Nope, I’m not leaving – but the Democrats are leaving you.
As I often do in the afternoon I was listening to Rush Limbaugh when he cited an article by Thomas F. Schaller. Writing on Salon.com, Schaller’s article entitled “So long, white boy” talks about how the Democrat party is finally starting to abandon its appeals to the “NASCAR dads”; you know, the ones whose daddy was a Democrat but they turned away from the party when the Democrats began questioning the NASCAR dads’ passion about God, guns, and country. Schaller puts it this way:
Start looking on milk cartons for Bubba because he has vanished, and not a moment too soon: The Democratic obsession with the down-home, blue-collar, white male voter, that heartbreaker who crossed the aisle to the Republicans many decades ago, may finally be coming to a merciful end.
The first thing that gets you is the tone. Schaller seems to relish the thought of those redneck men leaving the Democrat party – let the GOP have those stupid God-fearing NASCAR fans with their pickup trucks and the gun racks, those HICKS. They don’t outweigh the black vote that we get 90% of anyway and we really want the Latino vote because their population is growing. Apparently the only white guys Democrats want are the union members, but that number is shrinking too except for those who inhabit government positions and that group pretty much knows which side its bread is buttered on.
It got me to thinking about local politics. Here in Wicomico County, we have the situation where a lot of Democrats fit in one way or another into the group Schaller disdains in his piece. Accordingly, many of them are registered Democrat but in the privacy of the voting booth vote GOP or at least split the ticket, maybe voting Democrat for the downticket races and GOP statewide. As I see it, many Democrats here are what remains of the old-fashioned Southern Democrat – for the common working man and with a love of God, guns, and country. As Schaller said, most crossed to the GOP decades ago but many here still hang on despite the state- and national-level party abandoning them to seek an anti-religious, anti-Second Amendment, anti-Long War base – in other words, the academic and effete snobs of the world.
That crossover to the GOP is reflected in voter registration statistics. Here are the Wicomico County and state voter registration numbers for January 2000:
- 20,873 Democrats
- 14,911 Republicans
- 4,648 non-affiliated
State of Maryland:
- 1,478,881 Democrats
- 765,999 Republicans
- 320,347 non-affiliated
Now here’s the latest numbers (August 2007) available from the state Board of Elections. Actually, the local rolls were purged after July so both parties lost several hundred voters.
- 22,473 Democrats (up 7.67% from 1-00)
- 18,471 Republicans (up 23.87% from 1-00)
- 6,868 unaffiliated (up 47.76% from 1-00)
State of Maryland:
- 1,714,431 Democrats (up 15.93% from 1-00)
- 884,963 Republicans (up 15.53% from 1-00)
- 437,806 non-affiliated (up 36.67% from 1-00)
The GOP and non-affilated growth locally outpaces the state’s numbers while the Democrats lag behind. Already in Wicomico County the unaffiliated voter is the kingmaker and both parties strive to appeal to them because neither party can get a majority on its own. However, I’d prefer the Democrats just go right ahead and come on over to the GOP because your party has left you. Does Hillary Clinton really represent your views? And as you can see the Democrat party, home of our tax-and-spend Governor O’Malley, is growing faster elsewhere in Maryland so the old-style Democrats on the Eastern Shore are seeing their party influence dwindle.
In sum, Schaller’s piece just says out loud what many area Democrats have already suspected – the Democrat party is saying so long to its faithful on the Eastern Shore. Maybe it’s time for you to say goodbye to them as well.
(Late edit: the final date for switching party registration is November 19 for the February 2008 primary.)
Crossposted on RedMaryland.