Sunday, April 20, 2008

Obama and Electoral Math

In the NOMINATION math of the Democratic nomination, Obama has an enormous edge.  He has virtually got it locked up, unless Hillary Clinton can just blow him out in Pennsylvania (even that may not be enough).

Obama, however, is in TROUBLE in the general election, in terms of electoral math.  Look at John Kerry, who LOST.  What states that Kerry lost can Obama WIN?  Sure, Hillary Clinton's negatives are so high that she might have her own problems, but at least she figures to HOLD almost all of the states that Kerry won.  Can Obama do that?  Obama's strongest states in the nomination process have been those states that he CAN'T WIN (unless the election turns into a landslide because of McCain mistakes, or events, in which case either Democrat will win). 

Take the 11 states of the old Confederacy.  Obama can't win ANY of them in the general election.  He PROBABLY can't win any of the WESTERN states (not including the West Coast)--excluding, POSSIBLY, New Mexico and Nevada.  However, New Mexico is right next to where I live, and Obama has a BIG challenge to win New Mexico (despite its Democratic Party leanings).   Obama seems to have no hope in Florida (even if McCain does not pick the Florida governor as his running mate).  Surely, Obama has no hope in Midwest states like Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.  Even a state like New Hampshire seems doubtful.  States like Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota may be in play for McCain, who may even have a chance at California.  More importantly, what about Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania?

All McCain has to do is win ONE of the four states mentioned in the last sentence of the last paragraph.  Does Obama really have a chance in states like Kentucky and Missouir?  I doubt it (although some may quibble at Missouri).  What about West Virginia?  You would expect Obama to take Maryland, but that hardly adds a state that Kerry LOST.   Thus, Obama has to win ALL of the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Michigan.  In the nominatioin fight, he will likely have won NONE of those states.  It is striking how Obama has lost almost, in the nomination fight, almost ALL of the states he MUST win in the general election (that is, states that are not totally out of sight for a Republican).

McCain has an enormous advantage over Obama, the way this campaignhas unfolded.  Obama's nomination victory (if he holds on to it) is based largely on states he is going to LOSE in the general election.  I guess he can dream about the African-American enthusiasm pulling off an upset in a Southern state, but it is unlikely (short of a landslide forming against McCain).  Clinton might have a chance in Arkansas.  It is hard to see Obama doing wellthere in the general election--not impossible, but hard.

That is the problem Democrats face, besides beating each other up in the nomination fight.  They are about to nominate a candidate who LOST almost every state he NEEDS to win the general election.  Ohio alone could sink Obama (can he win without Ohio?).  Ohio SHOULD be Democratic country, with the problems the Republicans have had recently in Ohio, but Obama seems to face an uphill battle there. 

Can you find a bare majority of electoral votes for Obama?  Sure, but ONLY if EVERYTHING goes right.  In other words, Obama seemingly is going to have to win EVERY "contested" state.  That may not be realistic.

This is why an Obama victory is not necessarily bad for McCain (despite the greater enthusiasm created by Obama among many leftist Democrats, and African-Americans).  Obama has NOT shown that he can WIN in those states he HAS to win in November.  Hillary Clinton has shown that she can win in those states. 

McCain would appear to be in pretty good shape for the general election.  Too bad he is McCain (although, to be honest, many of the things I dislike about McCain--although not all of such qualms relate to his "independent" views--are the very SAME things that give him a good chance in states like Pennsylvania, and even California, where McCain would not seem to be that different from Arnold).

Yes, McCain COULD win a landslide.  I don't expect it (again, this is McCain).  But he COULD.  Obama is further left than McGovern (when Nixon won a landslide, despite Watergate having already HAPPENED, and despite the Vietnam War still dragging on).   Obama has really shwon little ability to get the votes he needs in the general election. 

If only I thought a McCain victory would be GOOD for conservatives!  Oh well, that is why this election may be "no lose" for conservatives (albeit also "no win").  It will be fun to watch the reaction of the left if they LOSE the Presidency again. 

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