This commentary from Real Clear Politics tells us what to expect in today’s top three election races (Republican wins in the Missisippi and Kentucky gubernatorial races, and a win by the Democratic incumbent mayor in Philadelphia), and the significance of it all (probably not much). RCP does suggest that a Republican win in Mississippi would confirm that “even decent Democratic candidates can’t win statewide in the South.” This may be true in a handful of southern states (it’s not true in Florida or Louisiana, for example), and it is bad news for the Democrats in terms of recapturing the Senate. It has no consequences for the upcoming presidential race, though, since the Democrats have no intention of running a decent candidate.
Beyond 2004, the Democrats will suffer adverse consequences if they become non-competitive in much of the south. For one thing, the case for nominating southerners for national office will be harder to make, yet the Dems haven’t elected a non-southerner president since 1960 and haven’t won without a southerner on the ticket since 1944 (or 1948 depending on where the south begins). Similarly, the incentive to nominate a moderate liberal may seem to diminish, which will hurt the Dems in non-southern states. By the same token, the Republicans, if they can take much of the south for granted, will have more flexibility to attract moderate voters.
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