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GOP Rural Base Eroding Further

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Polls show a growing disenchantment with President Bush nationwide, and this is also holding true in the rural areas which traditionally were hard-core Bush supporters, according to this report from NPR which cites a study conducted for the non-partisan Center for Rural Strategies.

A new national poll indicates rural Americans are no longer reliably Republican, and the Bush administration's conduct of the war in Iraq seems mainly to blame.

People from the nation's smallest places had the biggest impact in the last two presidential elections. President Bush's dominance in rural counties is credited with giving him his winning margins in both 2000 and 2004.

But the new survey, of 804 likely voters living beyond cities and suburbs, indicates that the Republican formula for winning presidential elections is losing a key component.

"I think there are two big headlines out of this poll," says Anna Greenberg of the Democratic polling firm of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. "The first is 'Republican Collapse in Rural Areas.' And the second is 'Rural is the Battleground in 2008."

Greenberg conducted the survey coast to coast, May 31 through June 5, in what the Census Bureau calls "non-metropolitan" counties.

In related news, a disproportionate number of US soldiers who die in Iraq come from rural areas, according to a study by the Carsey Institute. This is principally due to the higher enlistment rate of young men in rural areas, a trend which in turn has its own roots in diminished employment opportunities in those areas. The video linked below is a report on the Carsey Institute study, and is produced by the Center For Rural Strategies.

(1:42)
Click on the "play button in the lower left-hand corder to play the video.


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Comments (14)

superdestroyer[TypeKey Profile Page]:

You need to take your conclusions out further. The Republican party is becoming irrelevent to politics. Demographic changes guarantee it in the long run and the incompetence of President Bush is just making it happen faster.

The real question is what will the U.S. be like as a one party state. Will the U.S. become like Mass, D.C., or California?

The main conclusion should be that a country ruled by the core groups of the Democratic Party will not be a very pleasant place for middle class or blue collar native born Americans.

That is a common misperception among those who religiously read (shudder) and actually believe (guffaw) the right wing blogs' reporting on the center and left side of politics, SD -- specifically, that the vocal components of the Democratic party are the "ruling" components of the Democratic party, and that's not true.

The Iraq funding "issue", where the Democrats on control pushed through the "clean" bill that the President asked for -- over the loud objections of the netroots folks, demonstrates that.

Heck, we even pissed CIndy Sheehan off enough to make her quit politics. Huzzah! Now that's progress!

There always has been and will continue to be a "Silent Majority" that rules our country, and today we're seeing that majority continue its shift to the blue side of the ballot.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the fact-challenged right will paint gloom and doom results from that -- you guys have been terrorizing Americans with your bullshit for so long you no longer know how to tell the truth -- if you could recognize it to begin with. There is still quite a bit of shell-shock from the '06 election, and some folks are having difficulty adjusting to the new order 'round here.

Sit back and enjoy the ride, SD, and we'll even let you guys honk the horn if you behave. Thanks for stopping by!

superdestroyer[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Lee,

If you look at the Red/blue map of the U.S., one of the the most interesting aspects is that the bluest counties in the U.S. are the ones with the least number of blue collar whites. Look at the bluest city in the U.S., Washington, DC. There are no moderate middle that run the city. It is run by extremeist and tolerated by the elite Democrats because they can afford to avoid most of the problems. The same applies to NYC, Boston, SF, and LA.

As the U.S. becomes more like LA and less like Omaha there are few propects for the middle class. Just look at LA itself. The total number of whites and blacks is going down because the quality of life is going down.

Look at the immigration debate. Everyone knows that every hispanic voter that achieves citizenship is a future Democratic voters.

You did not answer the question. How will the U.S. function as a one party state. Is Maryland the model that the U.S. will follow? Or will it be Mass, or NJ or California?

If the moderate middle controls the Democratic Party, then why is a deep blue city like Seattle still arguing for busing middle class kids to achieve some sort of social engineering?

"You did not answer the question. How will the U.S. function as a one party state."

I didn't answer because its hyperbole. There will always be two or more parties, and the power will continue to shift back and forth as it is doing now -- your "question" is nothing more than the exact type of right wing disaster-mongering that I said typifies the right side arguments.

