Friday, November 28, 2008

Running to Stand Still

The cornerstone of Howard Dean's tenure as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee has been the 50-State Strategy: run against the Republicans in every race, all the way down to local school board elections. It forces the Republicans to expend their increasingly scarce manpower and cash resources on supposedly "safe" seats, and allows the Democrats to exploit unexpected opportunities.

A good way to tell whether the 50-State Strategy is working is to survey races for the U.S. House of Representatives. This is the highest level at which the parties make strategic decisions on whether or not to field challenges to incumbents.

In the 2008 House races, a total of 56 incumbents ran unopposed by the other major party: 42 Democrats and 14 Republicans. The state-by-state breakdown looks like this:

1 – Bonner (R)
6 – Bachus (R)
7 – Davis (D)

1 – Berry (D)
2 – Snyder (D)
3 – Boozman (R)
4 – Ross (D)

18 – Cardoza (D)
19 – Radanovich (R)
22 – McCarthy (R)
28 – Berman (D)
30 – Waxman (D)
31 – Becerra (D)
32 – Solis (D)
37 – Richardson (D)
38 – Napolitano (D)

3 – Brown (D)
17 – Meek (D)
20 – Wasserman Shultz (D)

4 – Johnson (D)
5 – Lewis (D)

17 – Hare (D)

5- Rogers (R)

3 – Melancon (D)
5 – Alexander (R)

2 – Neal (D)
3 – McGovern (D)
5 – Tsongas (D)
8 – Capuano (D)
9 – Lynch (D)
10 – Delahunt (D)

14 – Conyers (D)

1 – Clay (D)

New Jersey
10 – Payne (D)

New York
6 – Meeks (D)
9 – Weiner (D)

1 – Wu (D)
4 – DeFazio (D)

14 – Doyle (D)

6 – Gordon (D)
8 – Tanner (D)
9 – Cohen (D)

1 – Gohmert (R)
2 – Poe (R)
5 – Hensarling (R)
9 – Green (D)
11 – Conaway (R)
14 – Paul (R)
16 – Reyes (D)
21 – Smith (R)

1 – Welch (D)

3 – Scott (D)
9 – Boucher (D)

West Virginia
1 – Mollohan (D)

4 – Moore (D)
5 – Sensenbrenner (R)

The states with the most unopposed incumbents were California, with 9 out of 53 races unopposed; Texas, with 8 out of 32 races unopposed; and Massachusetts, with 6 out of 10 races unopposed.

The states with the highest ratio of unopposed races were Arkansas, with 4 out of 4 races unopposed (100%); Vermont, with 1 out of 1 races unopposed (100%); and Massachusetts, with 6 out of 10 races unopposed (60%).

Yeah, it looks like the 50-State Strategy is working just fine.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

America Wants Socialism!

If there was one unifying theme to the last month of the McCain-Palin campaign, it was that Barack Obama was a socialist. McCain and Palin both hammered away on this point, as did their numerous surrogates. And given McCain's reputation as a straight talker, you know it had to be the truth; John McCain wouldn't lie about something that important.

And again, given McCain's well-known reputation as a straight talker, you have to think that when he said Obama was a socialist, people were going to believe him. There couldn't have been many voters anywhere in the country who hadn't heard McCain say that Obama was a socialist. And they pretty much had to believe him, given what a straight talker he was.

So, when Obama wins 53% of the popular vote, there can't be any doubt what that means. It means that at least 53% of the people in this country want a socialist government. They voted for it, they expect it, and if Obama wants to keep faith with the people who elected him, they'd better get it.

At the very least, he'd better be prepared to nationalize some key industries. Energy almost certainly, and probably health care. He may have to nationalize the financial industry as well, though that won't be such a big deal given that the Bush administration has already done most of the work. And if the auto industry is in as much trouble as we've been hearing lately, it may be necessary for the government to take it over as well.

Speaking as someone who used to work for Wal-Mart, I can tell you that that company is ripe for nationalization. It's just too big and dangerous to leave it as it is. President Obama is also probably going to want to confiscate the wealth of the Walton family, just to make sure they don't get up to any more shenanigans.

I'm sure there must be others I'm not thinking of. If you can think of other industries that the government ought to nationalize, please leave your suggestions in the comments section.