Friday, May 23, 2008

my cents

I went to the Web site 270towin and took a look at the electoral results from the last few Presidential elections. What’s important to me isn’t the endless popular vote statistics that either Clinton or Obama are using to support their case – primaries don’t translate to the general: either candidate will carry California or New York so telling me otherwise is a weak argument. You’re just mangling numbers to make you feel better about your candidate. What I remember so well from 2000 was yelling at the talking heads that it was just Florida that was the downfall – it was any single ‘safe’ state that Gore ignored. If he had carried any state that he lost – any state from Alaska to Nevada – he would have won. Every state is worth at least three electoral votes and he lost by five. Using that election as a basis since only three states changed in 2004 (Kerry lost N.M and Iowa, but picked-up N.H.) it’s pretty clear to see what needs to be done. (P.S. Hey Al, if you can’t carry your home state then it’s pretty tough to blame anyone else for that loss.) Of the states that could have swung in 2000, we needed any one of the following:

+ 40,000 of 2.2. million cast in Missouri
+ 11,000 of 600,000 cast in Nevada
+ 3,500 of 550,000 cast in New Hampshire
+ 40,000 of 2 million cast in Tennessee

It wasn’t just Florida. If we get back to picking up the states that Democrats carried in 2000 then it’s one step to a victory – without Florida or Ohio. The states that are hanging, according to the Web site, include seven states the Dems carried in 2000: N.M., Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. All seven of those states have been predominantly Democrat over the last four Presidential election cycles, and at least half of the last ten cycles. There are five states in play from the Republican pull in 2000: Nevada, Colorado, Missouri, North Carolina, and Virginia. Nevada and Missouri have split over the last four elections, and New Mexico has gone Dem three of the last four. The other four states have been strongly Republican over the last ten cycles. I happen to think Virginia is going to become very important even if its run Republican forever – more power to the massive population growth in Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax counties that has brought in two Democratic governors, Senator Jim Webb, and a second Senate seat on the horizon with Democrat Mark Warner.

I think that pulling Nevada, Missouri, and New Mexico means the end of the campaign. Who knows what the hell the Granite State folks will do in the end – can someone pop over to Keene and help them out. It’s almost impossible to imagine a surge in Republican support across the hardcore Democratic states whether our nominee is Clinton or Obama – the numbers won’t change even if Virginia doesn’t come through – and the Dems cover 276 – 262.

My point in this ramble is this: the Democrats need to bring out the numbers we’ve seen during the primary season for the general election. The candidate needs to hit the fringe states hard and use them to leverage off states like Florida and Ohio. Simple mistakes like not carrying your home state or giving away the smaller states that are in play can’t be allowed.

I’ve made my case.

Feel free to take that nap now.

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