Re: The Bob Barr effect
sozobe's source wrote:
. . . and the editors of the Chicago Tribune thought it was going to be true in 1948.
Yeah, but they were wrong, as were the editorial staffs of quite a few other newspapers. There were not just three parties, either, there were four. Henry Wallace ran on the "Progressive Party" ticket, and took almost 1.2 million votes, which, compared to Strom Thurmond's almost 1.8 million, was just about as significant a factor, one as the other. The key states in that election were California, Ohio and Illinois--despite what pundits continue to say, the "Dixiecrat" vote was meaningless in the outcome.
It would, in fact, be 20 yeas before there was a significant party re-alignment in the South, when Southerners, traditional Democratic voters, would vote for Richard Nixon. Despite Strom Thurmond, in 1948, Truman took Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas.
I don't think this analogy is valid. In fact, in many states of the South, Strom Thurmond took votes away from Thomas Dewey, not Truman. In California, Ohio and Illinois, Truman beat Dewey by a very slim margin--less than a percentage point in California and Ohio.
But in this election, for Obama to take any states of the South, he'd have to overcome the tendency to vote conservative without regard to party which began in 1968 and became sufficiently significant for the press to notice it in 1980. In 1968, Nixon or Wallace took every state of the South except Texas. In the South, whether he won a state or not, Nixon hammered Humphrey among middle class urban voters, and beat Wallace five to four in those precincts. Wallace only won in the rural precincts, and then just barely, and Humphrey only won in low income urban precincts and among black and Hispanic voters in all precincts.
I just don't see how Obama, no matter who his running mate were, could overcome the historical voting trends in the South for the last 40 years. I don't think he should abandon the South in his campaigning, because if he wins, he'll need at least some residue of good will there, and Democrats running in the South are not likely to dissociate themselves from a popular candidate, even if he doesn't seem likely to win any states there.
But i just don't see a running mate doing Obama any real good in the South. He'll need to put together his electoral votes elsewhere to win this one.