I hope that all of you residing in states holding Super Tuesday events or that have already had your primary/caucus have participated and to those who live in areas yet to hold such events, please get out and participate. I participated in the North Dakota caucus this evening and watched some of the results on television. I was particularly interested in Mike Huckabee’s victories in some Southern states this evening and it made me reflect on the sectional nature of the 1860 election.
While the Democratic side of the house is not as sectional, the GOP appears more sectional, with Romney doing well in low population, upper Midwest and Western states, like North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Colorado, Utah. McCain scored well in states with larger populations and many of the Northeastern states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New York). When just looking at the GOP results of Super Tuesday, an interesting comparison to 1860 becomes apparent, given the relative sectional breakdown of where each GOP candidate did well.
Leaving out political views and just looking at the results, consider, that Huckabee’s victories in some of the Southern states is likened to John Bell’s electoral victories in the upper South in 1860, as like Bell ending up in third, Huckabee is in third place in the delegate total. Romney’s showing in several states, particularly upper Midwest and West is like John Breckenridge’s finish in the 1860 election. McCain, just by his victories in many more states likens him to the Lincoln electoral victory. When you consider the way that all three GOP candidates split conservative voters, the image of John Breckenridge and Stephen Douglas splitting the Democratic vote, and John Bell likely siphoning Democrats away from Douglas and Breckenridge, comes to mind.
While there will eventually be a Republican nominee and a very contested general election, it is interesting to see how Super Tuesday, at least on the Republican side has some similarities to the 1860 presidential election. John McCain won major victories, similar to Lincoln’s electoral victory, while the Huckabee and Romney victories are like Bell and Breckenridge breaking up the Democratic vote. It seems likely that just as Breckenridge and Bell paved the way for President Lincoln, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney will pave the way for John McCain to be the Republican nominee.