A thoughtful column by Josh Marshall notes, among other things, that Democrats need to stop kicking themselves and stop worrying about gaining votes among demographics that are highly unlikely to prove fruitful for them. Instead, the Democrats need to worry about clarity, the kind of clarity that will draw more voters from the party’s base to actually vote. And even lacking that clarity, the election results show they didn’t do as poorly as some of the more apocalyptic rhetoric flying about might suggest. Yet another problem with the Electoral College is the way it misrepresents the distribution of voters in the nation, since its winner-take-all format makes red or blue states out of varying shades of purple. Only five states (Idaho, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming – and note the limited geographical reach of these states) gave Kerry less than 35%, while only eleven states (add Alabama, Alaska, Indiana, North Dakota, and Texas – and again, we’re primarily in the same geographic region) gave Bush more than 60%. (Here’s a link with detail.) Two places – Massachusetts, and Washington D.C. – gave more than 60% of their vote to Kerry. And of course, the overall results, with nearly half the voters favoring Kerry, deny any such thing as a mandate.