The news, pundits and blogosphere have been making great hay out of the Obama campaign's much touted "50 State Strategy" and before you get the wrong idea, let me go ahead and say that I think it's a great plan. By spending time on every state, not only is Obama building momentum for his own election race, but he's substantially improving the chances of down ticket candidates. In the long run, I feel like the down ticket races are where the real change (anyone tired of that word yet?) can be effected. If we can send a bunch of better, more progressive congressfolk and senators to Washington with Senator Obama, then the chances of enacting a progressive agenda are substantially increased. Not that you can tell from the current roll-over-and-play-dead congress, but the legislative branch is capable of being either the sitting president's best ally or most implacable foe.
In the long term, party building of this nature is crucial if we want those 'red' states to turn purple and even blue. My beloved home state, the Commonwealth of Virginia, is increasingly blue (Obama leads in current composite polling data and we're about to replace an old guard republican senator with a wildly popular democratic former governor). Some of this shift can certainly be attributed to the growing population in the more liberal northern part of the state, and to the abysmal approval ratings of the Resident's administration, but a lot can also be laid at the doorstep of that popular governor's campaigning, and that of his successor, and at the foot of the huge netroots effort to elect our junior senator, Jim Webb, in 2006. Each successful race (and even the unsuccessful ones) that competes in the state enlarges and energizes the base. The 50 state strategy does this on a national level, even in places like Utah, home of the most republican congressional district in the country. (Utah's 1st District, in case you were curious, an R+26 district.)
That said, you didn't come here to hear me spout off nonsense you could have gotten at dKos. You came here to hear me spout off more trivial nonsense!
The Obama site has, as you would expect, an extensive collection of campaign related gear and garb you can buy. One prominent category is "State Shirts". I went looking for a Virginia for Obama shirt, which I would probably not have purchased, but nevertheless, I wanted to know it existed.
Virginia, a state that hasn't voted for Democrats on a national ticket since supporting LBJ in 1964, is currently leaning towards Barack. Not hugely, certainly within the margin of error, but the trend is continuing, and I look forward to casting my (absentee) ballot for the first democratic candidate to win the state in my lifetime. (Voting for Clinton was fun, since he did win, but since he didn't win the Commonwealth, this has the potential to be fantastically better.)
There's no shirt for Virginia? He won the primary there handily! He's contesting the state. McCain actually just made an ad buy for Virginia, for crying out loud! Republicans never have to do that! No shirt?
So that made me curious. What other states have been left out?
-Iowa (McCain 41% Obama 45.8%)
-Louisiana (Solid McCain)
-Maine (Solid Obama)
-Maryland (Solid Obama)
-Mississippi (McCain 50% Obama 44%, Rasmussen)
-Nebraska (Solid McCain)
-Nevada (McCain 45.2% Obama 41.8%)
-New Hampshire (McCain 39.4% Obama 50%)
-South Carolina (McCain 48% Obama 39%, Rasmussen)
-Virginia (McCain 45.1% Obama 46.5%)
-Washington (Solid Obama)
-Wyoming (Solid McCain)
(All poll data is composite from pollster.com, except when noted. Margins greater than 10% are considered solid.)
A bunch of these states are shaping up as battlegrounds. Hook it up with the Cafe Press already! Wouldn't they like to see those states showing their support on their torsos?
But don't worry. You can get your Guam or Puerto Rico shirts. Perfect for the non-voter in your life.