tennessee was a Democratic stronghold (0+ / 0-)

        relatively speaking, well after the South started to turn.

        Clinton won it twice, and native son Gore nearly won it - should have, in all honesty.

        It has changed a lot, over time, but my suspicion is that HRC or Edwards would have had a good shot at winning TN, and that Obama will, in 2012, if his presidency isn't an abject disaster (which it won't be, of course).

        Charge It To My Heart.

        by Arjun Jaikumar on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 12:36:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  BETTER FORD HAD WON in retrospect (5+ / 0-)

    First, the cumulating economic problems that resulted in growing stagflation and the initial onset of a recession near election time in 1980 would have resulted in a dissatisfied electorate being primed to turn on the incumbent republican president Ford, rather than an incument president Carter.  It's hard to remember that Ford lost in part in 1976 because he'd developed in his own way the sort of bumbling public image that afflicted Carter.  Either Ted Kennedy or some other centrist or progressive democrat would likely have won the 1980 election by a margin sufficient to be a clear mandate.

    Second, this means that it's highly likely that Ronald Reagan would NEVER have won the presidency.  Instead, his right-wing faction may have indeed been dominant enough to eventually capture him the GOP presidential nomination in 1980 or 1984, only to be doomed by strong unfavorable national headwinds to suffer a decisive defeat to the democratic nominee or incumbent president.

    Third, recall that President Ford was the last republican president to predominately nominate moderate, mainstream judicial candidates rather than deliberately attempt to stack the federal bench with hard-right wingnut ideologues.  For example, it was Ford who nominated Justice Stevens to the SCOTUS.

    Fourth, even if George Bush, Sr had eventually succeeded in being nominated and elected as the next GOP president after a democratic presidential interregenum, he would likely never have felt sufficient pressure to abandon his moderate inclinations (he was for a long time pro-choice) as at worst, a pro-business but socially moderate Republican.  The Bush legacy for this country might have been very different (and more positive than negative), and most significantly, it's extremely doubtful conditions would have aligned to make possible for his malevolently irresponsible son George W to win the GOP nomination and election.  At worst, we might have someday been afflicted with Jeb instead (probably what poppy had in mind).  Or likely, maybe not at all.

    Fifth, without the American public being primed to mistakenly regard genial regressive stupidity and individual selfishness as the revival of optimism and freedom, we'd be light-years farther along toward energy independence and environmentally sustainable, healthy ways of doing business and living.  Instead, we got a genial-seeming idiot who thought solar panels on the white house presented a downer, pessimistic image so he ordered them torn down.

    In short, as much as I like and admire Carter as a man (one of the greatest ex-presidents this country has ever had in the 20th century), his win in 1976 turned out in the big scheme of things to create ripe grounds for a disasterous right-turn in this country over the past thirty years, one that's only recently (starting in 2006) just beginning to turn around back toward sensible progressivism.

    •  Agree with everything but your last sentence. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think 2004 was showing the weakness in the conservative movement.

      A liberal from Massachusetts who was not the warmest guy in the world has a veep who cannot even carry his own state and he still gets within a few hundred thousand votes of beating a sitting president with strong conservative appeal in a time of war.

      That really told me that the conservative movement was sucking wind.

    •  In the future? (0+ / 0-)

      I wonder if in the future people will be similarly saying, "It's a good thing that John Kerry lost in 2004.  That way, the Republicans took the fall for the economic crisis, and we were able to get Barack Obama".

  •  Governors n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself - Wallace Stevens

    by catchlightning on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 06:14:44 PM PDT

  •  Sui generis (2+ / 0-)

    Seriously, Arjun -- you stare at that thing too long and you'll go blind.

  •  The 1976 map is interesting (4+ / 0-)

    Carter won a lot of rural counties that Democrats have lost every election since. These are the county maps from the 1976 Pres. election and the 2008 Pres. election:


    Some of those counties that Carter won in 76 have gone so far Republican now, I don't think Democratic Presidential candidates can win there again, maybe ever.

    Example: Cheyenne County, Colorado, on the eastern plains near the Kansas border. Carter won this county in 1976. By 2008, this was the most Republican county in Colorado. McCain got 80% of the vote here, Obama got 18%.

    This is a rural county that is dying. No one new has moved in here. It's the same people aging in place. In 1976, the majority of them voted for Carter. In 2008, they voted 4 to 1 for McCain.

    The people in those parts won't vote for a Democrat for dog catcher now.

