FLOTSAM & JETSAM: The Democrats' inland America problem

Monday, January 07, 2019

The Democrats' inland America problem

Sam Smith - Missing from our political discussions is a major Democratic issue: The party's support mainly comes from states on the western, northern and eastern border of America. In fact, there's a serious question - based on the past half century - of whether Democratic candidates from these border states can win.

For example, during this period, the only Democrats to win have been Obama from Illinois, Bill Clinton from Arkansas, Jimmy Carter from Georgia and Lyndon Johnson from Texas.

Kerry and Dukakis from Massachusetts each won only one non-Democratic border state. Mondale from Minnesota won none and Humphrey from the same state won 2.  Hillary Clinton from New York won 4. Among the losers, only Gore and McGovern came from non liberal states.

Meanwhile, Obama from inland Illinois won seven.

What's going on here? It looks like the Democrats are misjudging the popularity of their candidates based on their status in their own turf.  But that accounts for less than a third of the electoral vote.

Their politics is groomed and tested in these liberal states but doesn't require an associated ability to reach the less liberal ones.Even a black guy from Illinois knew better how to reach inland Americans.

This is something Democrats have to learn to deal with.  Either they have to convert inland and southern America or at least learn to deal with it politically.