Wednesday, September 17, 2008

GOP Prospects for the Future

If you compare the 1988 electoral map to the 2008 electoral map, as provided by Realclearpolitics, it is becoming clear that the GOP is going to have to change its positions on many issues. The map continues to trend away from them.

The idea that Republicans could win a rout like 1988 or 1984 or 1972 anymore is ludicrous. The blue states on the East coast are heading south towards North Carolina and then Georgia on the I-95 and I-85 corridors. Among states below the Mason-Dixon, Maryland has already become reliably blue after voting for Reagan and the first George Bush and Virginia now has had 2 Democratic governors in a row, and will soon have two Democratic senators.

Some have posited that re-apportionment will save the GOP in the coming decade, with Red states likely to gain electoral votes at the expense of blue states, but this assumption is suspect, as the gains in Texas, South Carolina and Utah, which should remain reliably red, are liable to be tempered by the losses of Virginia, North Carolina, Nevada, Florida, Arizona and Georgia, all of which have suddenly become competitive states for the Democrats. Colorado and New Hampshire, both of which were won by George Bush in 2000, and New Mexico, which he won in 2004 after losing in 2000 are trending blue as well.

You will notice that with the exception of Utah, none of the most fiercely conservatives states, such as Alabama, Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana or Mississippi will be gaining electoral votes.

Virginia may go blue this fall and if it does, expect it to remain blue, followed by North Carolina in the next election, with Nevada and Florida already at equipoise. Georgia has gone Democratic for President in 1976, 1980 and 1992, while Arizona went blue in 1996 and has looked increasingly competitive, if not this year, due to the nomination of a favorite son.