Lost in the Presidential battle is the fact that the Democratic party is evolving away from being a national party and evolving into being a regional party. For all practical purposes there is no statewide Democratic party in most of the southern states. It simply does not exist in much of the old Confederacy, nor in many of the farm belt states.
Further evidence of this decline can be found in the gubernatorial elections scheduled to take place at the same time as the Presidential elections. Democrats are going to lose.
If the votes go their way in the 11 elections for governor next week, Republicans could have their strongest statehouse hand in decades.
Yes it is partly numbers at work here.
It is partly about the numbers. With 8 of the 11 seats currently held by Democrats — and 4 of those with Democratic incumbents leaving office, in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Montana and Washington — Republicans have far less turf to defend.
But it is mainly about candidates, organization and effective government. In
North Carolina the
Republican candidate is almost certain to win, following four years of generally
ineffective leadership by the incumbent Democrat. In Washington
state, which is solidly Democratic at the national level the race is tied.
Another reason is that while Republicans at the national level are shrill, ideologically driven Conservatives, Republican Governors, the one who have to actually deal with management and delivering services are eschewing the ideology and proving to be at least minimally competent managers. In
Indiana a former Bush administration
official is leaving the Governorship after keeping taxes low and services high.
The loss of Governor positions is highly damaging to a party. Governors, not Senators are the major source of national candidates, the current President notwithstanding. And Governors can have great influence in their states in terms of electing Senators, the voting for President and most importantly setting up districts for House members.
So the long term question here is whether or not Democrats will fade from existence in even more states than they already have. The outlook, not good.