  •  1976 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ipsos, Mudderway, FreeStateDem

        This was the last of the New Deal elections, 32 years after 1944, 32 years before 2008. The last time a Democrat won a majority of the electoral votes from the South. The South and Northeast aligned against the Midwest and West. Those days are gone with the wind, as dead as moderate Republicanism.
        But think what would have happened if Ford had won. He would have been ineligible to run again in 1980. Vice President Bob Dole probably would have been the Republican candidate, most likely against Edward Kennedy. Since no party has won more than three consecutive elections since 1948, it's likely that Kennedy would have won. There were no Supreme Court vacancies in Carter's term, but Kennedy would have made the three Supreme Court appointments that went to O'Connor, Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy. We would have had a Democratic Chief Justice for the first time since Fred Vinson. And people would credit Kennedy for the collapse of the Soviet Union.
        If only Ford had carried Ohio and Mississippi!

  •  why not show the map from 1984 (0+ / 0-)

    When we mopped the floor with the Democrats?

    Ahh this is a beautiful sight for my eyes:

    Nobody will ever duplicate that one. Not even the Messiah Lord Obama the Wise.


    •  I think you should change your screename (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      anyone who thinks Obama is the messiah is not "sensible."

      •  that was a joke. (0+ / 0-)

        You guys are the one who think he's the messiah.

        It's frightening how people idolize him, when he's only a politician.


        •  Yea, I got that (0+ / 0-)

          I was being sarcastic too.

          It's frightening how people idolize him, when he's only a politician.

          Who has said he is anything other than a politician? He is the ideological leader of the left. He's damn good at it, too. That's why we like him. And that's why you hate him.

          •  I will admit that he's damn good at (0+ / 0-)

            reading a teleprompter and making promises to the American people.

            People have elevated him to such a high level, and idolize him.

            It's been interesting to watch, to say the least.

            •  he doesn't use a fucking teleprompter (0+ / 0-)

              all the time you moron - only when giving policy speeches. Bush used one too, BTW.
              At least Obama can speak extemporaneously and can put words together to form complete sentences, something that always eluded W.
              You gotta stop worshiping at the Church of Rush. it's melting what little brain you have left.

              Electing conservatives is like hiring a carpenter who thinks hammers are evil.

              by MA Liberal on Wed Mar 18, 2009 at 12:37:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  St Ronnie (0+ / 0-)

              used a `prompter, as did Bush the elder and Clinton. Previous presidents used prior technology (read: note cards).

              What is the fucking obsession with this inanity from the right? Its a tool. It doesn't matter if its a prompter, note cards, a legal pad or notes jotted on a cocktail napkin, its the message that's important. One you will likely not agree with, being a republican.

              Never knock on Death's door. Ring the bell and run!

              by xeromachine on Wed Mar 18, 2009 at 12:55:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Eh same thoughts on Reagan n/t? (0+ / 0-)

          Rebuild America. Obama 08!

          by dieharddemocrat on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 09:37:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I wasn't living back then (0+ / 0-)

    But still knew what race it was before you said it.

  •  Another fun 1976 election fact (4+ / 0-)

    It was the only tim,e to my knowledge, that a state had EVERY SINGLE COUNTY switch it's vote from one party to the other in one cycle (GA went from every county Nixon to every county Carter).

    All your vote are belong to us.

    by Harkov311 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 07:23:09 PM PDT

  •  Another example: 1836. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arjun Jaikumar aka brownsox

    In 1836, the Democratic party rallied around Andrew Jackson's chosen successor, Martin Van Buren, pretty quickly.  The Whig party (really more of a coalition) had four different potential candidates, each of which was opposed by some faction within the party for some reason or another, and none of which had much in the way of national appeal at the time.  

    So they ran all four of them in the general election.  The idea was that each one could beat Van Buren on the local level, keeping him under 51% of the electoral vote and throwing the election into the Whig-controlled House, which would presumably sort out the matter.  Fortunately, the plan didn't work and Van Buren won 51% outright on election day.

    I could see the Republicans trying that if both (a) Obama runs into serious trouble and (b) the wings of the Republican party are still at each others' throats in 2011/2012.

  •  My favorite electoral map (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arjun Jaikumar aka brownsox

    is the Nixon-Kennedy-Byrd.

