I was driving between random errands last Saturday, and happened to have an NPR station playing in the car. I don't remember the show, the host, or the guest, but one statement made by the guest struck out so singularly, that it left me thinking about it for days.
He referred to the left-wing states as the "parenthesis" states.
I found that statment to be an incredibly useful metaphor on several levels. Geographically, the blue states are truly a parenthesis around the large chunk of red, but this is the simplest expression of the metaphor. We sit in these blue states with our intellectual colleagues, and assume that the rest of the country thinks the way we do. We have to realize that the majority of America simply thinks differently. They are staunchly religious, and conservative, but that's what makes up America. We, the liberals and moderates merely parenthesize what forms the mainstream of American thought and culture.
The fact that the election results of 2004 went the way they did is simply (and unfortunately) democracy at work.