Last time in this space I wrote about math skills. Now, I’m not trying to show how smart I am at analysis of polling data, or predict things so that I get some kind of future bragging rights. What I’m trying to do here is walk through stuff we laypeople can understand and grasp, and present it for you to respond to. I don’t need detailed data analysis to accomplish what I’m going for; I need people to look at the most basic of evidence available to us, and apply the most basic of logic to it, and honestly evaluate the options open to us to get what we (say we) want.
In my analysis, I talked about how conservatives and liberty-minded people are outnumbered by the voting machine of the left. I’m pretty sure we all agree with that. And, as is usually the case only in off-years, when we do make headway and elect *Republicans to office in the states, those victories are not total victories. Many of those Rs don’t really hold conservative values, or they aren’t seriously willing to engage in advancing them. Again, I don’t think that’s a controversial conclusion.
*I am fully aware that not all Republicans are conservatives and not all conservatives or liberty-lovers are Republican, but shorthand in these discussions is sometimes necessary to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
So let’s review.
- We are outnumbered at the ballot box in presidential years
- We elect Rs in off years in Congress and the states, but it’s not enough/not effective
- Turning out more conservative voters for presidential elections is insufficient unless they come from swing states
- Conservative media voices say we should run more conservative candidates for president
- More conservative candidates have run conservative campaigns and often lost down-ballot races in crucial swing states
We’ve laid out some problems we need to address; now here is where we attempt to look more deeply at the situation we find ourselves in.
In looking over the election results from the last two presidential elections, we saw Obama lose about 3.5 million votes between his first and second election. We can be reasonably sure Hillary won’t motivate as many people to vote for her as did for Obama in his second election – although anything can happen, I’m pretty sure she won’t be as popular and motivating a figure for the Left as Obama. So given that, our 5 million vote swing we thought we could shoot for in the last article seems possible to hit. A net swing from the 2012 results would give the Republican somewhere around 66 million votes, and the Democrat around 61 million. If you think that’s too ambitious, a 3 million vote swing would leave a Democrat with roughly 63 million. the Republican with around 63.5 million.
Rs win, Hillary is defeated, right?
Not so fast.
Remember, it matters WHERE those votes come from. Let’s look at a map of where the swing states are.
Note that the Republicans start this cycle with an assumed 170 solid electoral votes, and the Democrats with 212. Rs have to pick up over 100 votes from the swing states, whereas Ds only have to come up with 59. Note, too, that the Democrats can do this with just three states – Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. They can almost literally cash out all their efforts in the other 47 states and win simply by holding safe ground and devoting all their energy and resources to keeping those three states.
Are you beginning to see why this series is entitled ‘Uphill Liberty’?
[And before I get the comments about how transformational Donald Trump is, and how he’s going to make reliably Democrat states competitive again, there is zero evidence on which to base statements like that. None. His polling doesn’t reflect that, his campaign spending doesn’t reflect that, his volunteer base doesn’t reflect that, his campaign organization doesn’t reflect that, and his primary and caucus performances were based on such a reduced population (active party primary participants, versus the registered voter population, or even the likely R voter population) that there are no credible assumptions to be made regarding his general election performance. So you can shop that wishcasting elsewhere; here we are attempting to deal in likely outcomes and reasonably reliable trends and wherever possible, hard evidence and actual numbers.]
But let’s go back to that swing. Whether it’s 5 million or 3 million, those votes are going to have to come from somewhere, and after all the previous discussion, we’re clear that in order to get an R victory, those votes have to come from swing states.
New Mexico – Obama won by about 80,000 votes
Arizona – Romney won by around 200,000 votes
Colorado – Obama won by about 140,000 votes
Wisconsin – Obama won by about 110,000 votes
Iowa – Obama won by about 90,000 votes
Ohio – Obama won by about 160,000 votes
Pennsylvania – Obama won by almost 300,000 votes
New Hampshire – Obama won by 40,000 votes
Virginia – Obama won by 150,000 votes
North Carolina – Romney won by 90,000 votes
Florida – Obama won by 75,000 votes
Georgia – Romney won by 300,000
Romney margin in swing states – around 600,000 votes
Obama margin in swing states – around 1.15 million votes
So the 3 million vote swing state strategy isn’t looking so viable now, is it? It requires the Republican candidate to outperform the Obama numbers in almost every swing state, and the bigger the state, the bigger the margin required. For instance, to put Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes in play, the Republican candidate has to either find 300k new R voters, find a way to suppress or depress Democrat turnout, convince around 150k Pennsylvanians to switch parties for the general election, or some combination of the three.
And even if, and that’s a big IF, someone were actually pursuing this ‘new R voters’ goal in, say, Pennsylvania, where would they look for additional votes? We would expect to see some evidence that someone is working on that. Would they go after new young voters? Urban areas, where they could cover more ground easily than the suburbs or rural areas? Via targeted technology or social media campaigns?
Don’t make me laugh. The GOP is hardly welcoming to younger voters. They need the cities, but can’t work up the energy to compete there full time, and drive-by campaigning won’t cut it. And they are getting their clocks cleaned by the Democrats in data.
So who, exactly, is going to woo all of these swing state people to the Republican side, and how will they do it? Where will they find them? Is there any proof that anyone is making efforts to do that?
Those are questions I think we need to think about. And I encourage you to do so until my next installment.
See Part The First HERE