We can certainly cut Arizona and Alaska some slack. But let's take a look at just the increase in the Republican vote.
Obama surged over Kerry everywhere in the U.S. except the Deep South: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Appalachia Kentucky and West Virgina. That's where the Republican message has taken root apparently over the past four years: in the Deep South.
This is the sad culmination of almost 40 years of a strategy that locked in the Southern vote by appealing to the worst the South had to offer.
To be sure, the Republican party isn't a racist party; it simply houses and accepts them. Or at least, it did when it was electorally beneficial. Just now, after a stunning defeat in the modern equivalient of a landslide, will the Republicans begin to ask themselves the tough questions.
Some already have. Conservative columnist David Brooks wondered if Sarah Palin represented a "fatal cancer to the Republican party." The Palin pick is only a sympton of a much greater problem. Peggy Noonan, author of Patriotic Grace, called it, "political bullshit." Now, she had to apoligize, but she's 100% correct, and it seems like she was actually quite the soothsayer in that now conservatives are left wondering what happen when the answer is perfectly clear:
The Republican party became the party of anti-ideas. This is embodied in the Southern strategy that Republicans adopted that now lies in ruins at the feet of a Democratic majority. But it goes beyond simply racial coding and "family values" politicking.
In a conversation with Fresh Air's Terry Gross, Former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards expressed as much. A great interview, Edwards suggests that in order to win elections the Republican party demonized people with education, the media, and tried to paint itself as the party of the everyman; I believe it was "Joe Sixpack" and then "Joe the Plumber" in 2008.
But really, that map is all you need to see to know what the Republican strategy has been over the past few decades and why that strategy has come crashing down as America moves forward.
Frankly, once again David Brooks once again expresses it best in a column outlining the class warfare that the Republican party has been playing for decades:
But over the past few decades, the Republican Party has driven away people who live in cities, in highly educated regions and on the coasts. This expulsion has had many causes. But the big one is this: Republican political tacticians decided to mobilize their coalition with a form of social class warfare. Democrats kept nominating coastal pointy-heads like Michael Dukakis so Republicans attacked coastal pointy-heads.Over the past 15 years, the same argument has been heard from a thousand politicians and a hundred television and talk-radio jocks. The nation is divided between the wholesome Joe Sixpacks in the heartland and the oversophisticated, overeducated, oversecularized denizens of the coasts. ...
[Palin] is another step in the Republican change of personality. Once conservatives admired Churchill and Lincoln above all — men from wildly different backgrounds who prepared for leadership through constant reading, historical understanding and sophisticated thinking. Now those attributes bow down before the common touch.And so, politically, the G.O.P. is squeezed at both ends. The party is losing the working class by sins of omission — because it has not developed policies to address economic anxiety. It has lost the educated class by sins of commission — by telling members of that class to go away.