from my conservative cousin from New York. He writes:
While any night when you can carry Jim Bunning and Lisa Murkowski to victory has to be considered a significant victory for the GOP, it is unclear that a liberal Democrat can no longer win the Presidency. If just over [70,000] votes in Ohio had gone the other way the MSM would be heralding the emergence of a new Democratic majority. This was no landslide.
Bush almost blew the election in the first debate. It may well be that absent the intervention of those four Massachusetts judges who discovered a constitutional right to gay marriage, we’d be facing the frightening prospect of a White House occupied by Mike Dukakis’ Lieutenant Governor.
Don’t want to sound like the snake at the garden party but the voter surveys I have seen show some trends that give grounds for concern. Kerry to my surprise carried those under 30 by a margin of 54-45 and did reasonably well with “Hispanics” and “Asians”. If the Democrats can nominate someone who appeals to “White” voters who don’t share the agenda of the teachers union or trial lawyers – Evan Bayh or Bob Kerrey come to mind – the outcome could be quite different.
I’ve heard several commentators comparing the Bush victory to William McKinley’s defeat of William Jennings Bryan in 1896. That election ushered in a three decade era of Republican dominance. I fail to see the parallels. Bryan’s strength was centered in rural agricultural regions whose share of the population was in decline. Kerry drew strength from young people, Hispanics and Blacks. I haven’t seen any occupational breakdowns of voters but just looking at the electoral map leads me to believe that Kerry did well among such fast growing segments of the labor force as teachers, lawyers, health care workers and others employed in the service sectors.
I hope that Bush works in his second term to build a strong electoral majority by advocating conservative reforms that will help people of modest means improve their lives. I was heartened to see him effectively advocating tax reform and personal retirement accounts as an option to Social Security at his news conference today. These kinds of programs coupled with a strong defense of the traditional family could garner new support for the GOP.
I agree with much of this analysis. However, I’m fairly confident that the Democrats will never nominate an Evan Bayh or a Bob Kerrey. I also think that Republcans should be encouraged by how much better Bush did with hispanic voters this time around.
My concern, going forward, is with keeping the president’s majority together. Will the policies that can help the party with hispanics and/or young voters go down well with the party’s present base? Time will tell, but there are certainly potential tensions here, and 2008 may be a wild ride.