Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tim Kaine for Vice President?

Trends indicate a Democratic presidential candidate could win Virginia for the first time in 40 years, and perhaps thereby win the presidency itself. But why Virginia and why Tim Kaine for Vice President?

In what promises to be another very tight election like 2000 and 2004, the change from Republican to Democratic in just one or two states could propel Barack Obama into the White House. And that’s where Virginia’s 13 electoral votes and Governor Tim Kaine’s vice-presidential candidacy come in.

First, the South is the key that unlocks the White House door. Every winner of the Presidency from 1976 forward has carried a substantial portion of the South. For example, Ronald Reagan won the White House in 1980, because he won a significant portion of the South while running against a southerner, Jimmy Carter. In the razor-thin Democratic losses in 2000 and 2004, if Al Gore and John Kerry could have penetrated the South, they would have won. So if history is the best predictor of the future, Barack Obama needs to capture a foothold in the South.

Second, more than any other southern state, Virginia offers the greatest promise for Democratic success. Republicans have lost Virginia’s last two gubernatorial elections and the most recent senatorial election. In no other southern state has the Democratic Party done as well in recovering from the Republican Party’s domination.

Third, the latest Rasmussen Reports on the Virginia presidential election show McCain and Obama in a dead heat at 44 percent each. When the Rasmussen includes “leaners” in its poll, McCain leads Obama by a statistically insignificant margin, 48 percent to 47 percent.

Fourth, recognizing its potential for a victory in Virginia, the Obama campaign has shifted substantial resources into Virginia, including money and staff. Historically, what is the significance of this effort? No Democrat has won Virginia in a presidential race since 1964 when a southerner, Lyndon B. Johnson, carried the state. Since then no Democrat has made a serious investment of time, talent, and treasure in winning Virginia.

Fifth, Virginia’s demographics make it the most likely southern state for Obama to capture from the Republicans. The rapidly growing electorate in the Washington, DC suburbs of Northern Virginia, which is Virginia’s most Democratic-friendly region, helped to propel Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to victory in the two most recent gubernatorial contests and Jim Webb in the most recent senatorial election.

Northern Virginia had a 15 percent growth rate in its Washington, DC suburbs between 2000 and 2006. Fully one-third of all Virginians now live in these suburbs, but more than that Northern Virginia’s exurbs expanded by 60 percent since 2000. Voters moving to these areas lean Democratic.

Blacks constitute 20 percent of Virginia’s population. Because all polls show Barack Obama energizing the Black electorate, he will likely reap the dividend of a significant increase in Black voter registration and voter turnout. Typically Blacks cast 85 to 90 percent or more of their votes for Democratic candidates, but with Obama running for President that percentage could reach 95 percent or more, which would present Republicans with a formidable challenge in keeping Virginia in the win column after 40 years.

Sixth, as a popular Democratic Governor in a Republican state, Tim Kaine could not only help Barack Obama seal the deal in Virginia, but he also could help him elsewhere, especially among one of the Democratic Party’s most important constituencies, Roman Catholics. From Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal until now, Democrats have depended heavily on capturing the lion’s share of Roman Catholic voters. As a Roman Catholic in good standing, Governor Kaine holds positions on various social and moral issues that generally accord with Roman Catholic teaching.

As a Southern Governor, Tim Kaine would have the added advantage for Barack Obama, a Protestant, of balancing his ticket with a Roman Catholic running mate, who could also help Obama outside the South in such battleground states as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio, which have substantial Roman Catholic populations.

Could it be that Tim Kaine holds the key to a Barack Obama victory in November?

3 comments:

Willie the Groundskeeper said...

Bring him on.

Gov. Kaine brings nothing to Sen. Obama. Warner is going to run away with the Senate race, so if there's any need for help on the ticket, he would bring it.

Gov. Kaine has no foreign policy experience. In fact, the only issues he has to deal with as Governor of Virginia are highways and budgeting - neither of which he has been particularly successful with.

Gov. Kaine an uninspiring choice for VP that brings nothing to the ticket.

Having said that, when was the last time a Vice President helped a ticket (with the possible exception of the current president?) It's a parlor game for the pundits, but in the end if Americans will either believe that the VP candidate is able or not to be President.

I don't know if Gov. Kaine allows people to check the "qualified" box.

PROFESSOR X said...

I remember Tim Kaine alright. He promised not to raise our taxes. Just about the first week he weasled his way into office. You guessed it ... He raised Virginia's Taxes. What a shame and a scam.

Malinda Marguerite said...

I have to agree with Willie. I think Gov. Kaine is a bad choice for Obama. Even though he may have Virginia behind him, he lacks the experience that Obama needs to beef him up. A field trip to the Middle East isn't going to give him the experience he needs either.
As a resident of Northern VA, I definitely see an abundance of Obama signs. The Obama folks have been going strong since February, but McCain has surged in the summer months. His campaign hdqrts activated Northern VA and shows no signs of slowing.