While I am the designated small-l libertarian in these precincts, I usually vote Republican because in the end I hold out hope, however poorly supported by postwar history, that the GOP is our best shot at halting the growth of government in the United States, and perhaps rolling it back a bit. If only the GOP were reliably in favor of less, rather than more, government intrusion, but that is a subject for another day.
I further believe that capturing the presidency is far more important than even overwhelming control of Congress or state governments. Congress has proved itself incapable of standing up to the executive again and again, and even when it passes laws it "delegates" almost all of the substance to the regulatory agencies that form the permanent government in Washington, further ceding power to the Oval Office. The torrent of regulation is so great that even the most sympathetic federal judges cannot roll them back fast enough, never mind that we will not have sympathetic federal judges for long if the Democrats win another couple of terms in the White House.
It is therefore essential that Republicans win the next presidential election.
Unfortunately, the mathematics of the Electoral College make that an extremely daunting task. I have not seen a more eloquent diagnosis of the problem than this analysis, written by a Republican, published just after the huge GOP landslide last November. Here is the upshot, but the detail behind the upshot is so interesting, and depressing, you really need to read the whole thing:
Behold the Blue Wall:Or, to put it in terms the young 'uns might understand, "because math." And if you think the data are cooked, read the whole thing for the very deep bad news. The GOP has lost its appeal to Americans who live in cities, and many on the right seem to think they can make it up by winning ever greater majorities among suburban and ex-urban whites. That is rank denial.
The Blue Wall is block of states that no Republican Presidential candidate can realistically hope to win. Tuesday that block finally extended to New Hampshire, meaning that at the outset of any Presidential campaign, a minimally effective Democratic candidate can expect to win 257 electoral votes without even trying. That’s 257 out of the 270 needed to win.
Arguably Virginia now sits behind that wall as well. Democrats won the Senate seat there without campaigning in a year when hardly anyone but Republicans showed up to vote and the GOP enjoyed its largest wave in modern history. Virginia would take that tally to 270. Again, that’s 270 out of 270.
This means that the next Presidential election, and all subsequent ones until a future party realignment, will be decided in the Democratic primary. Only by sweeping all nine of the states that remain in contention AND also flipping one impossibly Democratic state can a Republican candidate win the White House. What are the odds that a Republican candidate capable of passing muster with 2016 GOP primary voters can accomplish that feat? You do the math.
The question is whether any serious Republican can give voice to this math without suffering the ridicule of the activists and social media players on the right. Mitt Romney seems to get it, but is able to say the things he says only because he has taken leave of the primaries. Rick Perry, who has been surprising more than once in his career, also hints at the outlines of a clue. Maybe so does Marco Rubio. But none of these three seem likely to change the orientation -- pun intended -- of the GOP sufficiently to win more votes in the cities. Until that happens, Democrats will control the White House and use the power of the regulatory state to make the United States ever more like Europe.
Or, is the math in some way wrong? Make the case in the comments!