Tag Archives: Texas

Obama’s Anti-Kerry Strategy = Genius

In an interview with Politico‘s Ben Smith published this morning, Obama field director Steve Hildebrand vowed that their team would be spending a lot of time and money in Bush country this Fall. He named 14 red states, some of which were close in 2004 and some of which Kerry didn’t even consider, and he also vowed to give resources to down-ticket races in ruby red states like Bush’s Texas and Cheney‘s Wyoming.

The move is genius.

A big reason why Kerry lost is because he had tunnel vision and couldn’t see beyond a handful of competitive swing states in the Midwest, a failed strategy for several reasons: First, it oversaturates the target voters; secondly, it discourages friendly voters in unfriendly states (in this case Dems in red states) from getting involved; and thirdly and most importantly, it sends a very poor signal to the electorate in neglected states (in Kerry’s case the Heartland and South).

When a candidate puts all his chips on one hand, half of the time he’s going to end up felted.

Of course, resources are always an issue and something Kerry didn’t have in abundance. But as Smith notes in the Politico article, “Hilebrand’s plans underscore the unusual scope and ambition of Obama’s campaign, which can relatively cheaply extend its massive volunteer and technological resources into states which won’t necessarily produce electoral votes.”

And the ROI could be substantial. As Hokie fan Daivd “Mudcat” Saunders points out this week in the brilliant Weekly Standard cover piece “When Bubba Meets Obama,” when Dems pick off a Republican voter, it’s a “twofer” — one for Obama, and one less for McCain. Instead, Mudcat says, Dems often fall into the habit of “hunting squirrels they’ve already killed” (more on this story later).

Mudcat will probably be happy to know that the campaign has promised to contest 14 states that Bush carried in ’04 — “The closest four, Iowa, New Mexico, Ohio, Nevada, [Hildebrand] said, would see ‘a ton of attention.'” The campaign also plans to fight for Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Virginia, North Carolina, Montana, North Dakota, Indiana, Georgia and Alaska. Hildebrand also said they’d be spending a lot of time in New Hampshire, and in my personal favorite: Nebraska’s 2nd District.

I think it’s a smart move, and one that will certainly give The Electoral Map a lot to talk about in upcoming months.

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The Five Places McCain Should Go

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Thoughts?

Could Richardson Have Helped Obama Win Texas?

If Bill Richardson had endorsed Barack Obama before the Texas prima-caucus, could he have helped the Illinois senator win?

Hillary Clinton won El Paso by 41,000 votes. If Richardson had campaign there and cut Obama loses to, say, 30,000 to 35,000, and also picked off a few thousands voters in small counties across west Texas, then it would have been much closer.

But would it have been enough to give Obama the Lone Star State?

Texas Democratic Electoral Map (New York Times)

Texas Democratic Electoral Map

The Electoral Map Daily Compass: Who Won Texas?

The two major discussions in the electoral-map-osphere over the weekend were the debate over SurveyUSA’s 50 state polls that show both Obama and Clinton building winning geographic coalitions over McCain, and Jonathan Martin‘s observation that Hillary is running strong in Scots-Irish Appalachia.

If you’re interested in SurveyUSA’s polls check out my post from Friday, complete with the best maps and links to further analysis.

If you want to read about the Scots-Irish, J-Mart wrote a follow-up to his post about Appalachian demographics last week.  Josh Patashnik at TNR.com takes it a step further and explains why highland voters are buying Clinton’s message.

In other electoral map news:

  • A Democrat wins in Reagan Country. [John Fund]
  • A throwback article from 1999: America’s Dovish North and Hawkish South. [Foreign Affairs]
  • (It’s non-political, but) really cool map renditions of pre-colonial Manhattan. [Manhatta Project]

Lastly, Ben Smith catches the Obama camp suggesting that Texas turned out differently than it actually did.  The map below is one that Smith sniped from the Obama web site.

Obama Electoral Map

Super Tuesday II Maps: Hillary Confirms Her Coalition

Hillary Clinton made another first down last night, but it wasn’t enough to put her into the lead. She also reaffirmed the narrative that she has strong support in blue-collar and Latino communities, winning the Rust-Belt state of Ohio by 10 points and the border state of Texas by four.

In Ohio, she took the two counties surrounding Youngstown — the town that Springsteen lamented was littered by “scrap and rubble” — by a combined 46,000 votes. It was a clear display of her appeal in economically depressed areas.

In Texas, she won El Paso — the town that lent its name to a salsa — by 41,255 votes, and took Hidalgo County — home to the border-boomtown of McAllen — by 39,603. Those wide margins of victories demonstrated her appeal with Latinos.

For his part, Barack Obama made up significant ground in the last two weeks and nearly clipped Hilary in Texas, but geographically, he doesn’t have much to brag about.

In Ohio, he won only the counties that house Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati (and one more bordering Columbus) and lost 83 counties. In Texas, he won 25 counties — mostly pocketed around Dallas, Austin and Houston — and lost 226 counties. Obama’s dependence on urban votes certainly didn’t do much to prove his argument that he has appeal in traditionally red areas.

On the GOP side, McCain swept all 88 counties in Ohio and won 184 in Texas. Mike Huckabee was able to take a cluster near the Arkansas border that rippled southwest from Texarkana (which by the way he won by 48 points).

