Tuesday, December 01, 2009

"Daddy, Where Do Democrats Come From?"

I'll tell you in a series of four charts. The basis of this post comes from work I've been doing for my Southern Politics course. I've explained to the class how the Republican Party has evolved into a Southern Party over the last twenty years, but I had no visual evidence of this. Well, here's some evidence.

First, we see that over the last twenty years, the Democratic Party actually appears somewhat bipartisan as 48% of its House members were Democratic. That's balance. Especially when we compare the South to New England, where 75% of its members have been Democratic. Conversely, the six Plains states are remarkably Republican, much more so than the South. And, yes, I use the Confederacy to define the South, not the Census Bureau's definition. In my view, if you didn't secede, you're not Southern.

But, this only tells us where Democrats have come from, in the aggregate, over the last 20 years. It's better if we break it down by Congress. In the second graph, we see that New England hasn't always sent 75% of its' delegation to Congress as Democrats. Instead, we see a steady up tick. IN the 101st Congress, New England showed more balance, a 60:40 ration, then a steady upward creep, culminating in 100% of its' delegates being Democratic for the 111th Congress. Conversely, if you look at the dark, red line, the Plains states, you see something different. Perfect balance, then Democrats fall off the cliff in the 104th Congress. This, of course, is when Newt Gingrich-led Republicans regained the majority in the House after forty plus years in the wilderness. The Mountain West and South also severely experimented with Republicanism during this stage, yet the large Black population in the South, kept (and keeps) the South from becoming wholly Republican. The Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and West were never in serious likelihood of becoming Republican. Obviously, if the GOP wants to grow, New England and the Mid-Atlantic are areas of concern; I'd advise the GOP to concentrate on the Midwest and Mountain West.

Still curious, I wanted to know how Southern the Republican caucus had become. But, first, we'll examine the Democratic side. What strikes me when I look at the next chart is the remarkable balance of the Democratic caucus. This might make reaching intraparty deals a difficult proposition, but it's probably better than the Republican alternative, which I'll get to shortly. In the 101st Congress, four different regions (West, South, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic) each provided at least 14% of the Democratic caucus. No one regional delegation clearly dominated. By the 111th Congress, the Democrats (no doubt, thanks Rahm Emanuel's efforts) had achieved even more balance. While the Southern Democratic share shrunk from 30% to 23%m there are still four regions comprising at least 18% of the Democratic caucus and the delegations from New England and and the Mountain West are larger. That's balance.

Now, let's examine the House GOP. First thing I notice is that in the 101st Congress, the Republican Party had commendable balance. Four different regions comprised at least 14% of the Republican House caucus. But, and quite noticeable, is that by the 111th Congress, only three regions comprised that much (South, West and Midwest). The Republican Party reached oblivion in New England (0%) and the Republican delegation from the Mid-Atlantic was cut in half (18% to 9%). What caused this change? The Southernization of the Republican Party. Southerners went from 22% of the GOP caucus to 41% in just twenty years. In so doing, Southerners pushed out New Englanders and those from the Mid-Atlantic.


The Angry Independent said...

Thanks for this....

Brain food for me. Love your graphic work too... (I hope to start doing my own when I find the right program).

Awesome analysis.

The Repubs are consolidating their hold on the South (the Confederacy). They are also trying to target the Northeast...

Progressives, if they are smart, should try to stay a step ahead by putting more resources into those areas. Dems must also worry about the Midwest... since several Midestern States are very similar to the South (i'm talking in terms of Culture). And the GOP is well aware of this...and they have been trying to take advantage of the fact that we have a Black/Biracial President to try to divide along racial lines in places like Ohio, Missouri, Michigan, Indiana, etc.

Luckily for Dems they have the West.... and the West is growing fast. Unfortunately though for Presidential elections... they can't rely just on that.

This is why Obama should have focused more on dealing with the jobs situation. They should have had a more aggressive program of job creation as part of the Stimulus. I mentioned an effort like the TVA...or the creation of an quasi gov't agency that would help build the Green Industry by issuing no interest or low interest business loans to small and medium size companies (including startups) especially in the energy sector....and could issue big grants to start ups...and to those entrepreneurs with the best, most innovative ideas.... as long as they agreed to hire folks and to build their products and provide their services here in the US.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be created over the next 2-3 years.... if the Country is really serious.

But nooo... Obama wants to hold another Town Hall... or summit...for more talking. He should have been doing that a year ago. People don't want more talk... we know what the problems are. Folks are looking for concrete measures now. And the Obama Admin. isn't delivering. And when they see him playing golf or taking in a College Basketball game or NBA game... it makes him look like a jackass who doesn't care IMO.

The Dems will probably pay a price next year (hopefully not as big a price as Repubs are predicting)...but they will lose several seats.... as is often the case in midterms...(but it doesn't have to be so in this case).

The Angry Independent said...

You think Repubs should look at the Mountain West?

I don't know. I think this area is a younger population....and much more Progressive. Isn't it pointing more Progressive long-term?

I would say that the most receptive audience for Republican propaganda(outside of the Confederacy) would be the Midwest.....in States like my own (unfortunately). Here in MO.... Obama/Biden lost by just 4,000 or 5,000 votes, despite other major Dem Candidates winning sweeping victories up and down the rest of the ticket. Race definitely played a role, as SLU professor Dr. Kenneth F. Warren pointed out after the election.

The next most vulnerable region for Dems is the Northeast.... which Repubs seem to be focused on now.