by Christopher, Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 05:15:59 AM EST
A wise man once said that Pennsylvania consists of Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west, and Alabama in the middle. True enough, and the only thing that kept Pennsylvania from going red was Philadelphia County's 400,000 Kerry margin. Or put another way, only 20% of Pennsylvania's counties (compared to 19% in my home state of Tennessee) went Democratic. You've got a red state there folks, with a big blob of blue tacked on at the river. (Santorum, anyone?)
The North voted for Kerry not because it's somehow more tolerant, more inclusive, more caring, less racist, or less evangelical. No--the North voted for Kerry because it has larger cities. And we've nearly squeezed the maximum amount of blue from those cities. The only way to make Pennsylvania more blue is to try to appeal to the same voters we're rejecting out of hand in the South.
So instead of writing off the South completely, out of some belief that its Bush supporters are qualitatively different from the Bush supporters north of the Mason-Dixon line, we need to find ways to appeal to rural voters as a whole. And please notice that I am not talking about the religion thing. We are not a party of religious fundamentalists and we can never compete with that. But if we start condemning rural voters in the South for their values, we will also alienate rural voters everywhere else. So let's quit with the regional stereotypes and start figuring out ways to appeal to a broad spectrum of voters who live in rural and urban areas alike.
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