Ed Driscoll

Painting the Map Red

In the Washington Examiner, Michael Barone writes, “Dems retreat to coasts as GOP rules vast interior:”

The map of the Senate races shows Republicans leading over almost all the landmass of America. Democrats are ahead in the three West Coast states and Hawaii (though not by much in California and Washington) and by 1 point in Nevada. They’re also ahead in four states along the Atlantic Coast — Maryland, Delaware, New York, Connecticut — plus Vermont.

Republicans lead in all the other Senate races, from Philadelphia to Phoenix and Boca Raton to Boise. True, their candidate leads by only 1 point in Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois. And they’ve got narrow leads in some mountain states (West Virginia, Colorado, Kentucky).

The map of governors’ races is not much different. Democrats lead in New York, all the New England states except Maine, plus Maryland. They lead in Arkansas where they’ve got a popular one-term incumbent and in Colorado where the party’s nominee has severe resume flaws and former Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo is running as an independent. Democrats lead in Hawaii and Minnesota, normally Democratic states where Republicans have held the governorships for the last two years.

Two other big states have close races: In California Republican Meg Whitman barely leads septuagenarian Democrat Jerry Brown, and in Florida the race is tied.

But overall Republicans are doing very well indeed, with statistically significant leads in every other state with a governor contest this year.

It would be more difficult to draw a map showing the party margins in the 435 House districts. For one thing, there are no publicly available polls in many districts. But if you could draw such a map, I think you’d see Democrats holding onto districts dominated by their core constituencies (blacks, Hispanics, and the affluent voters Joel Kotkin calls gentry liberals) and struggling just about everywhere else, from factory towns to high-income suburbs.

Taken together, all these maps show a Democratic Party shrinking back to its bicoastal base and a Republican Party expanding to take in most of the vast expanse of the continent.

Could the Northeast become competitive again for the GOP? They added Scott Brown and Chris Christie there last year, and at NRO, Andrew Stiles writes that there could be more this year:

Republicans suffered humbling defeats across the board in 2006 and 2008, but nowhere has the party brand taken a harsher beating in recent years than in the Northeast.

A Republican stronghold for generations, the region has become increasingly hostile territory for the GOP. The party would like nothing more than to reverse this worrisome trend, and this year presents a golden opportunity to do just that. With the national wind at their backs, Republicans have a realistic shot at capturing a handful of House seats in the Northeast, which could dramatically improve their odds of taking back Congress.

To be sure, the extent of the GOP’s recent travails in the Northeast is pretty staggering. With the defeat of Connecticut’s lone Republican Christopher Shays in 2008, Democrats now control all 22 House seats in the six-state New England region. In New York, only two of the state’s 29 seats belong to Republicans. Add in Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey, and the GOP holds just nine of 73 seats. Throw in Pennsylvania, and it becomes just 16 of 92. It’s numbers like these that had many on the left making smug declarations like — as an April 2009 Daily Kos headline put it — “The Northeast Republican [is] nearly extinct.”

Then Scott Brown happened. His stunning upset over Martha Coakley in January was a much-needed jolt of confidence for northeastern Republicans and a boon for candidate recruitment in the region. Indeed, a number of GOP candidates are seeking to model themselves after the junior senator from Massachusetts. And the political climate has only improved for the GOP since Brown’s big win. The closer it gets to Election Day, the better it seems to get for the party’s candidates across the country, and the Northeast is no exception.

Isaac Wood, House-race editor for Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball newsletter, said with Republicans poised to inflict “some pretty extreme losses” on Democrats this cycle, plenty of opportunities exist even in Democrat strongholds like the Northeast. “Republicans definitely have the wind at their back. They’ve fielded enough candidates to be competitive. They’ll be able to win in places where they might not have in a typical year,” Wood said.

Tony Blankley adds:

The German philosopher Hegel saw history as a progression of culturally dominant ideas. An original thesis, Hegel says, is followed by its antithesis, and that in turn evolves into a synthesis of both.

Applying Hegel to Lasch, I would argue that the tea party movement constitutes such an historic moment. Make no mistake. What we are witnessing is the antithesis of elite-driven greedy self-serving government debt creation, multiculturalism and soulless globalism.

The tea party movement will assert middle-class values, economic nationalism, patriotism and other concepts derided by post-modern elitists. The movement’s central tenets — small government, decentralization of power and end to profligate spending — are precisely what Lasch prescribed to restore American democracy.

The elite’s fear and loathing of the tea party movement is rooted in the recognition that the real change is only now coming. They are right to be fearful, for the ultimate outcome of the tea party’s triumph will be to constrain the elite’s economic and cultural hegemony. This reversal of fortune, with power flowing from the elites back to the middle class, will take time to fully manifest itself. But an inexorable movement has begun.

If Lasch were alive, he could write a new book, “The Revolt of the Middle Class and the Rebirth of Democracy.” Among its observations might be this: The Obama presidency is both the high watermark, and the beginning of the end, for elite multicultural materialism in America.

Which is why the next month is likely going to be exceptionally ugly, as these recent reports serve to illustrate.