You might as well have written Ohhh no! It'll be an blue-nosed elitist oligarchy, with Pelosi, Reid and Hillary running roughshod over middle-american American values and mores!

Bullshit. The pendulum is swinging to the left, but the majority will continue to rule. Get over it.

superdestroyer:

Lee,

Does Mass. have a two party system? NO. Anyone who does not like the current political arrangement has only one choice and that is to move out of the state (which many in the middle class have done). Does DC have a two party system? No. Do the Republicans have a chance of every being the majority party in California? NO.

As the demographics of the U.S. change, the Democratic party will grow more powerful no matter how they perform (See DC) If the Democratic Parety inplments a massive expansion of the welfare state (free healthcare, open borders, free college for all) the number of producers in the U.S. will slides well below 50% but the Democrats will continue to get a higher percentage of the vote.

To believe that blacks, jews, hispanics, gays, or Asians will every leave the Democratic Party no matter how badly they perform is to believe that Marion Barry will not be re-elected.

the future of the U.S. is the single party state. No matter of propaganda can make up for the overwhelming Demographic advantage that the Democratic Party enjoys. If immigration reform passes, the Republican party will not be around in ten years just like there is no relevent Republican party in DC, NYC, or Chicago.

Lee Ward:

Mitt Romney was the Governor of Massachusetts from 2002-2006.

He's a Republican. He's very Republican. He's so Republican he has a decent shot at nailing the Republican nomination for President in 2008.

superdestroyer:

Larkin,

How does taking the smaller of the two political parties and splitting it into two parties provide any benefit. It would just guarantee that the Democratic Party becomes the one, dominate party faster. Since both parties would only be appealing middle class and blue collar whites. Since that group is shrinking relative to other groups in the U.S., it would just mean that both parties would be irrelevent.

It would be better if the Democrats split into four political parties: the black party, the hispanic party, the government worker party, and the educated elite party (northeast U.S. and college town types).

Lee,

One elected politicians does not make a political party. The Democrats dominated the state houses in Mass. while Romney was governor. Romney could do nothing that the Democratic Party did not want. The same goes for Arnold in Califoria who now governs the same way that Gray Davis would be if he was still governor. In reality, there is no functional Republica parties north of Virginia now.

Lee Ward:

"How does taking the smaller of the two political parties and splitting it into two parties provide any benefit. It would just guarantee that the Democratic Party becomes the one, dominate party faster."

I"m not speaking for Larking... however, in my view you should take your own advice about "looking further down the road" but take off those Wizbang! sunglasses, SD, when you do -- you can't see clearly looking through the filter of wingnuttery.

A third party, smartly deployed, would scoop up the center of the political spectrum, and most definitely dominate US politics, leaving the looney left and religious right in the left and right wings respectively.

The net effect would be to move the left and right towards the larger and dominate center party - which they'd have to do to gather enough votes. Less "nuttery" all around, in my estimation.

superdestroyer:

Lee,

All a third party would do is split the white vote in the U.S. into three parts and leave the blacks, hispanic, jewish, and asian voters (all groups that vote more than 65% for Democrats) to the Democratic Party.

The problem is all of the proposals about third or more parties is that is assumes that non-whites are not solidly ethnic block voters. When you show evidence that non-whites will vote for someone who is not a Democratic party candidates, then a third party will work.

The Democratic Party works because it can contain factions that take opposing views and not fight with each other. It only depends upon an every increasing size of government to pay off its differing factions. I doubt if any other political party could pull off the balancing act.

In the end, the U.S. will be more like California with rich elites; a large public sector to provide jobs to the middle class and a very large poor population to keep the middle class in line and to provide cheap labor. The only problem is such a scenerio leaves no room for middle class, private sector workers.

Lee Ward:

"When you show evidence that non-whites will vote for someone who is not a Democratic party candidates, then a third party will work."

What an odd statement - and I'm at a loss to explain why this concept just isn't registering with me... I'm not usually at a loss for words *wink.

Let's start by verifying your basic premise, and then go forward from there. First, is there empirical evidence regarding the voting patterns and party affiliations of non-whites i the US?

I've always assumed there are a solid block of Asian Republicans, for example. Is it true that almost all non-whites are Democrats?