Oh yeah, and there were elections in Vermont and Rhode Island on Tuesday, too. McCain won every county in the GOP contests in both states, Obama swept the Green Mountain State and Hillary swept the Ocean State.

Texas Democratic Electoral Map (New York Times)

Texas Democratic Electoral Map

Texas Democratic Electoral Map (New York Times)

Texas Democratic Electoral Map

Texas Republican Electoral Map (New York Times)

Texas Republican Electoral Map

Ohio Democratic Electoral Map (New York Times)

Ohio Democratic Electoral Map

Ohio Democratic Electoral Map (New York Times)

Ohio Democratic Electoral Map

Texas Republican Electoral Map (New York Times)

Ohio Republican Electoral Map

Super Tuesday II

The Electoral Map will have Super Tuesday II results as soon as they’re available.  McCain is cruising to big victories in Texas and Ohio, and according to Huck —  who is giving his concession speech as I type this — the Arizona senator “will achieve the 1,191 delegates to become the Republican nominee.”

On the Dem side, Hill is looking unexpectedly strong in Ohio and Obama is winning in Texas.  Vermont has great local beers and Rhode Island has awesome chowdah, but neither state has many delegates.  That being said, Obama and McCain won the Green Mountain State, and the Ocean State is too close to call.

I’ll post the full results as they come in — stay tuned!

Texas Demographic Primer: Who Will Jerry Jones Vote For?

My first-hand knowledge of Texas is pretty slim. I know I hate the Cowboys and loved “No Country for Old Men.” The extent of my time in Texas consists of a few hours at the Bennigan’s bar at the Dallas airport during a layover.

But from what I’ve read, Texas seems to be a booming state with a vast pool of a cheap labor and a diversifying economy. Its population surged 84 percent between 1965 and 1997 and it surpassed New York as the second most-populous state in the mid-1990’s. Texas is also slated to add another four congressional seats after the 2010 reapportionment, which is more than any other state.

But the state also seems to be in a political and economic ebb. The exurban sprawl around Dallas has stalled thanks to widespread home foreclosures, and Texas’ clout in Washington is the lowest its been in decades. The AP reported in January:

“For much of the 20th century, Texans also held power positions in congressional and executive branch. Before [George W.] Bush, [Lyndon] Johnson and his father George H.W. Bush held the White House. Johnson and the elder Bush had also served as vice president and in Congress.

“Texans Sam Rayburn, Jim Wright and Dick Armey were majority leaders in the House, followed by Tom DeLay. At mid-century, some half a dozen committee chairmanships belonged to Texans.”

In anticipation of Texas’ March 4 primacaucus, the New York Times produced a comprehensive primer of the state’s demographics. Asking “Will Obama’s Momentum Dent Clinton’s Dominance Among Latinos and Rural Voters,” the paper analyzed where the candidates can expect to do well.

In doing so, the Times defines and explains the many regions in the Lone Star State from “the frontier-conservative Texas of Amarillo, in the Panhandle” to the “vast, immigrant-heavy Texas of Houston.”

One new fact I learned was that “Congress decided in 1845, the year [Texas] joined the Union, might well be later divided into four more states should it consent.” Times reporter Randy Kennedy adds that the “provision stemmed from the debate over slavery, but it was an acknowledgement of the state’s unwieldy size and stark geographical differences.”

In his 1981 book “The Nine Nations of North America,Joel Garreau envisioned Texas as a crossroads between three civilizations. He argued that the lands of “MexAmerica,” “The Breakbasket” and “Dixie” all converge in the Lone Star State.

Speaking about Texas, Garreau once told a panel:

“One of the most interesting triangles in the continent [is] the one between Dallas-Fort Worth in the north, Houston in the southeast, and San Antonio to the west. These three are among the 10 largest cities in America. And there is a great battle going on for who is going to be the dominating influence in this triangle.

“San Antonio is clearly MexAmerica. This is a majority Hispanic town…. Dallas-Fort Worth has some of the charm so that you could marginally consider it Dixie, but it also has this cheerful arrogance that marks it to a certain extent Breadbasket.

“And there is Houston, where you have the Dixie influence in that there is still a very large black minority…. And of course you also have the Hispanic influence. And so these three nations – the Breadbasket, Dixie, and are warring over this important triangle. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure who is winning.”

Times reporter Kennedy divides the state in smaller subsets, noting that Texas is “separated in 20 media markets, the most of any state of the county.”

Any way you slice it, Texas has some of the best (TexMex food) and the worst (the Cowboys) to offer the country, and it’s gotta be a hell of a tough time to campaign there.

Texas Demographics (New York Times)

Texas Demographics

Nine Nations of North America

Nine Nations of North America

Religion in Texas (The Association of Religion Data Archives h/t Jonathan Martin) Martin: “The brigher the shade of red the more Southern Baptist congregations (naturally metro Houston and Dallas have more in pure numbers).”

Religion in Texas

2004 Texas Electoral Map (CNN.com)

2004 Texas Electoral Map

National Media Markets (Wikipedia)

National Media Markets

Dallas-Fort Worth Media Market

Dallas-Fort Worth Media Market