Cross-posted at The Next Right.
Politico‘s Charlie Mahtesian and Amie Parnes wrote an article yesterday about the “Five Places Obama Should Go,” and four out of the five areas they identified were places where he struggled against Clinton: Broward County, FL (Jews), Youngstown, OH (blue-collar, gun-owning Catholics), San Antonio (Latinos) and Mingo Couny, WV (“the heart of the anti-Obama belt”). The fifth suggestion — Maricopa County, AZ — was clearly aimed at McCain.
If four out of the five places Obama has to go are aimed at shoring up his base, it means he still has plenty of loose ends to tie up from the primary before he starts trying to win over independents and Republicans.
With that in mind, where are the five places that McCain should go?
This is a tough one, since most of his weaknesses seem to be more personal (age, speaking skills, Bush) rather than geographic. Still, I think visiting areas where Obama is vulnerable and putting him on the defensive would be a smart move — So, how about:
- Ohio River Valley Tour — From Pittsburgh to St. Louis — When it comes to the Ohio River Valley, the bad news for the GOP is that the party’s brand is in poor shape in this border region and has been resulting in substantial loses on the congressional level (think PA-04, OH-18, KY-03, IN-08 and IN-09, and the near-miss in OH-02). The good news for the GOP is that Obama is very unpopular here and was pummeled by Hillary in the primaries. In one trip, McCain could hit competitive areas in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Missouri, while also challenging the myth that Kentucky could become competitve and even making a symbolic swing through the Land of Lincoln.
- Fairfield County, Conn. — A campaign stop with New York-area Jews and Joe Lieberman would inevitably shine a light on Obama’s comments about Iran and would fan media speculation that the state could become competitive. And Henry Kissinger lives in Kent, an hour up the beautiful Housatonic Valley from Fairfield County — perhaps he could lend an opinion on Obama’s foreign policy?
- Northern Suburbs of Milwaukee, Wis. — The suburbs will be key nationwide and Wisconsin is a vital target state for the GOP. The north and west ‘burbs of Milwaukee also “remain overwhelmingly Republican,” notes Democratic pollster Paul Maslin. But “If Obama can crack them to any degree he probably wins the state by several points.” Besides shoring up support with voters, a McCain appearance in the “Beer Capital of the World” would also remind the media that he’s the beer track candidate and Obama is the wine track one. It would also be smart to campaign with fellow Teddy Roosevelt Republican Tommy Thompson.
- Grand Rapids — Michigan might be Obama’s most blue vulnerable state and Gerald Ford’s hometown is at the ideological intersection of what Patrick Ruffini once called “the real dividing lines of” the GOP primary — wealthy suburbanites, religious conservatives and Ford-like mainline moderates. A smart sidekick would be Mitt Romney, who beat McCain in Grand Rapids by a 38-31% margin.
- Iowa, Early and Often — Iowa might be McCain’s most vulnerable state; he clearly has never built much of an operation here. He needs to visit Iowa… repeatedly.
Posted in Arizona, Barack Obama, Connecticut, Florida, John McCain, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Tagged Arizona, Barack Obama, Connecticut, Electoral Map, Florida, John McCain, Michigan, Ohio, Politics, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin
If you buy the McCain camp’s suggestion that his home state is going to be a battelground this Fall, then to use the words of George Straight, “I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona / From my front porch you can see the sea / I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona / And if you’ll buy that I’ll throw the Golden Gate in free.”
It’s a whopper of a suggestion if I’ve every heard one.
The McCain camp sent out a “Strategy Briefing” last week with a list of battleground states that included some pretty strange choices, most notably his home state of Arizona. Maybe it was an attempt to bait the Obama campaign, or more likely the media, but its seems like a couple of lefty blogs have been the only ones to bite.
FiveThirtyEight.com notes that Washington Independent observed that “In a clear signal that Arizona’s 10 electoral votes are up for grabs, the McCain campaign has added Arizona to its list of 24 ‘battleground states’ with their 242 electoral votes.” The Huffington Post subsequently followed suit and picked up the article.
Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com posted his own reaction to the McCain’s briefing today, smartly observing that “Even without that home state effect, Arizona would lag a few points behind pickup opportunities like Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, largely because of its large retiree population. Is it possible that Obama could win Arizona? Sure (although our model assigns him only a 4 percent chance). Is Arizona likely to make the difference between winning and losing the election? Probably not.”
I agree. Arizona is a changing at the state level with Dems gaining more offices despite districts that heavily favor the GOP. But it’s going to be a while before Dems can win the Land of Barry Goldwater in a presidential election.