[email protected]:

Lee,

If you look at the 2006 congressional and senatorial races it breaks down to 90% for Democrats (I would guess that most blacks in the U.S. have never voted for Republican), 90% for Jews (I would also guess that most Jews have never voted for Republican), 75% for Hispanics (slightly less than the 90% of gay voters who automatically vote Democratic), and 65% for Asian voters.

I doubt that any third party would affect those numbers. The best numbers to look at would be the percentage of blacks, hispanics, and asians who voted for Perot in 1992.

In reality in the U.S., the swing voters are the white middle and upper middle class voters. That is why the battle ground states are Ohio, Colorado, and Iowa and why states like California, Maryland, and Illinois are now lost causes for the Republicans.

However, as demographic changes in the U.S., Arizona, Colorado, Nevada will quickly become lost causes for the Republicans along with possibly Virginia and North Carolina.

The Republicans cannot sustain themselves as a national party with their powerbases in Utah, Idaho, and Alabama.

Most people intuitively know this now. That is why the Republicans cannot recruit new candidates and why so few college students are interested in conservative politics. There just is no future in such politics.

Lee Ward:

Well, you know-- you say "that's why" the Republicans can't recruit from outside their current ranks, but it would appear to be an imperative that they do exactly that in order to survive as a viable party.

There seems to be some Republican house cleaning in order though - and perhaps the true conservative Republicans should push the far-right religious zealots and racist bigots out of the party - and then the remaining conservatives and neoconservatives can find a common platform which, I believe, could attract non-white folks who are "fiscally conservative but socially liberal". I count myself among that crowd.

I'm guessing that among non-whites who would defect from the Democratic party it is Asians who would be among the first to jump into a centrist party like this, and that you'd find a large number of hard-working Hispanic families that would move over as well.

But you have to get rid of the right wing fringe first. Guys like Trancredo are giving the Republican party a bad name among non-whites, not that there was much there to work with, but it's getting worse, not better.

I don't think that mounting a third party effort would be as difficult as you believe, SD.

superdestroyer:

Any move to attrach hispanic votes or asian votes would probably lose two or more white conservatives for every asian or hispanic vote that would be gained.

You are suggesting what I call the Democratic-Lite strategy. That has been tried in states like Mass. and Maryland and has been a total loser and made the Republicans even less relevent. If people want a large government, deliver the good party, they will always vote Democratic. The Lite strategy loses conservatives without gaining any of the core Democratic voters. It just makes the Republicans irrelevent faster.

Trying to make a go of the Republican party in the future is like trying to make a profitable business out of selling analog television sets or cassette tapes. The trends are just against it and no matter of positioning, campaigning, or candidate selection is going to fix it.

What America really has to start talking about is how to function as a one party state. If Maryland or Mass. is the model or is Califonia? How do people function when nothing can be changed inside the political process? Will corruption increase like in NJ and Chicago? Will there be an out-migration of the middle class to Canada or Australia to get away from open borders and massive immigration?

Lee Ward:

"Any move to attract hispanic votes or asian votes would probably lose two or more white conservatives for every asian or hispanic vote that would be gained."

Those are the folks that you need to lose, so let them go. Push them out of the GOP and into a far-right ultra-conservative party.

If Maryland or Mass. is the model or is Califonia?

And I see California and Massachusetts, with their liberal social agendas and fiscally-conservative governors (Romney was anyway) as examples of how the two-party system is thriving. I don't see how these two specifics are examples of "one party" states.

They seem to me to be examples of how voters are obtaining the best of both parties - and I'm being lazy and not looking it up, but wasn't Congress Democratically-controlled while Reagan was in the White House?

The problems started when Bush attained the White House in 2000 while Congress was under Republican control. It's been downhill since then, imho.

"Will there be an out-migration of the middle class to Canada or Australia to get away from open borders and massive immigration?"

If that does happen, it'll give us a stronger America as a result. Let those who are frightened by diversity get the hell out.

And the "immigration" issue isn't going to stop the trends towards increased diversity anwyay, so you know -- if the Republican party can't survive maybe it's just part of the natural evolutionary order of things -- something the evangelical right seems have trouble accepting -- on a number of different levels.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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