The Red v. Blue State Dynamic

by Ryan on March 22, 2008

in Culture,Election 2008,Politics

I found this article by Michael Barone, political guru whose wisdom is usually spot on, where for the first time I read a piece addressing a thought I’ve had for a while: is this whole Red v. Blue state-thing a Bush phenomenon? 

Barone makes an argument that no, it’s not totally a George W. Bush phenomenon, but rather a trend that started in the 1990s during BJ’s tenure.  Barone cites the last time two consecutive elections were so close as they were in both 2000 and 2004: 1952 and 1956 which happened to have the same candidates and only four states shifting their votes!

In Barone’s view, cultural issues like religion v. relativism, rural v. urban, intervention v. self-interest have kept the electorate pretty static since the late 1990s. Yet, he contends that in 2008, this dynamic is no longer there with Bush and what he represents as a figure with whom to rally around or reject.  The Dems will try to paint McCain as a third Bush term, but it’s too early to see if that ridiculous accusation will stick.

So if the Red v. Blue state dynamic is not present in this election, what does one candidate do to flip the state colors?  Barone also believes that this election may focus around generational differences and outreach to industrial states, which in his view may skew Democratic in 2008.  I’m not sure I buy that analysis totally.  Young people like Obama, but young people don’t vote in large enough numbers.  Plus, Obama’s been wounded lately and the polls of Millennials have not yet reflected this major bump in the road.

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