One of the more promising aspects of the GOP victories in 2000 and 2004 was the surprising coincidence of the fastest growing counties in the country voting for the GOP. These true progressives perhaps sensed that their economic and familial interests were better protected by a conservative party in power. Bush won something like 97 of the fastest 100 growing counties in 2000. Of course, after the routs in 06 and 08 much of this was forgotten. Just ask Sam Tanenhaus, who still defends his little book.
Michael Barone's recent piece on the Britsh elections suggest that this particular dynamic may have been at work and that it bodes well for further Tory gains. He notes the following:
Brown managed to rally his party's ancient base in factory towns and its more recent base among ethnic minorities and immigrants. But the middle-income suburban seats Blair won are almost all gone, and without them the party has no hope of a majority. In southern England and the Midlands, the majority and more prosperous part of the country, Conservatives won 224 parliamentary seats and Labor only 87.
Certain commentators have observed that the country party/court party dynamic may be a better way to think about our current politics. The country party consists of those who are on the inside and stand reasonably prosperous but are largely not in ruling circles of law, finance, business, government, etc. To be sure, philosophical polarities amongst conservatives and liberals remain, but may not be the best way to explain our current situation. The Tory success in the economically surging parts of Britain while Labor cobbled together a coalition of minority voters and denizes of the old manufacturing age, as well as many elderly citizens, can't bode well for that party's future. One wonders if we will see the return of a similar dynamic this fall and in 2012 in America. It seems likely that the parts of America that are growing will not entrust their future to an Obama dominated party. Also of note in the British elections were the Tory failures to improve their standing in some of the wealthies parts of England. This occurred despite slick marketing efforts made by Cameron. They probably would have been better off reaching to the outsiders who voted for the UK Independence Party.
This same dynamic seems obvious in our country. The conservative electorate and the tea partiers seem willing to change a lot of seats, mostly Democrat, but also entrenched GOP incumbents like Sen. Bennett of Utah. The coalition isn't Bob at the hedge fund and Joe the plumber. It is something very different, more stable, and a better trade off.