Tuesday | July 23, 2002
Dems making gains in the South
Republican dominance in the South is ending, as Democrats field competitive candidates in nearly all Southern races.
Of course, many Southern Democrats are to the right of Northern Republicans like Lincoln Chafee of RI, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Having a conservative wing in the party lends it centrist credentials in races across the country, and provides for a more balanced ideology. It is harder to tar Sen. Max Cleland as too liberal for Georgia so long as conservative Dem Zell Miller endorses him. This is a point lost on many progressive intent on following Republicans down the slope of ideological purity.
One of the GOP's biggest weaknesses the past few years has been its purging of liberal members (like Vermont Sen. Jeffords). Thus, the party is seen by many as a reactionary right-wing apparatus. That may be welcome to the party's wingnuts, but it's not helpful to the party's overall chances of success. California is exhibit A: Riordian would be all over Gov. Davis at this point, but state Republicans opted for the right-wing ideologue Simon.
However, as frustrating as conservative dems can be, it doesn't look as if Democrats will fall into the same trap. Those that demand ideological purity have already left the party.
They are called Greens.Posted July 23, 2002 08:49 AM | Comments (0)