George W. Bush’s Blue Thumb

For the last several months there have been warning signs that November is going to be bad for the GOP. Throughout the primary season, Democratic candidates have been enjoying record press coverage, record fundraising and record turnout. Some have put the lack of Republican enthusiasm down to the fact that McCain has just now become the candidate of choice for the party. I don’t buy it. is reporting that John McCain raised a mere $11.7 million dollars in January when he was locked in a race with four other Republicans. But in February after he had been declared the winner, his totals actually decreased to $11 million. In comparison Barack Obama raised $55 million in February, the highest monthly total by any candidate in any contested primary, while Clinton brought in a staggering $35 million. And now there is even more bad news for the GOP.

Confirming fears that Americans are moving away from the policies of the Bush Administration’s pseudo-conservatism, comes new Pew poll results:

“The balance of party identification in the American electorate now favors the Democratic Party by a decidedly larger margin than in either of the two previous presidential election cycles.

In 5,566 interviews with registered voters conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press during the first two months of 2008, 36% identify themselves as Democrats, and just 27% as Republicans.”

But perhaps the most startling information contained in the report are the numbers of independent voters who have swung Democratic. Of the 37% who claim no party identification, a full 15% lean Democratic, 10% lean Republican and 12% do not lean either way. Pew suggests that in 2004 the numbers of independents that leaned one way or the other was about equal.

The Pew report illustrates its findings with several tell-tale graphs. Here we see the percentage of voters from North Carolina that identify themselves with each party. Perhaps not surprisingly, North Carolina’s blue leaning population seems to be dramatically increasing, perhaps due to the large influx of Hispanic and white collar voters that have migrated to the state from outside. Historically, North Carolina has seen fit to elect Democrats on the state and local level but always ends up red in the general election. For the first time in decades, this may be changing.

No matter what happens in North Carolina this November, it does seem increasingly clear that the country is decidedly moving to the left. Like some political Johnny Appleseed, George W. Bush has spent the last eight years unknowingly sewing the seeds of a return to progressiveness. Thanks to the never ending war, a weakening economy, increased government spending & spying, GOP corruption, the rising cost of health care and much more, 2008 could turn out to be a bumper crop for Democrats. If they don’t manage to screw things up first.