Realignment

After a primary this long and divisive, it's pretty amazing that Obama is still up by seven points in Virginia and by nine in Ohio. Assuming he keeps the Kerry states – and with the possible exception of New Hampshire I think that's a pretty safe bet – this adds up to a pretty easy win. What's more, Brendan Nyhan suggests that polls this early on are actually pretty good at predicting the end result, which is very encouraging indeed. The internals are more interesting still. SurveyUSA compared different VP picks for Obama and McCain, and every Obama pick reduced his margin of victory or resulted in a loss – except John Edwards. Indeed, Edwards guaranteed a double-digit victory in Ohio and an at least nine-point one in Virginia (against Pawlenty, Obama wins both by 18-points!). I still want to see numbers for Wes Clark and Jim Webb, and a lot of this is no doubt due to Edwards' higher name recognition, but all the still, it's a powerful argument for choosing him, despite his expressed disinterest. Neil the Ethical Werewolf is excited, as well he should be.
The idea of Obama being the first Democrat since 1964 to win Virginia is pretty awesome, but I'm beginning to think the whole election could be like that. Obama is currently up in Colorado and Indiana, and within striking distance in Alaska, Arizona, Montana, North Carolina North Dakota, South Carolina, and Texas. If he wins even half of those states, that's a Democratic landslide unheard of in recent memory, and a powerful mandate for his first-term agenda.
And it's not just the presidency – take a look at the Senate races. It's basically a given at this point that we'll make gains in New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Virginia – Shaheen, Udall, and Warner are up by so much that there's basically no question there. Alaska and Colorado aren't sure things, but Begich and Udall (the other one) certainly have the upper hand. That's a 56 seat majority right there. If the toss-ups in Minnesota and Oregon go our way, that's 58. But three new and totally unexpected toss-ups have emerged recently. Suddenly, polls have Ronnie Musgrove beating or even with Roger Wicker in Mississippi, Kay Hagen giving Elizabeth Dole a run for her money in North Carolina, and Rick Noriega in a dead heat with John "I'd Kill Judges Too" Cornyn in Texas. That's a 61 seat majority. Harry Reid could expel Joe Lieberman from the caucus and still have a filibuster-proof majority. What's more, of these candidates, only Musgrove is really to the right of the party. The rest are probably reliable votes for universal health care, withdrawal from Iraq, and fully auctioned cap & trade – the three policy goals Obama's first term will be devoted to. Of Democrat seats, only Mary Landrieu in Louisiana looks vulnerable, and she's up by double digits. And, who knows, maybe Lunsford will make a race of it in Kentucky, or Allen in Maine, or Kleeb in Nebraska, and the majority will be even more massive.
The point is that while a 1964-style landslide in the presidential race and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate aren't likely, they're certainly within reach. 2008 has the potential to be an election like 1980 or 1932 in which the old electoral map and party divisions are thrown by the wayside and a new majority is established. In 1932, FDR single-handedly destroyed the Gilded Age and ushered in 20 uninterrupted years of Democratic control of the presidency, and 36 in which a conservative didn't make it (no, Ike, you don't count). In 1980, Reagan single-handedly moved the American political spectrum sharply to the right, leading to 28 years during which only a centrist Democrat could get elected to the White House, and to the first period since the '50s of Republican control of the House. In 2008, I think Obama could accomplish a similar feat.

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