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Who's Your Candidate? An Easy Test Will Tell

November 06, 2000|LAURA INGRAHAM | Laura Ingraham is a contributing editor for and author of "The Hillary Trap" (Hyperion, 2000)

If you look closely at the electoral map, it is increasingly clear that this election represents a cultural battle between the two great camps in American life: the sophisticates of the large cities and the boring, middle-class Americans of the heartland.

Look at the way the states are breaking: Democrat Al Gore has all the cool parts of the country: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Washington (and he's very close in Florida).

Republican George W. Bush's stronghold lies in the most boring, out-of-the-way parts of middle America: Oklahoma, Mississippi, Wyoming, Indiana (and he's very close in West Virginia).

Because the economy is generally strong (although it's stronger in Gore's states than Bush's states), money hasn't really been that much of an issue. Because the country is generally at peace (although Bush's states are concerned about the military), foreign policy hasn't really been that much of an issue.

The real issue is cultural: Do you identify more with New York or with Omaha? Think of Gore's voters as the coastals and Bush's voters as the flyovers.

Gore and Bush are almost the perfect candidates for such an election. Middle-America types think the coasts are full of sneaky, untrustworthy people; Gore fits that stereotype admirably. New Yorkers think Middle Americans are morons; Bush obviously plays into that stereotype with his helter-skelter diction. For that matter, Gore's problems in Tennessee aren't really all that surprising; he literally does not have the same positions on many issues (gay rights, abortion, tobacco) that he had when he represented Tennessee. Culturally, his true home state is probably D.C., which is overwhelmingly for him.

Such switches make it not surprising that some voters may be confused about which candidate stands for their issues. So here are some guidelines:

* If you helped your children go trick-or-treating, you're probably a Bush voter. If you put on your own costume and attended a Halloween party, you're probably a Gore voter.

* If you regularly fly the shuttle between Washington and New York, you're probably a Gore fan. If you regularly fly Southwest, you're a Bush fan.

* If your idea of a great vacation is a bike trip through Burgundy, you're probably a Gore supporter. If your ideal vacation is renting an RV and driving to the Grand Canyon, you're probably for Bush.

* If your favorite TV show is "Touched by an Angel," you're probably a Bush voter. If your favorite show is "Sex and the City," you're probably a Gore voter.

* If you believe Miles Davis is a musical genius, you're probably a Gore voter. If you believe Elvis Presley is a musical genius, you're probably a Bush voter.

* If you like stock car racing, you're for Bush; if you hate it, you're for Gore.

* If you believe in hell, you're probably for Bush; if you don't, you're probably for Gore.

If Gore loses--and especially if it's close and he carries both New York and California--we will hear screaming from liberals unlike almost anything we have ever heard. After all, Middle America types are used to losing to New York and L.A.; those places have the money, and they usually get their money's worth.

But New York and L.A. are not used to losing to the likes of Norman, Okla., and Clemson, S.C.

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