January 28, 2004

Looking South


ABC News reported Monday: Forget the South?.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is discounting notions that any Democratic candidate would have to appeal to Southern voters in order to win the presidency, calling such thinking a "mistake" during a speech at Dartmouth College. [...]

"Everybody always makes the mistake of looking South," Kerry said, in response to a question about winning the region. "Al Gore proved he could have been president of the United States without winning one Southern state, including his own."

As Glenn Reynolds noted: "Um, no. Al Gore proved that he couldn't win the United States without carrying one Southern state, including his own."

The ABC News article concludes with a brief history of Democratic candidates and Southern states:

Whether or not Democrats should cede the South for the November 2004 election and focus resources elsewhere has been fiercely debated privately in many Democratic circles. History is not on the side of those who would argue in favor of doing so.

The last three Democratic presidents -- Bill Clinton from Arkansas, Jimmy Carter from Georgia, and Lyndon Johnson from Texas -- were from the South. The last four Democratic presidential nominees to not win one Southern state -- Sen. George McGovern in 1972; former Vice President Walter Mondale in 1984; Gov. Mike Dukakis in 1988; and Gore in 2000 -- lost. Former Vice President Hubert Humphrey in 1968 and Carter in 1980 were able to win one Southern state apiece, though in the end they lost to Republicans nationwide. Of the victorious Democrats, Carter won 10 Southern states in 1976, and Clinton won four in both 1992 and 1996.

Posted by Forkum at January 28, 2004 12:00 AM