“Electoral College Advantage” Commentary by Donald Lambro, Washington Times, 1/5/04
It's not too early to begin counting electoral votes — especially with only 11 months to go before we elect a president.
By my reckoning, if President Bush simply carries the same 30 states he won in 2000 against Al Gore, that would give him 278 electoral votes — eight more than he needs to win a second term.
So the Democrats are going to have to make up those losses somewhere else. But where? And can they even hold on to all the states Mr. Gore carried?
Democrats have shown in the past that they can compete in the South, but only when their presidential candidate came from the South: Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Jimmy Carter in 1976, and Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996.
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is about as far away from the South as an Ivy League New Englander can get, and, according to Southern Democrats I've spoken to, Mr. Dean doesn't play that well down there.
This is not only the region where Mr. Bush's job approval polls are highest, it's also where support for going to war in Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein was particularly strong.
Both questions pose very serious problems for the Democrats' future presidential prospects.
For the Democrats, it's simply a reminder that their party cannot continue to "write off the South" — as one Democratic state chairman complained at a DNC meeting last year — and expect to be competitive in presidential elections.