Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Crystal Ball

Larry Sabato has his baseline 2012 electoral college map available. This is the map upon which all the campaign strategies (and predictions) will begin for candidates considering a run against Obama.

There are 270 electoral college votes needed for victory. Looking at the map and the baseline votes, the optimistic view suggests Republicans will need to gain 100 electoral votes beyond their solid red states (safe and likely). The "leans" Republican and "toss up" states total to 121 votes, if every one of those is won by a Republican nominee.

This is going to be extremely difficult and challenging, with or without a strong GOP nominee. Here's why. Several of those states are union states, which will fight to the death for Obama. They are going to focus on those states heavily with money and their SEIU thug tactics. Another factor will again be retirement states such as Florida and North Carolina. Those two toss up states alone comprise 44 electoral votes. It is close to impossible, basing estimates on this baseline, to see a Republican 2012 victory without those two states.

The good news here is that we have some newly-elected Republican governors in the union states and in Florida. If they are building strong GOP state chapters and the RNC is focusing on helping them organize, this could help a Republican nominee. Also, there are some redistricting factors that haven't even been realized yet and they could play heavily into the favor of the Republicans.

Bottom line: if the GOP puts up a weak candidate, who can't generate enthusiasm for a GOP "big tent" by reaching conservatives and independents, then the optimistic scenario is completely unattainable. Polarizing candidates won't win the electoral votes needed in the toss-up states. Difficult and controversial issues (entitlement spending and the national debt) are going to have to be treated with kid gloves by the GOP nominee. He or she will have to swing hard at Obama and present realistic and maybe even reserved solutions. It can't be emphasized enough how important it will be to select a candidate who can win. It may not be the favorite of the Tea Party or the establishment GOP or the independents or the social conservatives, etc..., but a Republican who can unseat Obama will certainly be my favorite.

I won't go into the gory analysis of the pessimistic viewpoint of the electoral votes needed by the GOP in 2012. I think the "optimistic" view sets a difficult enough tone by itself.


  1. Umm, I think you have the wrong link in there.

  2. I thought McCain was the dream candidate for the "big tent" theory? No? Well, believe what you will. Put up another big tent candidate and I, again, will not vote for president. I will not participate in further degradation of the nation.

  3. Rob, thank you. Multi-tasking got the best of me. I have corrected the link.

  4. Doom, how do you expect to beat Obama without appealing to independent voters?

  5. Obviously, McCain and his ilk do not bring in enough conservatives or independents for a win. Further, I strongly contend that strongly conservative candidates do win. At least when the RNC, and other Republican resources, do not sandbag or abandon them. Even then they sometimes pull through.

    Becoming like Obama will help no Republican candidate. Romneycare will not cut it and "Bush is evil" will not either. Some things just are not correctable. Bits from the "liberal" talking head's favorite "Republican" candidates.

  6. So you expect to win independents by nominating a far-right conservative candidate such as...?

  7. @Doom - Reagan was a big tent candidate; what's so bad about attracting independents or - gasp - Democrats who will cross over?

    What you're really saying is you don't want a moderate, or one whom you think is a moderate. What you want is someone who will attack non-conservatives. That kind of person will not, NOT attract people to our side. You CAN be a human being and still be a principled conservative. I think too many have forgotten this.

  8. Reagan was not a true big tent conservative. His "big tent" approach did not include even nominally Democratic ideas or actors. He was a rather strict interpreter of both fiscal and social conservativism. I would suggest he was more along the lines of Ryan publicly, and more like a boxer in actual practice. And, actually, he ran a rather scathing campaign against Bush, Sr. as I recall.

    What amazes me is that some believe attack politics doesn't work. The hard truth is, it does. The thing is to use it judiciously. But confusing solid candidates with how a campaign is run is like confusing hard truths with how they need to be expressed for the greatest appeal.

    I wish I could honestly say the average American was fed up with Obama. The truth is, the only thing the average American cares about is what they can put on their plate, backs, over their heads, and as wheels on the road, and for a relatively short foreseeable future. Still, if hard choices aren't made and strong politicians aren't put in place to actually lead, we are in trouble. McCain and those of his ilk neither can nor would make those kinds of leadership moves. They are incapable, populists that they are.

    Bah! Why I bother.

  9. Doom, if you were so opposed to Obama and the leftist agenda, why would you refuse to vote for the Republican nominee in 2008 (or hypothetically one that isn't perfect in your view in 2012)? That seems counter-productive to your professed convictions. Also, the point about Reagan is that he was able to ENTICE Democrats and Independents. This was my point all along. Perhaps you neglected to read the part where I suggested the nominee must be a fighter; he must win over (not reject) those who disagree with him 25% of the time; and he must communicate on the issues in a way that doesn't spark too much polarizing reaction.

    I am discussing the political strategy that must be deployed in order to WIN. All you have said is, "If I don't get my ideal candidate, I don't care about defeating Obama's agenda. My type of candidate is the only one that can win." You have spent more time complaining about McCain than you have Obama in this discussion.

    So again I ask you, how does your "ideal candidate" win votes in Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Nevada, Colorado and New Hampshire? Who would your ideal candidate be?

  10. Viv,

    McCain was every bit as liberal as Obama, and took the lead on a number of issues Obama went on to front, such as bailouts and "health care reform". I could not separate one from the other, actually. Further, I could not allow my vote to go for someone who would have seen us about exactly where we currently are regarding government spending, "health care", or a host of other of the negatives, especially knowing we would not even have his ear as we did, grudgingly, from Bush the last. I would not allow my party to take the blame for the fallout I knew would come from such choices. It was our yammering that ended amnesty (another McCain want), the horrid Supreme court nominee, and a number of other Bush blunders (if too, we didn't stop them all). McCain made it clear he was going to ignore, even disrespect conservatives. Trump will and is pandering to everyone, so where he really stands is anyone's guess and Romney has made it clear that he likes Romneycare. Half of one, six of the other.

    Reagan won those independents and Democrats who are actually more strongly fiscally conservative than they are socially liberal. He defined himself outside of the middling muck most politicians attempt to make themselves out to be, thus limiting the scope of what they can do while in office. Reagan ran on real conservative values and won in a landslide.


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