« Adopting Ginny Schrader | Main | Apartment Hunting »

Friday, July 30, 2004

Kerry & Edwards Embark on Swing State Bus Tour

Posted by DavidNYC

Kerry & Edwards are hitting the ground running: Starting today, the Dems are going on a 21-state, 40-city bus tour that will last two weeks. Naturally, they're visiting all the major swing states, starting with Pennsylvania (hey, maybe he'll visit Ginny Schrader), West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan. I haven't been able to find an actual calendar on the (redesigned?) Kerry site, so if you find a link, please post it here. Bush, by the way, is also on a similar tour, but I have to believe the momentum is with Kerry right now. We are now acting, and the GOP is reacting.

One related note: The NYT's David Stout does something remarkably un-whorish in his article. Check this out:

Meanwhile, Mr. Bush ended his vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., and wasted no time in contrasting his platform to that of the Democrats, telling a campaign rally in Missouri: "They're going to raise your taxes, and we're not."

Mr. Kerry said Thursday night that he would roll back the tax cuts Mr. Bush enacted, but only for those earning more than $200,000 a year. (Emphasis added.)

By juxtaposing these two points right next to one another, Stout is basically saying that Bush is wildly exaggerating. It's a lot more compelling than the usual reportorial he-said/she-said because Stout doesn't go to some "Kerry campaign spokesman" for a weak-kneed rebuttal. Rather, he essentially quotes a Kerry policy plank, which is much more powerful. I'm not about to declare renewed faith in the media, but the fact that Stout conveyed this information honestly to his readers - and didn't bury it in the 20th paragraph - speaks very well of him. I also think it means we're getting better at getting our message out, though of course, it's a little bit easier when you have a massive convention by which to do it.

Of course, it's also very possible that Bush was addressing a crowd made up entirely of elite fat cats - his "base" as he famously called `em - in which case his remarks would have been exactly right.

Posted at 03:08 PM in General | Technorati


It's good to see a journalist actually counterbalancing slogans with, well..the truth. I'm not sure why journalists seem to be increasingly passive conduits for talking points, rather than actively questioning the substance of the claims.

I guess it's a shortsighted attempt at "fairness" or neutrality, where they simply relay opposing parties' arguments, and let the audience decide where the truth lies. You'd think the flaws in this approach would be obvious, though...

It's USA Today's fault! Their whole point-counterpoint format is a lousy cop-out...."The Holocaust was bad." "No, it wasn't."

Not all opinions and self-serving claims are supported by actual facts, but debunking them would of course require a journalist to go out on a limb...do research and make independent determinations of truth. So much easier to simply find a mouth to explain the counterpoint.

Posted by: Nim at July 31, 2004 09:59 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Swing State Math - the Importance of the Believe in America Tour in OH

I've had a bad realization this morning. Because Gore won 266 of the necessary 270 electoral votes in 2000, I had been under the assumption that Kerry needed only to defend all the Gore states and pick up any other state (all the bush states had at least 4 electoral votes). My personal favorites are NH and NV.

So I was staring at that map on http://www.race2004.net/ .. I had taken their 253 blue (kerry) votes and started adding in the green (swing) states that I thought were most likely to go JK. IA was the only state that went gore in 2000 so I added that one in first, then I added in NH (4) and NV (5).

And I was left with 269. Gulp! How could that be? I scoured the map looking for a green or red state that had gone gore.. but there wasn't one. My math had given JK not one, but two states the dems had lost in 2000 and he was still short one frustrating electoral vote.

Finally it settled in. That 55 in CA isn't the 54 I remember from 2000. More importantly, that 31 in NY used to be 33, that 21 in PA used to be 23, that 17 in MI used to be 18.. if you count it all up the gore states that gave him 266 votes (267 if DC had voted its full allotment) are only worth 260 this year because the 2000 census is in effect for the first time in a presidential election.

so it was true that 2000 could have been won at the margins - with a NH or a NV or an AR.. but in 2004 it really will take the turnover of a big swing state: FL, OH, MO, TN(?) and I find this disconcerting. We gotta find 10 on the board, not just 4.

Posted by: Patrick McManus at July 31, 2004 11:00 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Patrick, This is something that has disconcerted me since they did the last census. I call it a case of the "Sunbelt Blues." The trend has been that with the exception of largely Democratic California (gaining) and Republican Ohio (losing), the population shifts in states most definitely favor the Republicans in terms of electoral votes.

The states losing population and electoral votes are mostly in the Northeast and the Great Lakes region. These two regions are generally Democratic strongholds. States gaining population and electoral votes are mostly in the Republican South and West: North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and California are the big winners. The big losers over the past 30 years are Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois.

I remember back in the 70's, for example, when New York and Illinois had 68 electoral votes between them. Now they only have 52 electoral votes combined--a loss of 16!

Posted by: Pepe at July 31, 2004 12:27 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The shift in electoral votes has also concerned me, but it won't matter. We're going to win anyway. I'm beginning to harbor thoughts of a blowout.

