Sunday, January 19, 2014

Republicans' Daunting Math in 2016

Dan Balz:
Republicans won 16 states in each of the six elections during that period (1980-2000) and won an additional four states in five of the six. That added up to 179 electoral votes, based on census apportionments in 2000. Today, those 20 states account for 193 electoral votes as a result of the population shift from north to south. Democrats won just one state — Minnesota — plus the District of Columbia in all six elections. They counted only two more states where they won five of six. Together, those four accounted for just 21 electoral votes.
From 1980-2000, 10 states were up for grabs, with each party winning them three times over six elections. They accounted for 155 electoral votes in 2000, and 147 today. What has happened to those once-contested states highlights the dramatic change that has taken place since, namely a shift of some major states toward the Democrats.
From 1992-2012, Democrats built a base that rivals or exceeds that of the Republicans in the earlier period. Eighteen states and the District have voted Democratic in each of the six presidential elections. They represent a total 242 electoral votes, according to the current allocation. Three other states, with a total of 15 electoral votes, have backed the Democrats five times.
Meanwhile, Republicans won 13 states in those six elections, but because most of them were smaller states, their electoral votes totaled just 102. The biggest consistent GOP state in this period has been Texas, with 38 electoral votes. Five other states backed the GOP nominee in five of the six elections, for an additional 56 electoral votes.
Adding together the states that voted Republican or Democratic in at least four of the six elections gave Democrats 281 electoral votes and Republicans 219. Only two states — Colorado and Florida, with a total of 38 electoral votes — were won three times for each party in those six elections.
Republicans' focus on rural, white, elderly and wealthy folks at the expense of everybody else just doesn't seem like good planning in a representative government in which the electorate is becoming more urban, browner, and generally less well-off financially (the population is aging, but Republican policies targeting Social Security and Medicare puts that interest group at risk, also).  The radical "conservative" Tea Party agenda, and an absolutely terrible looking bunch of candidates will probably doom the Republicans to another beatdown in 2016, barring financial collapse, an Obamacare-induced health care meltdown or some tremendous political scandal (not Benghazi or the IRS bullshit).  Luckily for the Republicans, gerrymandering, vote suppression, unlimited political contributions and low voter turnouts in  off-year elections will allow them to remain somewhat relevant long enough for them to try to reform the party to become more competitive amongst younger demographics.  Now, will they actually take the opportunity?  I don't know.

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