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I'm a map junkie. I'm also a U.S. Navy Viet Nam era veteran who, on this Veterans Day (observed), offers up a few thoughts on the future of party politics in America, as suggested by the five most recent Electoral College Result maps of the United States.

The maps and the thoughts are out in the tall grass.

The first map is from Bill Clinton's reelection in 1996 and shows the most blue of any map until 2012.

There are special reasons for that. 1996 was a three way race with Ross Perot of Texas taking almost nine percent of the national vote. The final results were close enough, and Perot's percentage large enough to have flipped a number of states from Bob Dole to the incumbent President, including Nevada, Arizona, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida and Missouri. Without those states, Bill Clinton still won reelection, but without Perot, 1996 would show a much redder map.

George Bush won in 2000 by one vote, in the Supreme Court, which put its stamp on the now much redder map.

This map, importantly, portrays the regional nature of party dominance that has endured even until today. Democrats own the West Coast, Upper Midwest, New England and the Mid-Atlantic Seaboard. Only tiny New Hampshire is wobbly. Meanwhile, Republicans control the South, Southwest, Great Plains and Mountain West, excepting only New Mexico, just one electoral vote bigger than New Hampshire and just as wobbly. Bush's election required him to both take Ohio and steal Florida, and he was, sadly, up to both tasks.

Bush won again in 2004, this time by stealing Ohio and winning Florida. Both New Hampshire and New Mexico wobbled.

Otherwise, the regional distribution of red and blue remained unchanged in 2004.

President Obama won in 2008 by pushing party strength in the Upper Midwest, expanding into the Mountain West, taking Florida out of the solid GOP South and pushing the boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic into Virginia and North Carolina.

The 2012 election produced a map that confirms the growing regional strengths and weaknesses of the two major parties.
Fortunately, that is really good news for Democrats everywhere. Four years from now, North Carolina will again be a swing state while Missouri and Arizona will trend with their regions and become swing states.

All of this optimism assumes, however, that in the next four years the GOP never wises up and finds a way to start winning Hispanic votes or women. That would change everything. But if Republicans stay reliably loopy, Democrats can hope to continue to hold the White House and gain influence in all but the deep South and the sparsely populated zones of the interior where Republicans will crouch with their guns, their God, their hatreds, their delusions, their fears and their FOX, while the rest of the country gets on with the 21st Century.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    Aren't you glad that the clueless won't get a chance to run the country again, just yet? Yeah. Me too.

    by LeftOfYou on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 12:57:12 PM PST

  •  Interesting comparison (5+ / 0-)
    But if Republicans stay reliably loopy, Democrats can hope to continue to hold the White House and gain influence in all but the deep South and the sparsely populated zones of the interior where Republicans will crouch with their guns, their God, their hatreds, their delusions, their fears and their FOX, while the rest of the country gets on with the 21st Century.
    No, the South is actually the major region of the country that trended bluer this time around, according to The New York Times:

    ChangeMap480

    Four years from now, North Carolina will again be a swing state while Missouri and Arizona will trend with their regions and become swing states.
    Agreed. And if the party goes back to a 50-state strategy, it may set up other states to do the same.
    •  the trouble with the NYT map (0+ / 0-)

      is that the data's not there to determine what actually happened last tuesday. there are still 10 million votes left to count. california may well have improved on 2008 in 2012, we won't know until the other 25% of the vote is counted.

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