06 November 2008

Republican Geography II: Red States, Blue States

This post continues ideas explored in a post yesterday.

How many of the Republicans in the next session in Congress come from states that McCain won in 2008?

West Virginia: 1 Representative
Kentucky: 2 Senators, 4 Reresentatives
Missouri: 1 Senator, 5 Representatives
South Carolina: 2 Senators, 4 Representatives
Georgia: 1 Senator (and possibly another Senator), 7 Representatives
Tennessee: 2 Senators, 4 Representatives
Alabama: 2 Senators, 2 Representatives
Mississippi: 2 Senators, 2 Representatives
Arkansas: 1 Representative
Louisiana: 1 Senator, 6 Representatives
Texas: 2 Senators, 20 Representatives
Kansas: 2 Senators, 3 Representatives
Nebraska: 1 Senator, 3 Representatives
South Dakota: 1 Senator
North Dakota: None
Wyoming: 2 Senators, 1 Representative
Montana: 1 Representative
Arizona: 2 Senators, 3 Representatives
Utah: 2 Senators, 2 Representatives
Idaho: 2 Senators, 1 Representative
Alaska: 1 Senator (and possibly another Senator and possibly 1 Representative)

Total: 28 plus possibly 2 more Republican Senators, 70 Republican Representatives

In states Obama won, there are 12 plus possibly 1 more Republican Senators, and 105 plus possibly 5 more Republican Representatives.

The states with the most Republican members of Congress that Obama won are:

California: 19 Representatives
Florida: 1 Senator, 15 Representatives
Ohio: 1 Senator, 9 Representatives
Pennsylvania: 1 Senator, 7 Representatives
Illinois: 8 Representatives
Virginia: 1 Senator, 6 Representatives
Michigan: 7 Representatives
North Carolina: 1 Senator, 5 Representatives
Indiana: 1 Senator, 4 Representatives
New Jersey: 5 Representatives

Why bother compiling these numbers? Because they go towards identifying the ongoing historical trend of realignment.

In May of this year, a post noted that "the net decline in support for Democratic presidential candidates among white voters over the past half-century is entirely attributable to partisan change in the South."

Also notable when evaluating the impact of the current election is that there were 44 Blue Dogs (i.e. conservative Democrats) in the House prior to this election. A majority in the House is 217 votes. Democrats need about 261 votes in the House to pass legislation over the objections of the Blue Dogs. The Democrats are just shy of having a majority that large.

A post written in advance of the 2006 election notes something that was true then and remains true of the few Republicans who continue to hold federal office in the Northeast. By and large they are moderates. At the time, the post noted that:

[Maine Senator] Olympia Snowe is rated as the third most liberal Republican in the U.S. Senate by the American Conservative Union. . . The remaining Northeastern Republicans in the Senate [are] moderate Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the moderate Republican Susan Collins of Maine, and the Republican incumbents from New Hampshire, Judd Gregg and John Sununu . . . Specter is rated by the American Conservative Union as the second most liberal Republican in the U.S. Senate, after Lincoln Chafee [who is no longer a Senator]. They rate Susan Collins is the fourth more liberal Republican, coming right after third most liberal Olympia Snowe, also from Maine. Neither of New Hampshire's Republicans are particularly conservative, although Gregg is less prone to voting the party line than Sununu.

Sununu just lost his bid for re-election in 2008. Thus, there are four Republican Senators from the Northeast, including all three of the least conservative Republican Senators in the U.S. Senate, and one who leans moderate compared to his caucus.

The three moderate Republican Senators of the group are in the same political territory as independent Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who is steadily drifting to the political right, despite caucusing with the Democrats so far (Lieberman endorsed John McCain for President this year, for example), Ben Nelson, the Democratic Senator from Nebraska, Gene Taylor who is a Democratic Senator from Mississippi, Bill Nelson who is a Democratic Senator from Florida, Senator Byrd from West Virginia and Senator Landrieu from Louisiana who are also among the ranks of the most conservative Democrats in the U.S. Senate. Of these six conservatives who caucus with the Democrats, five come from states that McCain won in 2008. All other members of the Democratic caucus are more liberal than these six individuals (except Lieberman who has a moderately liberal overall voting record despite his immense symbolic estrangement from the Democratic party) and all Republicans.

There are no Republican representatives in New England, there are just three of them in New York, there are five in New Jersey, there are seven in Pennsylvania, there are two in Maryland and there is one in Delaware.

Two of the remaining three Republican Representatives from New York, McHugh and King, are exceptionally moderate for Republicans. So are four of the five remaining Republican Representatives from New Jersey (LoBiondo, Chris Smith, Ferguson, and Frelinghuysen), four of the remaining seven Republican Representatives from Pennsylvania (Gerlach, Dent, Murphy and Platts), Republican Representative Gilchrest from Maryland (one of two Republicans from the state in Congress) and Representative Castle from Delaware.

Thus, of the four Republican Senators and eighteen Republican Representatives left in the Northeast, three of the Senators and twelve of the Representatives are very moderate as Republicans go. There is just one truly conservative Republican Senator and there are just six truly conservative Republican Representatives left in the Northeast.

Republican Senator Voinovich from Ohio is another blue state Senator who has tried to put at least a little distance between himself and both President Bush and the hard core conservatives of his party. Blue State Minnesota Republican Coleman, who is currently facing a recount in his bid for re-election is also moderate as Republicans go, as are both of Alaska's Senators, one of whom is also facing a recount in the wake of his criminal convictions for fraud. The rest of the Republican caucus is more conservative. Thus, all moderate Republican Senators outside Alaska hail from states that Obama won in 2008.

The existence of these moderate Republicans from blue states is important because they make the filibuster a less potent threat than it might otherwise appear to be in a party that was completely disciplined, as the Republican party once had a reputation for being. Even if Democrats fail to secure a filibuster proof sixty vote caucus, there are several moderates in the Republican party who may be unwilling to invoke a filibuster in support of conservative causes when their party colleagues might.

There will be, at most, about seven moderate Republicans (two of whom are struggling to be re-elected this year), and about six moderates in the Democratic caucus in the U.S. Senate, who frequently break with their party. In addition to illustrating the difficulty Republicans may mount in overcoming a filibuster, however, this also illustrates that the Democratic caucus is less united than it might seem. While Senate Democrats can pass legislation without votes from any of these Democratic or Republican moderates, a threat of a filibuster that includes some conservative Democrats and all moderate Republicans can still stop a bill in the Senate.

Also, the existence and geography of moderate Republicans establish that the conservative brand of Republicanism is a Southern regional phenomena to a greater extent that mere party identification numbers (recited above) would suggest.

1 comment:

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Obama gains relative to Kerry have been particularly great (double digit percentages) in the West.