The Wall Street Journal has a feature on their website that allows you to explore the history of the Democratic and Republican conventions, including information about the platforms for both parties over the years. The first Democratic Convention was held in 1832, but their first platform wasn’t created until 1840. The first Republican Convention was held in 1856, and their platform called for the prohibition of polygamy and slavery in the territories. Very interesting to look at the parties and their evolution since their formation.

Today, in interesting & fun charts, which are also irrelevant, we have a chart indicating the political leanings and turnout rates of chain restaurant visitors. As you can see, Church’s Chicken patrons are low turnout Democratic voters. Hooter’s patrons are low turnout Republican voters. Your high turnout Republican voters eat at Cracker Barrel, and your high turnout Democrats at Whole Foods.

Today, in interesting & fun charts, which are also irrelevant, we have a chart indicating the political leanings and turnout rates of chain restaurant visitors. As you can see, Church’s Chicken patrons are low turnout Democratic voters. Hooter’s patrons are low turnout Republican voters. Your high turnout Republican voters eat at Cracker Barrel, and your high turnout Democrats at Whole Foods.


Seems like this has been a recurring theme over the last several years in the Texas press, i.e., Texas Democrats donate more to out-of-state candidates than they do to in-state candidates.

In this cycle, Texas Democrats have given $21 million, but only $4.8 million has gone to Texas candidates. The Texas Democratic Party even spent money on advertising in Alabama back in August 2011.

Of course, the lack of competitive candidates has had an impact on the giving of Texas Democrats, and with no winning statewide candidates since 1994 and no statewide officeholders since 1998, there isn’t really anyone to give to. As the Chronicle notes, the Texas Senate race is an example of this, because Texas Democrats have given only $135 thousand to Texas Senate candidates, but $3.7 million to other Senate candidates across the country.


The Continued Decline of the Blue Dogs

The coalition of conservative/moderate Democrats - known as Blue Dogs - formed in 1995, but have been in decline since 2010 when they lost half their numbers, many to Republican challengers. Their decline continued last week in Pennsylvania, when two incumbents lost their primary elections. Jason Altmire was defeated by Mark Crtiz in a matchup of incumbents in the 12th District (although Critz also seems to be more moderate), and Tim Holden was defeated by primary challenger Matt Cartwright. Only 10 are expected to return to Congress in 2013. Part of the issue is redistricting, as districts are drawn in such a way that moderate members of either party cannot survive. But the Blue Dogs haven’t exactly done a great job of supporting each other either, i.e., they seem to lack the organization and money needed to survive and grow.


Where the Trends Go…

After discussing the changing demographics of the United States at the Bipartisan Policy Center, Ruy Teixeira and Sean Trende spoke with Governing magazine about the political outcomes of those demographic trends (Source).

In the short term, those demographics favour the Democratic Party, because of the growing minority vote, white college graduates, the millennial generation and the disappearing white working class. Longer term, there could be a shift back to the right if “the economic well-being of Hispanics were to improve in the coming years,” because exit poll data shows that higher income Hispanics are more likely to vote Republican than other higher income minority voters. This is something I have discussed before here, and it’s a reasonable outcome to suppose, because we’ve seen it before as white voters in the South began to switch to the Republican Party as wealth and incomes began to rise.

A recent book by Cal Jillson - Lone Star Tarnished - discusses the importance of demographics in the future of Texas as the Anglo population has grown slower than the national population since 1980 and the Hispanic population grows faster than any other group in the state (Source). As Prof. Jillson notes in his book, how this effects the state will depend on the development of the Hispanic population (which is tied to the state’s infrastructure, such as public education). The effects are not just economic and social, but political as well, as both parties will be effected by the growth and development of Texas’ Hispanic population.


Super PACs Out Raised by Party Committees

The six party committees - DNC, DSCC, DCCC, RNC, RSCC and RCCC - raised a combined $404 million in 2011 compared to $86 million combined by Democrat and Republican affiliated Super PACs (Source). The study was conducted by the Campaign Finance Institute, and you can view the tables showing the historical rates of fundraising here.

The Democratic National Committee has raised more than the Republican National Committee, but the RNC raised more money from smaller donors than the DNC - presumably from the grassroots supporters who have not contributed to the Republican Presidential candidates. The DNC has also been helped by holding joint fundraisers with President Obama and tapping into his awesome fundraising network.

Personally, I see it as a good sign that the parties are raising these amounts considering that unlimited contributions can be made to super PACs; however, we haven’t reached the general election yet, and that is where the parties will put this money to use, so it remains to be seen how their spending in particular races will compare to those of super PACs.


So what caused the US political map to flip-flop in a mere eight years? What happened to cause the Southern states, proudly Blue and Democrat since the Civil War, to flip to Republican Red?

Why are the Red States Red?

What happened between 1956 and 1964?

Answer: The American Civil Rights Movement.

Actually, income growth and increases in wealth happened:

The Myth of the Southern Strategy

Is There Still a South? And Does it Matter?

This is also discussed in Earl and Merle Black’s The Rise of Southern Republicans.

Race was/is an issue in the South - there’s no denying that - but increases in wealth had more to do with the switch from the Democratic Party to the GOP than the Civil Rights Movement, and that can be backed up with demographic data as opposed to a couple of Presidential election maps. The move was gradual and we can look at the Congressional Districts and states which began moving into the Republican column and see that these are states/districts that were becoming wealthier. Also, the movement was not complete until nearly a generation after the Civil Rights Act was passed.

(Source: azspot, via think4yourself)


Retired Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez - the great hope of the Democratic Party to try and take advantage of the presumed demographic shift in Texas - has dropped out of the U.S. Senate race. The reason why Sanchez is getting out of the race: poor fundraising (also lost his home in a fire which sucks). Basically, this leaves the Democratic Party with no one worth a damn running for U.S. Senate (not that Sanchez had much of a chance this year anyway). According to Burnt Orange Report, the Democratic candidates for Senate are Sean Hubbard and Daniel Boone (zombie Daniel Boone?). No clue who either of these guys are, and their fundraising is probably worse than Sanchez’s. What makes this even better (or worse - depending on your perspective): the Texas Democratic Party launched a new Latino outreach program a day before their leading Latino candidate drops out of the highest profile race in the state this year.

You can read my previous posts about Sanchez here, here, here and here.

The Democrats still have time to field a new candidate thanks to the agreement reached yesterday over the new primary date. Some of the in-state Hispanic leaders may be courted to run, e.g., Leticia Van De Putte - State Senator from San Antonio - was a name mentioned earlier this year as a possible U.S. Senate candidate. However, these local leaders may prefer to bide their time, which would be wise.

EDIT: According to the FEC, Hubbard has $585.75 coh, Boone is even worse at $260 coh, and Sanchez had $118,970 coh (had only raised a little over $243k).