Prepare for the Overlords!

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Friday, January 30, 2004

Op-Ed Contributor: Givers and Takers: "The Democrats' electability predicament comes into focus when you compare the map of Giver and Taker states with the well-worn electoral map of red (Republican) and blue (Democrat) states. You might expect that in the 2000 presidential election, Republicans, the party of low taxes and limited government, would have carried the Giver states � while Democrats, the party of wild spending and wooly bureaucracy, would have appealed to the Taker states. But it was the reverse. George W. Bush was the candidate of the Taker states. Al Gore was the candidate of the Giver states.
78 percent of Mr. Bush's electoral votes came from Taker states.
76 percent of Mr. Gore's electoral votes came from Giver states.
Of the 33 Taker states, Mr. Bush carried 25.
Of the 16 Giver states, Mr. Gore carried 12.
Juxtaposing these maps provides a new perspective on the political landscape. (Interactive moment: Color in the blue and red states � then you'll get the full picture.) Republicans seem to have become the new welfare party � their constituents live off tax dollars paid by people who vote Democratic. Of course, not all federal spending is wasteful. But Republicans are having their pork and eating it too. Voters in red states like Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are some of the country's fiercest critics of government, yet they're also among the biggest recipients of federal largess. Meanwhile, Democratic voters in the coastal blue states � the ones who are often portrayed as shiftless moochers � are left to carry the load.
For President Bush, this invisible income redistribution system is a boon. He can encourage his supporters to see themselves as Givers, yet reward them with federal spending in excess of their contribution � and send the bill to those who voted for his oppon"

And it puts the eventual Democratic presidential nominee in a bind, should he try to rally those who believe they aren't getting a fair shake from Washington. If the Democratic candidate won all 16 Giver states plus the District of Columbia in November, he'd collect only 254 electoral votes, short of the majority needed to capture the White House. The electoral votes of all the Taker states, by contrast, add up to 273 — two more than Mr. Bush won in 2000.

Is there a way out for Democrats? Maybe not. With Republicans holding the purse strings, it's the Democrats who are being taken.

Daniel H. Pink, the author of "Free Agent Nation," was the chief speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore from 1995 to 1997.

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eureka, California, United States
As Popeye once said,"I ams what I am." But then again maybe I'm not