GOP Rock Star from Alaska
“There's clearly a new political landscape forming in the U.S. That's what the polls are telling us. It's not just that the first major-party black candidate for President is leading by significant margins in the national polls; it's not just that North Dakota, a state George W. Bush won in 2004 by 64%, is believed to be "in play"; it's not just that Virginia which, like North Dakota, was last carried by a Democrat in the sweep year of 1964, is, according to the most recent Washington Post poll and others, in the Obama camp by at least 8 points, or that he's leading in a remarkable number of states Bush took in 2004, or even that Democratic Senate and House candidates are making a run of it in previously ridiculous places.
Consider, instead, three recent polls in the context of the Bush years. Obama and McCain are now in a "statistical dead heat" among born-again evangelicals, those Rovian foot soldiers of two successful Bush elections, according to a recent survey; and the same seems to be true in Sarah Palin's "real America," those rural and small town areas she's praised to the skies. According to a poll commissioned by the Center for Rural Strategies, in those areas which Bush won in 2004 by 53%-41%, Obama now holds a statistically insignificant one point lead. To complete this little trifecta, Gallup has just released a poll showing that Jews are now likely to vote for Obama by a more than 3 to 1 majority (74% to 22%).
If present projections come close to holding, this could prove to be a rare reconfiguring or turning-point election—as Wall Street expert Steve Fraser first suggested might be possible at TomDispatch way back in February 2007. If so, the Republican Party, only recently besotted by dreams of a generational Pax Republicana, might find itself driven back into the deep South and deep West for who knows how long, "an extremist rump, reduced to a few stronghold states and obsessed with causes that seem not to matter to the general public."