"Purple" status of many Dem districts leads them to vote with GOP

Interesting article from the CSMonitor.

Despite the partisan saber- rattling on Capitol Hill, a significant number of votes in the GOP-controlled House are passing with broad Democratic support.

It’s a trend that surprises analysts who have noticed the numbers, and it hints at a structural advantage for the GOP as it presses its agenda heading into 2006 elections.

Call it purple power. Although Republican control of the House of Representatives is narrow - a margin of just 30 seats out of 435 total - some 20 percent of House Democrats come from districts that President Bush carried in 2004. Only 8 percent of Republicans come from districts carried by Sen. John Kerry in the presidential vote. In a landscape where most districts are clearly red (Republican) or blue (Democrat), these purple areas represent seats that could be vulnerable.

Hadn’t occurred to me that the profile of the House would be that much different from the Senate in this regard, but of course another factor is that the 6-year Senate terms mean only a third are focussed on the upcoming election at any given time.

The popular vote by Congressional District:

Bush: 255

Kerry:180

Well, this is really no different than what I have long tried to point out. Namely, that many traditionally democratic distrcts are populated by more conservative electorates and their locally elected representatives often reflect that (or safely could without fear of voter retribution). In state houses and the Congressional House of Reps, that translates into Democratic politicans who vote in favor of things like pro-life legislation. Indeed, they are often crucial votes in either getting good legislation passed through the body or blocking bad proposals. Similarly, there are not a few Republicans from more liberal districts who don’t stand with us on such issues. The political landscape really isn’t so black and white (or should I say red and blue) as some would like to make it out to be. Much of the party politics makeup has more to do with practical cultural and historical realities than some sort of defined ideology. As the saying goes “All politics is local.”

The differenciation when it comes to statewide races, such as for Senate, Governor, and President is more due to factors like the leanings or concerns of the statewide electorate, voter turnout, candidate attractiveness, and (to the greatest and most disconcerting degree) the involvement of money in funding necessarily expensive political campaigns.

So, indeed, one should not merely judge what is essentially a matter of many local and state party organizations just by the Senate and Presidential candidates.

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