I had another thought. When Republicans try to claim the values platform all for themselves, what they're basically trying to communicate is Democrats are godless heathens.
But there's a most excellent article on how the Electoral College has forced the "values" discussion into the campaign again, and again, and again. I know the conservatives on this board won't read the article because it comes from the liberal rag THE NATION. But I found the read fascinating:Let's Not Devalue Ourselves
In any case, the reason Kerry's so concerned about values has a lot to do with the unfairness of the Electoral College, which awards outrageously disproportionate political power to rural conservative states with fewer voters than, say, the enlightened borough of Brooklyn. Through one of those ironies with which history is so replete, the Electoral College, intended by the Founding Fathers to insure that the President was chosen by the ruling elite, has become an antidemocratic mechanism of quite another kind, giving unequal weight to votes based merely on the state in which they are cast. (How unequal? A vote from Wyoming counts almost four times as much as a vote from California.) In a country that actually practiced the principle of one person, one vote, the political landscape would be markedly different: Every vote in a presidential election would be campaigned for--the Texas liberal and the Massachusetts right-winger--and candidates would have to address the issues important to the largest number of people instead of pampering the vanity of tiny demographic slivers favored by geography. Candidates would have to wrestle with the fact that most Americans are not family farmers, that 43 percent seldom or never go to church, that one in four is nonwhite. We wouldn't obsess over swing voters in Ohio--what, they still haven't made up their minds? they've had four years!--and Thomas Frank's fascinating analysis of the growth of the right in the so-called heartland, What's the Matter With Kansas? would be a curiosity, not required reading.