    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -- George Bernard Shaw

    by Inspector Javert on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 08:53:54 PM PDT

  •  If the Democrats run the country well (0+ / 0-)

    during Obama's term as President, the electoral map will effectively be redrawn in favor of the Democratic Party.  The proper demarcation point is not the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, but the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, as Clinton was the first post-Cold War President. Reagan's election was much more about Cold War politics than it was about taxes or a conservative revolution.  Beginning in 1992, the Democrats have won the popular vote in 4 of the last 5 Presidential elections and have won the Congressional vote in 6 of the last 8 elections.

    The problem area for the Democrats has been the South.  Outside the South the Dems have won around 75% of the electoral vote in every election beginning in 1992.  However, Dem candidates have won in 7 different southern states since 1992 (AR, TN, LA, VA, NC, FL, GA), suggesting that Dems can muster some support in the region especially when they run against non-southern Republican candidates.

    What has held the GOP vote together is the culture war and the suburban vote in the South.  Obama and the Dems have made a concerted effort to mitigate the cultural gap since the 2004 debacle, and have been very successful.  If Obama and the Dems run the economy well, white suburban southern voters will start to vote more like their suburban counterparts in the rest of the country and that will further enhance the electability of Democrats in many more southern states.  The demographics of the south are changing as rapidly as any other part of the country, and those trends favor Democrats.  What the Dems need to do is establish a stronger media presence in the south, talk more directly to voters who attend church, destroy conservative myths and talking points, and continue to maximize advantages among their natural constituencies (which are growing all across the south, but particularly in the big states like Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia).

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 12:49:04 AM PDT

    •  Eff The South (0+ / 0-)

          Who needs 'em? Yes, we want the more progressive South, such as Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina, which went for Obama. But Obama got 310 electoral votes outside the South.
          The surest possible sign that you're doing the right thing is if Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina are against you. It's been that way for more than 150 years. Appealing to them can only be done at the cost of watering down the progressive nature of the Democratic Party. They're not worth it.

    •  In 2012 (0+ / 0-)

      I think if Obama stays popular, then in 2012 he'll keep all the Obama states, and flip all the 2008 light red states ( MO, MT, GA, AZ, ND, SD, SC ) and eke out TX and MS.

      •  I agree that Obama has a great shot at (0+ / 0-)

        MO, MT, AZ and the Dakotas.  I am skeptical about deep south states because the white vote was almost 80% against Obama, far higher than the national average, which strongly suggests that there is an element of racism among many voters in these states.  In the south, I think he can hold the states he won in '08 (VA, NC, FL) and I think that Texas is a real possibility because of demographic change and change in suburban voting patterns that has been delayed to date because of Bush's presence on the GOP ticket (even 2008 was a referendum on Bush, and by extension on Texas itself).  I've spent some time in Texas over the last month and the state appears relieved and eager to get out of Bush's shadow.  They will be freer from Texas nationalism and will be better able to think through the issues more objectively.  If Obama is able to deploy the same grassroots effort he made in places like CO, VA, NC and IN, Texas can be won.

        Alternative rock with something to say:

        by khyber900 on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 10:05:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think the south will remain difficult for Obama (0+ / 0-)

      and from a purely electoral point of view I'm not sure it even makes that much sense to try very hard there, excepting perhaps TX and GA. The last election showed that the messaging the Republicans have used to appeal in the south is falling on deaf ears elsewhere and even losing them votes. If the deal is: you take the south in perpetuity, we get everywhere else, it's pretty clear who's on the sucker end. Yes, it would be great to win everywhere, but at this point I think the onus is really on the Republicans to work out how to stop the bleeding that's going on elsewhere in the country. If they want to go on racking up votes in the deep south by continuing with the messaging which plays well there (but terribly everywhere else) that's fine by me...

  •  also, here was Carter's campaign HQ (0+ / 0-)

    Would that campaigns could be run out of such places today.  In many ways politics were better back then. mention of Eugene McCarthy?  He cost us Oregon, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Maine, and the combination of Lyndon LaRouche and the Socialist Workers Party's Peter Camejo cost us Virginia!  Ohnoz, we're DOOOMED!!!

  •  That election never should have been that close (0+ / 0-)

    The Republican brand was tarnished by Watergate
    and the Democratic candidate was a viable southerner.
    The diary spins it like the tossup states split down the middle and therefore evenly/randomly, BUT THE ACTUAL
    fact is that THE WHOLE West went for Ford adn THE WHOLE East went for Carter.  It was like the East got it and the West didn't.  "It" being the fact that it was time for the South to rejoin the rest of the country.

