Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Waving the white flag 

Thomas F. Schaller argues in the Washington Post that the Democratic presidential candidate should give up the South in the next election. His analysis completely ignores two of the biggest problems with this strategy.

First is that if the Democrats give up the South, so could the Republicans. The Republicans can spend a minimal amount in the South and win the electoral votes of every state there. Meanwhile, they can put the money they would save into the same states that the Democrats are putting their money in. In effect, the Democrats wouldn't be gaining any advantage in the swing states even while they lose any chance of winning a Southern state.

The other problem is the effect such a strategy would have on state and Congressional races. Schaller points out that the Democrats have steadily lost seats in each election in the last thirty years, but does not consider that the process might be greatly accelerated if the Democratic candidate does not even bother showing up in the South. There are a great number of Senate seats in the South that the Democrats simply could not concede to the Republicans. Democrats have 6 Senate seats to defend: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Quite simply, if the Democratic presidential candidate gives up the South, the Republicans could win every one of those seats.

Fortunately for the Democrats, they show no signs that they are going to adopt this strategy.
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