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The South? Who Needs ‘Em!


That’s kind of the flavor of John Harwood’s piece in the Wall Street Journal, where he argues "Democrats’ Woes in Dixie Hurt Case for Edwards, Clark". Actually, Harwood has it wrong about the effect on the case for Clark, which mostly hinges on his ability to attract swing voters outside the south, rather than his ability to carry Arkansas or similar southern states.


But he is right about the electoral math. With the exception of Florida, Democrats need a northern, not a southern, strategy that will build on the 260 electoral votes they have captured in three successive presidential elections and extend their majority to lower midwestern, southwestern and other contested states outside the south. Of course, it’s good to be competitive in some southern states to tie up Republican resources and pick up the odd victory, but the Democrats don’t need those states. Their needs lie elsewhere and Harwood is correct to highlight this.