A Northern Strategy for Kerry-Gephardt
February 2 2004
With the demise of
Howard Dean and the emergence of John Kerry, the White House has seen
its big chance for a blowout on the scale of the Nixon and Reagan
landslides slip away.
President Bush remains the winter-book favorite to win in 2004. Perhaps
going away. After all, Kerry is a Massachusetts liberal who voted
against the Defense of Marriage Act, backs civil unions for homosexuals,
voted to defend the infanticide known as partial-birth abortion and
wants to raise the federal income taxes that George Bush lowered.
And like Dean, another New England liberal, he lacks that rapport with
African-Americans that civil-rights champions like LBJ and Hubert
Humphrey, and Southerners like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton naturally
Nevertheless, the White House would be advised to take Kerry seriously.
For the country has changed since the Silent Majority days of Nixon and
Agnew and the "Reagan Democrat" days of the 1980s.
The great proletarian cultural revolution of the 1960s has been absorbed
and internalized by much of the baby-boomer generation and its GenX
offspring. But the conservative Silent Generation of the 1950s is small
and the Greatest Generation of World War II is fading away.
California, which Nixon carried all five times he was on a national
ticket and lost only to Gov. Pat Brown in the wake of the 1962 Cuban
missile crisis, and which Reagan won four times, is moving out of reach
of the national Republicans. Yet, California has more than one-fifth of
the electoral votes needed to win the White House.
There now exists a Northern Strategy for the Democratic Party, the
elements of which, for John Kerry, are as follows:
If nominated, Kerry must be conceded Hawaii (4), Maryland (10),
Massachusetts (12), Rhode Island (4), New York (31) and D.C. (3), for 64
electoral votes. These five states, plus D.C., will be virtually
Since 2000, California has been awarded two more electoral votes. Kerry
should be favored in the Hispanicizing Golden State (55), as well as
Oregon (7) and Washington (11). Al Gore swept the Left Coast. Should
Kerry do likewise, this would give him 73 additional electoral votes,
bringing his total up to 137.
Assume Kerry cedes to Bush all the other Western, Mountain and Plains
states all the way to the Missouri River. He can still win. His
imperative is this: He must sweep the Rust Belt that has borne the brunt
of a 2.8 million manufacturing jobs loss under Bush.
If Kerry can win New Jersey (15), Pennsylvania (21), Ohio (20), West
Virginia (5), Michigan (17), Illinois (21) and the anti-war Upper
Midwest – Wisconsin (10), Minnesota (10), Iowa (7) – he can put in his
bag an additional 126 electoral votes for a total of 263.
Kerry is now only seven votes shy of the presidency.
Any two out of the three Upper New England states – Ben and Jerry's
Vermont (3), New Hampshire (4), which Kerry just won, and Maine (4),
which Bush's father lost in 1992 and GWB lost in 2000, puts Kerry over
the top. Winning Connecticut (8) alone would do it.
If Kerry were to put Gephardt on the ticket, that could give him
Missouri (11) for a cushion. It would also help Kerry in Iowa and
Illinois, across the river from Gephardt's St. Louis district, as well
as in the indispensable industrial heartland where Gephardt's anti-NAFTA
and fair trade stands retain their resonance.
It is thus possible for Kerry to lose every Southern state and every
Mountain and Plains state, and win the Oval Office. But there is no
reason Kerry cannot be competitive in Arizona (8) and New Mexico (5).
Then there is Florida (27).
Kerry's campaign will almost surely be polling the Sunshine State to
determine if Sen. Bob Graham has recovered the popularity he lost during
his brutal but failed campaign against George Bush on the war issue. Had
Bob Graham not run for president, and not done so poorly, he would be at
the top of the short list of vice presidential prospects.
If Kerry can win Florida, he can afford to lose Ohio and West Virginia
to Bush, who carried both narrowly in 2000 but is in trouble there now.
Kerry's problem is that he not only comes from Massachusetts, but that
he votes Massachusetts. He not only talks the talk, he walks the walk.
His votes for unrestricted abortion on demand and support of civil
unions for homosexuals may be mainstream in Cambridge, Mass., but they
put him beyond the pale in Middle America.
Let it be said: George Bush is beatable. He has no explanation and no
cure for the hemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs at Depression rates, no
plan to stop the outsourcing of white-collar jobs to Asia, no desire or
will to stop the invasion from Mexico.
Yet, he remains a favorite against Kerry, because Kerry has no answers,
either. Both are globalists. Both are free-traders. Both favor open
borders. Again, it needs to be said: There is no conservative party in
© 2003 Creators
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