    The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

    by ge0rge on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 09:36:40 AM PDT

  •  I think 1964 was more significant for the South (0+ / 0-)

    than 1980, which a lot of people have been marking out as the year of realignment. Carter was really the "last hurrah" of the Democrats in the deep south, a throwback to the old days, and Reagan cemented the realignment which was already visible in the 1968 and 1972 elections following the passage of civil rights. For example while McGovern lost everywhere in 1972, if you look at the scale of the defeat state-by-state he was getting absolutely killed in southern states like Mississippi, where he lost by an almost unfathomable 60% margin, while he "only" lost by the overall national average of 25% in an (at that time) traditional Republican state like Vermont.

    Today, though, the basic electoral demographics look extremely bleak for Republicans. The famous "Southern strategy" which broke the back of the New Deal coalition in the 1960s has now left them with the South as their ONLY stronghold outside of a few sparsely populated plains and mountain states. Whereas in the 60s they could plausibly hope to turn the electoral tide in the South by getting conservatively minded voters who were voting Democratic more because of tradition than ideology, now the trends all seem to be moving against them. Their last few outposts in the north-east are gone, most of the mid-west has gone, the pacific coast has gone, and the purple menace is even creeping into former bastions in the mountains and the coastal south.

    If the US begins to recover from the recession by even 2011 then I don't care who the Republicans put up in 2012, it could be another Eisenhower (not that they have another Eisenhower of course...), he will lose, simply because Bush will be associated with "getting us into the mess" and Obama with "getting us out of it".

    UK political history could be instructive here. After a chastening drubbing in 1979 the UK Labour party responded by putting up an uncharismatic but "ideologically sound" leader (Michael Foot) in the subsequent election, with a radical election platform which one party moderate famously described as "the longest suicide note in history". Likewise, when the Conservatives were annihilated in the 1997 election they also plumped for an uncharismatic but ideologically sound leader (William Hague) to fight the subsequent 2001 election, again on an ideological, right-wing platform - and again they were soundly thrashed.  

    In both cases it took multiple defeats for the losing party to "get it" and make a push to change both policy and presentation to appeal to the moderates rather than just talking to the base (which is what a party in trauma is likely to do: go back to where it feels comfortable...)

    It's early days, but the signs are encouraging (if I can put it that way) that the Republicans will follow this pattern in 2012, put up a base-appeal ideological candidate like Palin or Huckabee, and get the kind of humiliating rejection which may make them regroup and take a long hard look in the mirror. Ultimately they are going to (have to) realise that the religiously based social conservatism which has been their mainstay in recent years is not going to win them national elections from now on except when Democrats mess up. I really think that long nightmare is almost over...

  •  Republicans don't run on ideas. They run on (0+ / 0-)

    fear of the other, jingoism, sloganeering, and prejudice.

    So, for that reason, to me, it wouldn't be fun if they were competitive.

    They are bankrupt of ideas and ethics. Since they contribute nothing to the national dialogue or our growth as a nation, I don't want them to be competitive.

  •  Learn HTML tables! (0+ / 0-)

    Not everybody uses IE.

    Some of us don't like viruses.

    "Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all." --Hypatia of Alexandria, c.400

    by jayskew on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 08:38:07 PM PDT

  •  the National Popular Vote bill (0+ / 0-)

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes--that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The Constitution gives every state the power to allocate its electoral votes for president, as well as to change state law on how those votes are awarded.

    The bill is currently endorsed by 1,246 state legislators -- 460 sponsors (in 48 states) and an additional 786 legislators who have cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. This national result is similar to recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado-- 68%, Iowa --75%, Michigan-- 73%, Missouri-- 70%, New Hampshire-- 69%, Nevada-- 72%, New Mexico-- 76%, North Carolina-- 74%, Ohio-- 70%, Pennsylvania -- 78%, Virginia -- 74%, and Wisconsin -- 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Delaware --75%, Maine -- 71%, Nebraska -- 74%, New Hampshire --69%, Nevada -- 72%, New Mexico -- 76%, Rhode Island -- 74%, and Vermont -- 75%;  in Southern and border states: Arkansas --80%, Kentucky -- 80%, Mississippi --77%, Missouri -- 70%, North Carolina -- 74%, and Virginia -- 74%; and in other states polled: California -- 70%, Connecticut -- 73% , Massachusetts -- 73%, New York -- 79%, and Washington -- 77%.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 25 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington, and both houses in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes -- 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.


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