Election 2008

"Map-Changing" Elections: A Look at Realignments Past

The idea that 2008 might be a game-changer is gaining quite a bit of currency these days, but what does such a shift look like?
The term "map-changing" has become one of those buzzwords this election cycle.  It was, like most buzzwords, high on sizzle, low on steak.  Why?  Because candidates don't change maps-map-changing conditions change candidates-at least, successful ones.  Which means, in effect, that any Democrat who won the nomination this time had a decent shot at becoming a map-changing candidate.  To see why this is so, I've assembled a series of maps showing all the presidential elections from 1896 to date, so that the the progression of changes can readily be seen.   At the end, I'll return to the current election, and dove-tail with the analysis in the previous diary, looking at what sort of map-change we can expect if all the swing states looked at go the Democrat's way.  Of course, there's no guarantee that will happen-but that's what real map-changing elections are all about-sailing with the flood of a rising tide, and taking all the credit for the work of the elements.
Paul Rosenberg is a regular blogger for Open Left