Via Jonathan Singer, the Economist’s Lexington notes a delicious irony. A few short years ago it was the Democratic Party that was supposedly in danger of shrinking into a merely regional party, but today it’s the GOP that looks to be headed for that fate.
It seems to me that the real lesson of this delicious irony is that we should be guarded against pundits’ habit of over-interpreting election results. After all, back in 1998 the conventional wisdom was that the GOP was in danger of shrinking to become a merely regional party. Then, in late 2004 and early 2005, the Democrats were in danger of shrinking to become a merely regional party. Now in late 2006, the GOP is once again in danger of shrinking to become a merely regional party. Realistically, I think this is all more-or-less hysteria and nobody is going to become merely regional — things will just sort of swing back and forth, with the Democrats maintaining a semi-permanent reservoir of strength in the Urban Archipelago and the GOP having a similar bastion in the South.