Polarization of Voters
Byline: Martin L. Gross, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Howard Dean's statement that the Democrats need the vote of white Southerners to win the White House - no matter how inelegantly stated - crystallizes the increasingly important alignment in American politics.
Nowhere in the political spectrum are the voting habits of any group of Americans as solid, and heartfelt, as the allegiance of blacks to the Democratic Party. This has been achieved, whether through rhetoric or deeds, mainly by the support of the Democratic Party for the very successful black revolution - a revolution that has pushed African-Americans into the mainstream of American life, much to the benefit of the nation.
But this allegiance, which gives the Democrats some 95 percent of the black vote, has unexpected ramifications, much to the detriment of the two-party system. It has strengthened racial politics, which in the long run is hurting the Democratic Party, even perhaps fatally.
This is true not only in the South, which is obvious, but in many parts of the North and West where that strong allegiance has alienated many white voters, who are beginning to perceive that blacks and other minorities are using their political power in the Democratic Party to push policies detrimental to the majority whites.
The split is not only ideological. It has important ramifications in the electoral college, the only place where votes are realistically counted. Back in 1968, Richard Nixon used his Southern strategy successfully and took six Southern states, the central core of the once-Democratic "Solid South." Today, those six states have been enlarged to 10 Southern states where the Republicans are paramount and where the Democratic Party has little chance of winning in 2004, or any time soon thereafter.
Those 10 states of the former Confederacy's 11 (Florida excluded) gives the Republicans an immediate 123 electoral votes, some 46 percent of the 270 needed for election. With certain Border states such West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, it provides a majority of the 270 needed. …