Has anybody seen the media reaction to Alexandia Kerry's hampster story in her introduction speech? Hilarious! It's the type of thing that will endear Kerry to millions and could swing the election for him. I love the thought of Bush and his Republican attack dogs being beaten soundly by a hampster! Poetic just in my mind. LOL

Posted by: Randy at July 31, 2004 01:56 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I wish I could have an outlook as sanguine as yours, Randy, but I think this election is going down to the wire. Nothing is a given. The presidential debates should be interesting--that's when most of the toss up states will start to definitely lean one way or the other, and that's when I will start taking the polls more seriously. Until then, it's entirely up in the air in well over a dozen states. I still maintain the three states to watch this election are Missouri, Ohio and Florida. If Kerry can transfer any one of them to his column, he will be our next president. If he doesn't, I'm afraid we're stuck with another four years of Bush.

Posted by: Pepe at July 31, 2004 02:51 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


Kerry actually probably needs 11 or 12 electoral votes to be assured of winning. If he ends up at 270, the Repugnacans will do everything they can to "persuade" one of the 270 to abstain, and throw it into the house. I hope the Kerry campaign is vetting the electors better than Gore did (when 1 DC elector abstained)

Posted by: science at July 31, 2004 04:57 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'm just feeling really good about things right now Pepe. I also think the debates will be important, but does anyone think that Bush can hold his own against Kerry? I also think that Missouri, Ohio and Florida are the keys. Believe Kerry will win one or two of them. I'm a little worried about some states that I'd like to take for granted. Iowa and Minnesota should not be tied right now. I'm worried that they are. Kerry has to win them. He also has to win Wisconsin and Michigan. I think he will. Then something tells me that Missouri will guarantee the win. Missouri always picks the winner! I expect Kerry to begin pulling away there, much the way he did recently in PA. We'll see. I am opptimistic because I believe that all Kerry has to do is be an acceptable alternative to Bush. He did way more than that at the convention, IMHO.

Posted by: Randy at July 31, 2004 09:52 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


1. At 270 v 268 there would need to be two abstainers to tie it

2. The DC elector abstained as a protest for DC; she would not have abstained if it affected the outcome

Posted by: anon at July 31, 2004 09:57 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I agree with much of what you write, Randy. I am more cautious in my optimism since I remember how certain I felt that Gore would defeat Bush in the last election. Granted, that one was a most unusual election, but I had complete confidence all along that Gore was going to win. Talk about falling down the rabbit hole and finding myself in Alice's Wonderland with everything upside down!

I do believe it will be extremely difficult for Bush to hold onto Florida, Ohio, AND Missouri. No Republican has ever been elected president without winning the Buckeye State, so I'd LOVE to see Ohio turn blue in November. Right now I believe it's impossible to predict the outcome in any one of the three, and it could be that way all the way to Election Day.

Despite the current polls, I'm more worried about Iowa than I am Minnesota. I also hope that the Kerry team does not take Michigan for granted. I do believe it will remain blue, but it might prove much more closely contested than the polls are showing. Again, we'll get a better picture from the polls in the battle ground states once the debates commence.

However, I don't agree that all Kerry has to do is "be an acceptable opponent to Bush." Kerry will be shooting himself in the foot if he relies on that to win the presidency. The coveted and all-important undecided voters will want more than that in exhange for their votes--which is why they still remain undecided, no?

Kerry just has to be true to himself and give the American people honest, straightforward answers. If he does this, the big prize is likely (hopefully!) to be his.

Posted by: pepe at July 31, 2004 10:31 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

You have to take into consideration that the election in 2000 occurred before Bush proved himself to be one of the worst presidents in history. Only a few more than half of us could see it at that time! There has to be enough people in each state who voted for Bush in 2000 whose judgement is not so clouded that they will vote for this bozo again, if Kerry is an acceptable alternative. I believe that he took a resounding first step toward proving that he is MORE THAN acceptable last Thursday. I think he will continue to build on that and that is why I'm harboring thoughts of a blowout in November. It's going to be one hell of a celebration where I live!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Randy at August 1, 2004 01:07 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Anon--at 270-268, only one abstainer would send it to the House (A 269-268-1 result means nobody gets a majority, which is required for election).

Posted by: science at August 1, 2004 05:49 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I don't see how there could be an abstention in a race that close?!? There would be a huge uproar, especially after the way 2000 was contested.

Posted by: Rock_nj at August 1, 2004 07:52 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

No Democratic elector will throw the election into the House in a 270-268 situation (Kerry=Gore+NH+AR or Kerry=Gore+FL+NH-PA), because Kerry would almost certainly lose in the House. Perhaps if Bush wins 270-268 (Kerry=Gore+NH+WV-ME2 or Kerry=Gore+FL+NH-IA-ME2-NM-WI or Kerry=Gore+NH+OH+WV-PA) and if the Republicans keep the Senate, we could see a faithless Republican elector. In that case, an abstention by a Bush elector (or a vote for Cheney for Prez and Bush for VP, as the faithless WV elector did in 1988) would draw attention to Electoral College reform but wouldn't change the election results because the Republicans would still control the House state delegations and the Senate.

In any event, I give less than a 2% combined chance of a 268-270, 269-269, or 270-268 result.

Posted by: Ben Schak at August 1, 2004 11:35 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Just wanted to add a comment about the electoral shift to the south and west. I was worried about this a few years ago, but having since become one of the transplants (NY to NC) I don't believe it is all bad. I think this shift will "soften" some of the red states. I know for me, my location has changed and not my politics. I will grant you, most of those who have moved are not the staunchest of democrats, but they won't be staunch republicans either. They are willing to listen to both sides and are therefore a large demographic thats moveable.

Posted by: Jason-Charlotte at August 2, 2004 09:35 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment