Obama Would Be First Dem To Win Re-Elect Without Kentucky
PR Log - Oct 16, 2012 - PHILADELPHIA, Pa -- No Democratic President has ever been re-elected without winning the state of Kentucky, according to a popular historical podcast. If President Obama wins the close 2012 election, he'll be the first.
The 'My History Can Beat Up Can Beat Up Your Politics' podcast noted that since 1804, when Thomas Jefferson included Kentucky among the most fervent state supporting his coalition, through William Jefferson Clinton, no one from the party of Jefferson has gotten a second chance at the White House without winning Kentucky's approval.
"The state was a Democratic bastion, a Scots Irish center of resistance to strong central government and defense of the little guy against big government and big banks," said Bruce Carlson, host of the program. "It even voted against Lincoln in his re-elect. Though Republicans have won just as often as not in recent years, Democrats when competitive were till able to win the state up until the 1990's."
If recent polls are correct, Obama may break this solid tradition: After Jefferson's second term, Kentucky also elected his two friends Madison and Monroe in their successful reelections. Jackson benefited from the Bluegrass state's support in 1832. When Martin Van Buren failed to carry the state in 1840, it was a signal that the Democrats had in that year of economic ruin lost the Democratic constituency that put them in office. Wilson won it in 1916. FDR and Truman carried the state in the New Deal and Fair Deal years. And despite losing bordering Southern states, Lyndon Johnson carried the state as part of his crushing rout of Barry Goldwater in 1964. Clinton's lead in the state helped him best GOP contender Bob Dole.
"Clinton's 13,000 vote victory was close, and indicated some trouble for Democrats to come in this state," said Carlson. "And in national politics, the absence in the Democratic coalition has made harder states like Florida necessary for Democratic wins. Certainly we wouldn't be talking as much about a close election if President Obama was carrying this state."
The podcast notes that it's a very different thing in a President's first election. Here President Obama and John F. Kennedy were able to win the White House the first time without Kentucky.
Kentucky is almost certain to choose Mitt Romney as the next President of the United States. Time will tell if President Obama will be the first to break this Kentucky streak of deciding if Democrats get two terms.