Friday, August 20, 2004

Madisonians for Kerry and the Willy Street Co-Op (not necessarily in that order)

by Tom Bozzo

In the blue-versus-red scheme of things, Madison is, of course, just about as blue as the Upper Midwest gets. "Some" would say that parts of the city tend towards the other kind of red, even.

If the electoral college race is close, then, John Kerry's fortunes will depend in no small part on how well he turns out us and our liberal neighbors. As with Al Gore in 2000, a win for the Democrats in Wisconsin amounts to rolling up a sufficiently large win in Madison and Milwaukee (and, to a lesser extent, a few of the smaller cities) to offset comparably large wins in the notoriously conservative Milwaukee suburbs and however reddish (in the new, not the McCarthy, sense) the rural areas break. Bush polled only 28% of the two-party vote in the city; 26% if you throw in the former consumer advocate who will not be named.

While it's still early, the initial signs from the near west side front of the ground war are encouraging. Kerry/Edwards yard signs put up by Dudgeon-Monrovians are outnumbered only by signs supporting the Willy Street Co-op's efforts to secure space in a proposed mixed-use building up on Monroe Street, perhaps three quarters of a mile up from the house. Visible support for Bush and N*der is nonexistent, so far. While Kerry's position is arguably defensible, I do worry about the voting intentions of the people with the "War is not the answer" signs, though.

It was interesting, though, to look at some ward-by-ward returns (Excel file) from 2000 and see that our new neighborhood actually voted almost identically to our old neighborhood, where a few of the bigger houses did indeed sprout Bush/Cheney signs back when, and slightly more Republican than the city as a whole -- though granted, Gore still got 2/3 of the two-party vote in each ward. I note this in part because I got a big laugh from Suzanne, one time when we were walking around here just before John was born and saw a bunch of police cars attending to something or other, by speculating that the offender had refused to put out an "Oppose Hatred" yard sign. This has us wondering: who is in that third? With a pair of German cars in the driveway and the stiff price of the house, the neighbors probably think it's us. Until the yard sign goes up, anyway.
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