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Friday, July 30, 2004

The Syllogism Falls Apart

As far as I can tell, the reason a formerly liberal anti-war guy from Massachusetts would vote for the war in Iraq, NAFTA, welfare "reform," and the rest is because of the lessons "learned" by comparing the "failure" of liberal Michael Dukakis with the "success" of "new Democrat" Bill Clinton. The syllogism is:

Dukakis was liberal, Clinton was "moderate."
Dukakis lost, Clinton won.
Therefore, Democrats need to be more moderate and less liberal to win.

Sam Smith debunks this logic, and surprisingly by attacking the middle argument:
Bill Clinton got 43.9% of the vote in 1992, while Michael Dukakis - the victim of another myth as the purportedly worst possible sort of candidate - got 45%. True, Clinton was up against Ross Perot who got 19% as well as Bush, but Clinton might well have lost were it not for Perot, in which case he would have joined Michael Dukakis in the hall of shame.

Clinton won a majority in only two state-like entities: Arkansas and DC. In only 12 other states was he able to get ever 45%. Dukakis, meanwhile, got over 50% in 11 states and got over 45% in 12 others.

Here's what happened to the Democrats under Clinton, based on our latest figures:

GOP seats gained in House after Clinton became president: 48

GOP seats gained in Senate after Clinton became president: 8

GOP governorships gained after Clinton became president: 11

GOP state legislative seats gained since Clinton became president: 1,254 as of 1998

State legislatures taken over by GOP after Clinton became president: 9

Democrat officeholders who have become Republicans since Clinton became president: 439 as of 1998 Republican officeholders who became Democrats: 3