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NYT: Shifting Population Causes More Races to Focus on National Issues

By    |   Monday, 16 June 2014 01:19 PM

Population shifts have caused more political races to focus on national, rather than local or regional, issues, The New York Times reported.

The Times said an influx of new residents "is bringing nationalized politics to races further down the ballot. It was these new arrivals, more than any other voters, who most crucially rejected two influential Republican incumbents — the House majority leader, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, and Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi — in primaries this month, upending long-held assumptions about the appeal of traditional levers of power."

New developments in Mississippi's DeSoto County and counties surrounding Richmond, Virginia, helped conservative challengers to the two incumbents, the Times said.

Voters, who have moved to the area from someplace else and don't share roots in a community, might not know about the record of their elected officials. Instead, the Times says, voters are becoming informed by cable television, talk radio and the Internet.

"They don’t know who the heck Thad [Cochran] is,"  Republican strategist Karl Rove told the Times, referring to Mississippi’s newly arrived voters. "There is no 40-year history with him, knowing that this is the guy who built up the state’s modern Republican Party. The same with Eric [Cantor], people who have just gotten to Richmond don’t even know what the House of Delegates is, let alone that he served there."

New residents had high voter turnout and in both of these races, they were looking for a candidate who would stand up to President Barack Obama's policies, according to the Times.

For example, even though Cochran pushed for $80 million in government funds to help build new wastewater treatment facilities in Mississippi, earmarking money—even if that money benefits them — is considered a no no among many conservatives

"People in DeSoto County, many of whom work in Memphis and have not been there very long, they don’t know about Ingalls shipyard, they don’t care about Columbus Air Force Base, Meridian Naval Air Station, the Army Corps of Engineers center in Vicksburg, the Stennis Space Center," former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told the Times.

Rose Witherspoon, 77, told The Times she moved from out of state and liked Cochran's opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel. because he is more conservative. "We like less federal government, we don’t like all this debt, we like more freedom," she said.

In Virginia, according to the Times, transplants are turning the state blue. "Virginia has become a state full of Southern statues and Northern voters," J. Tucker Martin, a Republican operative, told the paper. "You can replicate the same voter here outside of Kansas City, Milwaukee or Phoenix. The only difference is the weather."

The pace of population shifts is changing rapidly, according to Forbes.com. African Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics made up more than one third of the U.S. population in 2010. By 2050, minorities will represent 54 percent.

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Population shifts have caused more political races to focus on national, rather than local or regional, issues, The New York Times reported.
GOP, Democrats, shifting, population
Monday, 16 June 2014 01:19 PM
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