Eliot Spitzer is runnng for governor of New York. He is the state’s attorney general. In an article in todays NYT Magazine there appears a profile on his chances and a larger discussion of how his chances impact the efforts of Democrats to woo middle class voters back into the big tent, which lately they have exited in droves and pretty much taken the tent poles with them.
In 1996, the average income at which a middle class voter defected from the Democrats and voted Republican was $45,900.*
In 2004, that figure dropped by nearly half to $23,300. *
Al Gore lost the middle class vote in 2000 by 15 points. John Kerry lost the middle class vote in 2004 by 22 points.*
Yet since 1992, another phenomenon has developed: 22 Democratic former prosecutors and attorneys general have been elected either Governor or to the Senate from around the country.*
The theory is that to the great American Middle, Democrats are soft on just about everything which voters fear: crime, white collar crime in particular which damages middle class stock portfolios, terrorism, you name it.
And yet Spitzer leads this former AG charge, which includes the likes of Sen. Salazar from red state Colorado and Gov. Napolitano from deep red state Arizona, from a different place than, say, Hillary or John Edwards: he has an actual record of busting crime, and not just putting away individual perps.
No, what maddens the likes of the Wall Street Journal, who stridently despise (meaning they fear)Spitzer, is his ability to take entire industry segments and force them to clean up or he shuts them down. Investors sleep safer at night thanks to Spitzer, and so the article posits, they will respond to that perception and vote for him.
According to polls cited in the article, men in NY favor Spitzer in much larger numbers than they do Hillary or Shumer.
Men hold one of the keys to the Democrats regaining their national electoral strength. Take away the significant middle class and male votes from the Republican side and you have Democratic landslide victories in 2000 and 2004.
The prosecutor/attorney general angle plays well for Democrats with the Great Middle and for males who respond to strong figures of authority looking out for their interests which they can count. As in their money.
Will the Kossacks here at BMT back a Spitzer presidential candidacy? Take the poll.
* cited in NYT Magazine 10/02/05