Wednesday, July 25, 2012
the electoral path to 538?
So... there's a total of 538 electoral votes. The first candidate to reach 270 wins the presidency. Most political pundits will concede the following strategy. If Mitt can win 5 out of 7 key swing states, he could get to 270. Obama can lose some of the ground gained in '08 (states like Indiana and North Carolina) and still do a victory lap if he keeps Ohio or Florida. It's simply a matter of math.
Well, here's something to think about. I believe the entire system is geared toward playing out the above scenario - swing state battleground strategies. All the money, all the advertising, all the conventional political wisdom, all the media, all the campaign strategies...
But what if you build an entirely new hypothetical political structure. That being ALL or NOTHING. Think about this scenario.
Question: Is there a way for Obama to get all 538 electoral votes?
Answer: No. If the political atmosphere remains constant, there's no fucking way. Even in the event of a perceived national emergency, I imagine his popularity would markedly decline.
Question: But is there a conceivable path for Romney to get all 538 electoral votes?
Answer: Possibly. What if the current administration gets hit with a national tragedy? Corruption or scandal of epic proportion?
If I was forced to pick a candidate and place a wager on the all or nothing prospect, I'd easily pick Romney. It's a no-brainer. Only a fool would take Obama.
My point is this... there's no absolutely no way Obama could run the entire table. But I could easily envision a bunch of scenarios where Mitt Romney decimates his competitor. Sorry, I'm not going to specify this time (with the exception of the stampedes, most are conspiratorial in nature). But all that's required is a "change" in the national dialogue - a new topic that whips up a frenzy, diverting attention from all the routine discussions of the economy, jobs, taxing and spending, immigration, gun rights, war on terror, abortion, etc.
What if the entire "political build-up" from the big 3 networks is getting it wrong? What if their conventional methodology of the whole process is solely based on the routine (grounded in the past)? Yeah, I know. It's all about the swing states. What if a new dynamic is introduced and it takes precedence over all the regular issues? What if an entirely new crop of swing states swiftly emerged? All the current purple states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania) suddenly shifted into the red column and places like Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, etc. became the new purple states. What if this literally happened overnight?
If I were trying to win the election for Romney (trust me, the thought of him being president terrifies me), I would be searching for that change in the narrative. Something big (likely a disaster) needs to happen for Romney to pull this one out. If there's no major change in the "narrative," I'm pretty sure Obama uncomfortably glides into a second term.
In 2004, John Kerry barely lost the electoral college to George W. Bush. But during the entire race, it seemed like he was resigned to his fate. McCain lost by a vastly wider margin in 2008. He also seemed content to lose. My point... I don't think Romney or anyone on his campaign team share this "eventually grind out a loss" philosophy. I think Mitt fully expects to be president in 2012. Therefore, I believe it's reasonable to conclude that the "overall dynamic" will likely change in the next 100+ days. Just something to think about.