There was a time that I remember well when much of the talk about national elections focused on the challenge the Democrats traditionally faced in their inability to gain traction in the South. Remember how it was assumed that in order to win the White House Democrats would have to choose either a presidential or vice-presidential candidate from that region of the country? Folks thought there was no other path to victory for the Democrats. I actually found it rather amusing.
Then along came Obama/Biden.
Sure, they won North Carolina. But they would have managed a decisive victory even without it.
Now those folks who are so in love with conventional wisdom talk all the time about how Democrats can't win without the "Rust Belt" - states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. There's probably some truth to that. Its hard to imagine a win if President Obama loses all three of those states.
But we also need to remember that the political landscape is changing...fast. I talked about that a bit yesterday when it comes to the rural areas of the Great Plains. And now, as the Obama campaign has been suggesting all along, states like Arizona might be in play. That's a result of both demographic changes and a possible backlash to their draconian immigration law (the history in California for Republican Governor Pete Wilson and Prop 187 might have been instructive).
I myself have been watching for over a year now for signs that my home state of Texas might turn blue. They are now the 4th state in the country to have a minority white population (following Hawaii, California and New Mexico). Its precisely why Gov. Perry got himself into so much hot water with national Republicans for having to provide in-state tuition to immigrant students in order to win a tight election in that state.
We're going to see more and more transitions like that as the demographic changes take hold. Its not going to be pretty - the old white guard is going to fight back with a vengeance. But that's simply because they know their days are numbered.