Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Do Democrats have traction?

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10.50 PST: Kaine brings it home in VA 52% - 46%, which indicates that most of the polls leading up to the election underestimated his margin of victory. Perhaps undecideds broke for Kaine, or Republican turnout fell sharply... although I'm not sure what could have been the cause. Good news also in California, my home away from home, with parental notification for a minor's abortion being voted down (the state shouldn't legislate to safeguard family rights when there are so many abusive familial pressures potentially placed on a child in that predicament), along with all of the Governator's initiatives. I like Arnie and feel bad because I sincerely believe he's trying to bring about change. Voting for Democrats in the state legislature in California is invariably like voting for Jimmy Hoffa.

5.14 PST: We find out tonight if the Democratic Party has gained traction since 2004. Politics might be local, but local politics has exhibited national trends leaning in the direction of the Republican Party for the past three years. Inspite of Doug Forrester's brutal last minute attack advertisements I believe Jon Corzine will win by at least 5 points in New Jersey. The race in Virginia will be a far more insightful indiciator about what is currently possible for Democrats looking ahead to the 2006 midterms.

You can prejudge tonight's result from two perspectives. Democratic candidate, Tim Kaine is against the death penalty, Virginia is a red State, only second to Texas in the number of executions it has carried out, and Jerry Kilgore, former VA Attorney General should be winning comfortably. By the same token, Tim Kaine is riding the coat tails of popular Democratic Governor, Mark Warner, and his impressive platform has negated the political impact of his personal feelings on the Death Penalty. Kaine: "I'm Catholic - I'm against the Death Penalty and I'm against Abortion."

Having watched their debate a couple of weeks ago on C-Span when Kilgore enjoyed a small lead it was obvious that Kaine had the capacity to close the gap, regardless of changing national trends. To me at least (and I am certainly not a typical Virginian voter) Kaine is smiling, warm, direct and authentic, plus perfectly placed in terms of his experience. Kilgore, by contrast, isn't an impressive candidate.

The White House have gambled that their last minute support of Kilgore will be the final boost his campaign required. Either that or internal tracking polls showed a solid Republican swing that allowed the President to tip his hand. Regardless, because of his decision to get involved this race really will be a measure of where the President currently stands with the American electorate. The key question: Will Republican turnout be strong, the consistent factor in all of their recent, closely fought election victories?

Prediction: Corzine 5%, Kaine 1%.

N.B. Nothing is more important right now to the Democratic Party than winning in 2006.

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