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Opening Arguments

Still red after all these years

The Indianapolis Star should be more careful with its headlines. Indiana did not turn blue on Tuesday. It voted blue, barely: The story gets it better when it says that Barack Obama "eked out a arrow win":

At least 2.7 million Hoosiers cast ballots, according to a conservative, preliminary calculation by The Associated Press, topping Indiana's previous record of 2.5 million voters set in 2004.

[. . .]

With 99 percent of precincts statewide tallied, Obama led Republican John McCain by 26,163 votes.

Out of 2.7 million votes, Obama won by 26,163. Not exactly overwhelming. And in this Democratic-wave year, Hoosiers returned Republican Mitch Daniels to the governor's office by a very comfortable margin. The fact that we swap Republicans and Democrats in that office and our habit of going back and forth on who gets the House leadership are better indications of the state's political diversity. All the Obama win showed, if anything, was how essentially red this state remains at its political core.


Kevin Knuth
Thu, 11/06/2008 - 10:32am

well let's see.....

Democratic Governors for 16 of the last 20 years, One Democratic Senator, majority of Congressmen are Dems, and, until last year, the three largest cities had Democratic Mayors (two still do).

Wouldn't call that Red.

Leo Morris
Thu, 11/06/2008 - 9:55pm

Agreed that the state's politics are more complex than outsiders understand, I'd still argue that Indiana is more red than blue. Consider where Obama eked out his victory -- a few Democratic strongholds like Marion County and northwest Indiana and the sites of major universities; McCain won 70-some of the state's 92 counties. And consider that most of the Democratic victors you refer to are seen as more centrist than leftist. All the pundits this week keep saying the country is "center-right." I'm not sure that's correct or if we can even know it about such a large, diverse place as the whole U.S., but I think it's a pretty good description of Indiana.