Monday, July 6, 2015

The Electoral College math is very daunting, and Republicans do not seem to know it

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:

electoral map

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.

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 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!


Anonymous said...

LL said...

Wisconsin and Pennsylvania could both go Republican and when you look at their voting behavior, it's possible. However, the dominoes clearly favor the Democrats. The question comes down to who is running. If as this blog has suggested, it's not Hillary vs the Republican, and you have old Bernie running, I think that the metrics shift to favor the Reps.

Anonymous said...

The plural of anecdote is not data. There is very little data in this article to suggest that the wall is truly a wall. I recall that several "Blue Wall" states like WI and MI were up for grabs late, according to polls in the last election, and the polls had skewed Democrat in almost every instance.

This would have been more convincing if the author had made the case state-by-state why a Democrat victory in that state in the last election was so convincing that it would confirm the stability of a wall for 2016. Yes, there are states that are immovable like CA, NY, and MA, but the right candidate can generate turnout and change minds in most others. Ten years ago, who would have thought that the Republicans could reliably control Congress? Yet, Tea Party candidates like Ted Cruz came along and managed to change minds and motivate voters.

toto said...

Only ten states were considered competitive in the 2012 election.

Analysts already say that only the 2016 party winner of Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire is not a foregone conclusion. So less than a handful of states will continue to dominate and determine the presidential general election.

Over the last few decades, presidential election outcomes within the majority of states have become more and more predictable.

From 1992- 2012
13 states (with 102 electoral votes) voted Republican every time
19 states (with 242) voted Democratic every time

If this pattern continues,
Democrats only would need a mere 28 electoral votes from other states.
If Republicans lose Florida (29), they would lose.

Some states have not been been competitive for more than a half-century and most states now have a degree of partisan imbalance that makes them highly unlikely to be in a swing state position.

• 41 States Won by Same Party, 2000-2012
• 32 States Won by Same Party, 1992-2012
• 13 States Won Only by Republican Party, 1980-2012
• 19 States Won Only by Democratic Party, 1992-2012
• 7 Democratic States Not Swing State since 1988
• 16 GOP States Not Swing State since 1988

toto said...

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

The bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter equally in every presidential election, while preserving the Electoral College and state control of elections.

Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in every state surveyed recently. In the 41 red, blue, and purple states surveyed, overall support has been in the 67-81% range - in rural states, in small states, in Southern and border states, in big states, and in other states polled.

National Popular Vote’s Advisory Board includes former Senators Jake Garn (R–UT) and David Durenberger (R–MN); former Congressmen John Anderson (R–IL, I), John Buchanan (R–AL), and Tom Campbell (R–CA). Other supporters include former Senator Fred Thompson (R–TN), Gov. Jim Edgar (R–IL), Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), and House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R–GA).

On February 12, 2014, the Oklahoma Senate passed the National Popular Vote bill by a 28–18 margin.
The bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 states. The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.


Unknown said...

This is my new favorite conservative blog, "because math." :-)

I'm with her, have always been with her and will pray that more #Trumpkins find your site and read THIS post. I'll go tweet it and share on Facebook now to do my part.

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