Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Sad Fact

I mentioned this over at Oliver Willis' place, but it is, sadly, worth repeating.

Who was the last Democratic presidential candidate to win over half (over 50 %) of the popular vote?

Jimmy Carter in 1976.

It's been over 30 years since a Democratic presidential candidate has won a majority of the popular vote.

Since then, Republicans have won 4 elections with more than 50 percent of the popular vote (Reagan twice, Bush Sr. in 1988, and Bush Jr. in 2004). Clinton's "landslide" in 1996 was the result of 49.2 % of the vote -- again, not a majority! In 1992, Clinton won with only 43 %, thanks to Perot. I'm glad Clinton won both elections, but he never won a majority of the votes cast.

I happen to think that, in a 2 party system, not getting a majority of the vote for over 30 years is a problem for Democrats. Others may not find it a problem, but I do.

How we address it is a matter upon which opinions can differ, but stating that it's an important issue is not bashing Democrats. It's a fact.

This was in response to the hyperventilation about Obama mentioning vote percentages. It's pretty hard to read what he said as an "attack" on any past candidate--though it is a good thing to point out in regards to Hillary Clinton. She has a large chunk of the electorate who now say they won't vote for her. I certainly agree with Oliver Willis that the reaction was more about what the writers thought about Obama than about what Obama said.

Regardless of how you feel about Obama, it's a sobering trivia fact that can really stuns many of my fellow Democrats when I riddle them: The last Dem to win over half the vote was Carter over thirty years ago. Republicans have done it 4 time since then.


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