In a fascinating article in The American Prospect today, Tom Schaller dissects whether or not John McCain will thwart the Democrats’ hopes to capture the southwest in 2008. He makes the usual key points that McCain has good name recognition in the West and has a good rep with Hispanics.
But Schaller also adds some counterpoints that I hadn’t thought about. The Arizona senator might face pressure from both conservatives who have issues with “Juan McCain” and Hispanics who think that he walked away from the immigration bill when the going got tough. Popular Democratic govs and Senate candidates could also offer a reverse-coattail effect.
But Schaller ends with perhaps the most important point: The West is growing at such a rapid clip that it’s tough to handicap these voters. As Schaller notes, “the Southwest should be the most difficult to project because Arizona, Nevada and Colorado are consistently the three fastest growing states in the nation, and therefore the hardest to figure out.”
Posted in Arizona, Colorado, John McCain, Nevada, New Mexico, Southwest
Tagged Arizona, Colorado, Electoral Map, John McCain, Nevada, New Mexico, Politics, Southwest
Rocky Mountain Way
Here in Youngstown
- Obama piled up delegates by winning small states with caucuses. [National Journal]
Posted in Arizona, Barack Obama, California, Demographics, Hillary Clinton, Ohio, Texas, West, Wisconsin
Tagged Arizona, Barack Obama, California, Demographics, Hillary Clinton, Ohio, Texas, West, Wisconsin
A lot of stuff to cover today.
- Each of the frontrunning GOP candidates has a primary in his home state tomorrow. [Politico]
- Romney could win the popular vote in California, but loose the delegate count to McCain [The Barrometer]
- It’s almost certain that Obama and Hillary will tie California’s delegates. [Trailhead]
- Hillary gives Patriots fans a kick in the groin. [Massachusetts Liberal]
- A scenario in which Obama beats Hillary in New York on the way to a sweep. [The Nation]
- Obama’s red-state barnstorm. [Politics West]
- Nasty weather nationwide tomorrow. [The Weather Channel]
- Arizona, Connecticut, California, Massachusetts and Missouri are still tossups in the Dem race. [The Atlantic]
- Democrats target the Navajo Nation straddling Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. [The Caucus]
- Polls and analysis for every GOP contest have McCain winning 500+ delegates. [NRO]
- Mark McKinnon on the difference between Texas and New York… from Grand Central Station. [The Page]
Posted in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Super Tuesday, Texas, Utah
Tagged Arizona, California, Electoral Map, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Super Tuesday, Texas, Utah
Simon Rosenberg and Pete Leyden believe that Democrts could be poised for a generation takeover, much in the same way that FDR ushered in a new era in 1932 and Ronald Reagan redrew the map in 1980. In the latest issue of Mother Jones, the two Democratic strategist lay out their blueprint for that new order.
They argue that a key component is focusing on the so-called “Hispanic Belt.” If Democrats turn blue Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico and hold states that voted Democratic in 2000 and 2004, then they would capture 277 electoral votes.
But Rosenberg and Leyden think that the Southwest Strategy might just be the beginning. They add:
“Adding Florida would put it at 304. If you throw in swing states where Democrats have scored impressive wins in recent years—Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia, maybe even Arkansas—Democrats could construct a durable majority of 354 electoral votes: landslide territory.”
Of course, this theory is flush with “if’s.” For starters, it assumes that blue states from 2000 and 2004 are part of the Democratic “base.” Is Michigan part of the base? Or Wisconsin? The article also assumes that Democrats can woo recent immigrants without alienating other groups — a tall task in border states where immigration is a hyper-sensitive issue. Lastly, it references Thomas Schaller, author of “Whistling Past Dixie.” Do Rosenberg and Leyden endorse Schaller’s thesis that Democrats should cede the South? And does that include Virginia?
Rosenberg and Leyden’s three supporting maps are below. The first outlines the Hispanic Belt; the second highlights the Southwestern Strategy; and the third presents “landslide territory.”
UPDATE: I talked with Simon and he clarified some points. He said that Democrats should not cede any part of the country, but it’s possible to win the White House without winning the South. If Dems pick off Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico — the so-called “Hispanic Belt” — then Republicans will have to win states that they haven’t won since 1988.
He added that 1 million immigrants were naturalized in 2006, which is a record, and almost all of them were Hispanic. He also noted that if Hispanic election results from 2006 were plugged into the 2004 elections, John Kerry would have won.
Posted in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Presidential, Race, South, Southwest, States
Tagged Arizona, Colorado, ElectoralMap, Nevada, New Mexico, Presidential, South, Southwest, States