The Fort Worth Star-Telegram offers a cool-headed analysis of why the Democrats lost — it was due to air conditioning.

Geographer James Wiley explains:

It may seem absurd to blame air conditioning for Democratic failures at the polls, but visualize the impact that it has had on population distribution within the United States.

Virtually unknown until the late 1940s, air conditioning has enhanced the livability of many Sun Belt states. Along with government policies on choice of location this has induced a major population shift within the country that eventually led to the Electoral College defeats of the Democratic presidential candidates in 2000 and 2004.

Wiley’s theory has two soft spots. He brushes past “government policies”, which include things like Right To Work laws which made the manufacturing environment more favorable for companies tired of the endless wrangling and increased cost of closed shop, unionized labor markets. The Republicans are building on the concept of “the ownership society” — people with jobs and a stake in the business tend to vote conservatively.

Even more misleading is the assumption that Republican voters are cold-region transplants, rather than home-grown, free-range conservatives. How does he explain that strongest turnout for Kerry in North Carolina centered on areas like the Research Triangle and parts of Charlotte which have attracted the greatest Northeastern immigrant influx — similar to strongly Democratic areas of Florida known for their concentration of “snowbird” retirees — and that the cooler Piedmont Triad is redder than a stove lid. Or that sunny California (110 degrees on an average summer day, when we lived there) was a given for Kerry.

Nice try, but I liked Jon’s Bojangle’s Theory better.

[Hat tip: El Rushbo this morning]