Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Gay marriage and the ground game

Did Bush win by heating up the culture war, by demonizing the "other," by using the wedge issue of gay marriage?

Joseph Knippenberg argues that in trying to win the election Bush was not out to demonize anyone, as many on the Left claim. Bush is, in fact, in the broad middle ground of the American political scene.   

Discussions - 2 Comments

The main problem with this analysis is that many of the initiatives in question also outlaw civil unions, which (as far as I understand public opinion polling) really are supported by the "broad middle ground."

I’ve listed below, the 11 Gay Marriage Ban states, with their respective Electoral College value in parentheses. Likewise, some post-election analsysis.


Arkansas (6): Bush won 54/45. Also carried it in 2000. Ban on gay marriages carried 75/25. Of course, Clinton carried this state in 1996. Yet, given Gore’s inability to win it in 2000, I think safe to say it was in Bush’s column, and not a "battleground" state.

Georgia (15): Like Kerry stood a chance. Clinton’s win in 1992 is the only Democrat to win it since Jimmy Carter. Regardless, Bush carried 58/41. Gay marriage ban passed 76/24. Still, not seeing it as a battleground state.

Kentucky (8): 60/40 Shrub. Gay marriage ban passed 75/25. Despite Demo wins in 92/96, the 20pt win by Shrub hardly classifieds this as a battleground state.

Michigan (17): Kerry wins 51/48. Republicans haven’t won here since 88, but the talking heads thought Shrub had a chance, classifying it as a battleground state. Gay marriage ban passed 59/41.

Mississippi (6): Carter is the only Democrat to have won this state since Kennedy (Even Goldwater carried it in ’64!). Clearly not a battleground state, given Shrub’s 60/40 win. GMB passed 86/14.

Montana (3): Has voted Demo once since 1964 (Clinton, ’92). Clearly in Shrub’s column, 59/39. GMB passed 67/33. But wait -- what’s this?? Those crazy evangelical Montana-ites passed medical marijuana 62/38! Not a battleground state (are you noticing a pattern here?)

N. Dakota (3): 63% slamdunk for Shrub. GMB passed 73/27. FDR was the last Democrat to carry it (1936). No battles here, either.

Ohio (20): Clearly a battleground state. Exit polls show Shrub carrying 16% of the Black vote, as well as gaining 2% over his 2000 numbers of those who are self-described "liberals"

Oklahoma (7): Has gone for the R’s every election since voting for LBJ in 64. 66/34 for shrub, GMB passed 76/24. Not a battleground state.

Oregon (7): 52/48 Kerry. Reagan was the last Republican to win it (84). Clearly in Kerry’s column, GMB passed 57/43. Medical Marijuana went down even worse, 58/42. Not a battleground state.

Utah (5): LBJ was the last Democrat to carry Utah. Shrub won 71/27, GMB passed 66/34. Not a battleground state.

I’m just curious about one thing: If Rove’s strategy was to galvanize the religious right to vote against gay marriages, and while at the polls, vote for Shrub, why was the initiative in only one -- at most (arguably, see Michigan) two -- battleground states.

Why did he waste so much time getting this initiative on the ballots in states that were clearly going Republican (and in the case of Oregon, clearly a Demo State), with so few Electoral votes at stake. Minus MI and OH, the other 9 GMB states total 60 EV’s. Why wasn’t it on the ballot in other "battleground" states?

Why not in Pennsylvania, which Kerry won by about an equal margin as Bush did in Ohio. Why not New Hampshire, which was clearly in play (Kerry won by less than 10,000 votes, and Shrub won in 2000).

Why not in Iowa, where Shrub won by only 7 thousand votes. Iowa’s 7 electoral votes surely were more important than 5 of the GMB states who have less than seven Electoral Votes, and at least just as important as 2 other GMB states that also have 7 EV’s.

Or New Mexico, where Shrub won by only 8 thousand votes. NM’s 5 electoral votes should have been more important than the three EV’s that 2 of the GMB states had.

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