CNN Contributor Foolishly Argues Kentucky, Arkansas Have 'Never' Been Democratic 'Hotbeds'

CNN contributor Maria Cardona may have forgotten some history as she tried to spin away President Obama's troubles in the Arkansas and Kentucky Democratic primaries. Cardona, speaking during the 10 a.m. hour of Wednesday's Newsroom, argued that "Arkansas and Kentucky have never been hotbeds of the Democratic Party."

President Obama only picked up 58 percent of the vote in the Kentucky Democratic primary, and 60 percent in Arkansas. "Look, Arkansas and Kentucky have never been hotbeds of the Democratic Party. There's no real infrastructure there. There's no organization by the Obama campaign there," Cardona insisted.

Cardona's first statement ignores some quite recent history, that former President Bill Clinton was the Democratic governor of Arkansas before he ran for president – and that both Arkansas and Kentucky voted for him in the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections.

As far as infrastructure goes, both states might be far from solid red as they have had Democratic governors since 2007. Arkansas had two Democratic senators as late as 2011 when former Senator Blanche Lincoln finished out her second term after replacing another Democrat, Senator Dale Bumpers. Meanwhile, Arkansas Democratic Senator Mark Pryor is still serving his second term in the U.S. Senate.

Both states have a Democratic history as well. Since 1950, eight different Democrats served as Governor of Arkansas (Bill Clinton was elected twice), compared to just three Republican governors. Kentucky has seen 13 Democratic governors since 1950, and only two Republican governors.

Both Kentucky and Arkansas voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976, and Arkansas voted Democratic in every presidential election year from 1920 through 1964. Kentucky, meanwhile, voted Democratic every presidential election from 1932 through 1952, and went for Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

So to summarize, Maria Cardona might want to brush up on her history before she again excuses Obama's poor showing in the Arkansas and Kentucky Democratic primaries due to both states having never been a Democratic "hotbed."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on May 23 on Newsroom at 10:29 a.m. EDT, is follows:

CAROL COSTELLO: Last night, President Obama only got 60 percent of the primary vote in Arkansas and 58 percent in Kentucky. At least he wasn't losing votes to a convicted felon like he did in West Virginia. But the question is, should Mr. Obama be worried about his support among Democrats? Maria?

MARIA CARDONA: No, Carol. He shouldn't be. Look, Arkansas and Kentucky have never been hotbeds of the Democratic Party. There's no real infrastructure there. There's no organization by the Obama campaign there.

In the swing states, and in the solidly blue Democratic states, Obama is doing quite well, and that's really where it matters. That's where the decision of this election is going to be made. And frankly, in the polls that we've seen recently, the Democratic intensity for voters and the enthusiasm among Democrats is actually beating the enthusiasm and intensity among GOP voters. So I think that's – those are the numbers that really matter.
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014