The Giuliani Advantage? Really?

Maybe Ed Morrissey (Captain’s Quarters) just hadn’t had enough coffee when he posted this morning, but it seems to me there’s a problem with this statement:

Even more, Giuliani can argue that big wins in the coastal states give Republicans an opportunity unseen in two decades — a chance to force Democrats to spend money in traditionally blue states, which not only helps Republicans in the presidential race but down-ticket as well.

Well, maybe. This argument really depends upon whether or not Democratic voters can be swayed by Giuliani’s social moderation. If one assumes that they can, one is necessarily assuming that many Democratic voters choose Democratic candidates based on social issues. I think that’s an iffy assumption to make. Many Democratic voters choose Democrats for economic reasons, and many Democratic voters will be choosing Democrats in 2008 based on the Iraq War and other foreign policy issues. Does anyone really think that voters fed up with the Iraq War are going to turn toward Giuliani because he’s pro-choice? That’s not even going to be on the radar screen.

But the real problem is that Morrissey seems to be missing the other side of this coin: if Giuliani’s candidacy does force Democrats to spend money in blue states, such a benefit may be completely negated if his candidacy also forces Republicans to spend money in red states. If Giuliani appeals to socially liberal or moderate voters in blue states, isn’t it likely that he will turn off socially conservative voters in red states?

This should be the Republicans’ real concern. Whereas most Democrats don’t vote Democrat for primarily social reasons – you watch and see, they just don’t – there are a number of Republicans who vote Republican for primarily social reasons. This has been the case since Reagan, Falwell, et al. built the grand coalition between Republicans and Evangelical Christians.

I doubt very much that Giuliani is going to make significant inroads among blue voters, whose votes will be decided by issues relating to foreign policy and, to a lesser extent, domestic economics. The problem with his candidacy for Republicans is that while he may not sway very many Democrats to the Republican side, he’s probably going to cause a lot of Republicans to stay home, and he may even cause a few Reagan Democrats to walk back across the aisle. This is a 50 state strategy that Democrats should welcome.


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