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Analysis: Election Shows the Disunited States

Wednesday, 15 November 2000 12:00 AM

The Bush states in red occupied the great swath of Heartland America from Virginia to the California border, barely skirting the Rust Belt states of the Upper Midwest. "Fly-over country" is the way the coastal elites describe the Heartland.

The Gore states occupy the Northeast tip, with the notable exception of New Hampshire (where crusty New England Yankee Republicans still have influence they’ve lost elsewhere in the region), the Upper Midwest Rust Belt, where labor union influence is still strong, and the West Coast.

Looking at a

The West Coast blue is a mere urban sliver right along the Pacific Ocean. And even the Northeast and Upper Midwest are spotty. Gore does pick up some urban blotches of support in some Heartland states, but not enough to wipe out the predominant pro-Bush sentiment.

This map shows that Al Gore won 677 counties, whereas Bush took almost four times as many, 2,434. In land mass, we’re talking about more than four to one in square miles for Bush.

Beyond the map colors are analyses of what it all means. There are those who point out that this represents an ideological and cultural split that is as pronounced as at any time since the Civil War.

They cite one side, the Coastal/Rust Belt, as consisting of cultural Marxists who champion the causes of "diversity" and identity politics, environmentalism and multiculturalism.

The opposing side, represented by the Heartland that has been urging George W. Bush to "hang in there" against attempts by the Gore campaign to steal the election, is the America where gun rights, color-blindness, the "Main Street" free enterprise ethic, and Judeo-Christian values prevail.

What bothers those who argue the Heartland’s case is the perception that the Coastal/Rust Belt America seeks to bully Heartland America, not only in imposing elitist cultural values, but in property seizures such as land grabs in the West during the Clinton administration. Moreover, the Coastal elites dominate much of the media.

The resulting resentment has prompted Middle American commentators to rally the Heartland populace to fight back.

However, if this is to be done, Heartland America will have to clean out some of its own stables.

In looking over the membership roster of the U.S. Senate for the upcoming 107th Congress, NewsMax.com counted 16 liberal senators from Heartland America. This does not count the two liberals from Bush state West Virginia, where Robert Byrd is a local legend and where a former governor named Rockefeller has a moneyed leg up for almost any office. Moreover, West Virginia most often has gone for the Democrats in past presidential races. And we did not count Missouri, where a dead man won in unusual circumstances.

The Senate liberals from Heartland are Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Zell Miller and Max Cleland (Ga.), Evan Bayh (Ind.), Mary Landrieu and John Breaux (La.), Max Baucus (Mont.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Harry Reid (Nev.), Jeff Bingaman (N. Mex. – a state where Bush and Gore have been nip and tuck), John Edwards (N.C.), Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad (N.D.), Ernest "Fritz” Hollings (S.C.), Tom Daschle (This is Heartland mentality?) and Tim Johnson (S.D.).

Now let’s look at the "good guys" (right or center-right) in the Coastal/Rust Belt states that went for Gore. Peter Fitzgerald (Ill.), Rick Santorum (Pa.) Charles Grassley (Iowa), and Gordon Smith (Ore.). Only four, which means the liberals do a better job of following through with their base than the conservatives do with theirs. (We did not count the decidedly liberal Republicans in Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont.)

Conservatives can be thankful for the two traditionalist senators in the Bush state of New Hampshire. And of course, the addition of George Allen (Va.) and John Ensign (Nev.) adds to other conservatives from the Heartland to make traditionalist America a formidable force. But not formidable enough.

The presidential race is the only contest where Americans can focus on the "big picture," where they want the country to go. And their electoral votes clearly show that many voters who cast their ballots for Heartland values fail to do likewise farther down on the ballot.

If the Heartland wants to fight back against perceived Coastal/Rust Belt cultural Marxist tyranny, there will have to be a concerted effort to reflect their sentiments in the Senate, where every state, no matter how big or how small, has two senators. Theoretically, this should protect smaller population states from the tyranny of the majority. But it can’t work unless that power is used.

That will mean an uphill battle to fight outside Hollywood money, union money, trial lawyer money and national liberal media influence. It will also require an effort to persuade the folks back home to focus less on the impression a senator makes at Rotary luncheons or that "we need his clout to get a new post office built" or the fact that "he’s a good guy who used to date my cousin," or whatever, and concentrate instead on where that senator or would-be senator wants to lead the country. He or she may be a good person at heart but, once in office, will be swept away by party discipline.

Sixteen more conservatives would give the Heartland a cloture-proof and possibly veto-proof majority. Otherwise that map shows a disconnect.

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The Bush states in red occupied the great swath of Heartland America from Virginia to the California border, barely skirting the Rust Belt states of the Upper Midwest. Fly-over country is the way the coastal elites describe the Heartland. The Gore states occupy the...
Wednesday, 15 November 2000 12:00 AM
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