Chris Cillizza writing in the Washington Post
* * *
Republicans have a major electoral-map problem in November. Major.
Donald Trump’s victory last week in Indiana’s primary not only effectively sealed the GOP nomination for the real estate billionaire but also brought into sharp relief how difficult it will be for any Republican to get to 270 electoral votes and beat Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president this fall.
Start here: Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia have voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in every election between 1992 and 2012. Add them up, and you get 242 electoral votes.
By contrast, 13 states have voted for the Republican presidential nominee in each of the past six elections. Total them up and you get 102 electoral votes.
There are two important takeaways from these facts: The generic Democratic nominee starts with an electoral vote lead of 140, and the Democratic nominee needs to find only 28 votes beyond that reliable base to win the presidency.
* ACTUALLY, IT'S NOT REALLY THAT SIMPLE SINCE TRUMP PUTS BLUE STATES INTO PLAY... BUT... YOU FOLKS GET THE AUTHOR'S POINT - RIGHT?
What that means in practical terms is that if Clinton wins the 19 states that every Democratic nominee dating to her husband has won and she wins Florida (29 electoral votes), she wins the White House. It’s that simple.
* THE KEY FOR TRUMP IS WINNING BOTH RED STATES AND BLUE STATES. (YEAH... "DUH"... BUT... MANY OF MY READERS APPARENTLY NEED TO BE REMINDED OF THIS!)
Or if she wins the 19 reliable Democratic states and Virginia (13 electoral votes) and Ohio (18). Or the 19 states plus Nevada (6), Colorado (9) and North Carolina (15).
You get the idea.
* DO YOU FOLKS "GET THE IDEA?" SERIOUSLY... I CHAT WITH MANY OF YOU FOLKS READING THIS ON FB EVERY DAY, AND SOMETIMES IT SEEMS TO ME AS IF A GREAT MANY OF YOU ARE JUST TOO FUCKING STUPID TO FOLLOW THE MATH. (AT LEAST THAT'S THE IMPRESSION I GET VIA SOME OF THE COMMENTARY...)
There are lots and lots and lots of ways for Clinton — or any Democratic nominee — to get to 270 electoral votes. There are very few ways for Trump — or any Republican nominee — to get there.
* DON'T DESPAIR, FOLKS! THAT'S THE THING ABOUT THE TRUMP CANDIDACY; HE - PERSONALLY - HAS THE BEST SHOT AT WINNING RED STATES! AT LEAST IN THEORY, TRUMP CAN WIN STATES CRUZ WOULD NEVER HAVE HAD A SHOT OF WINNING.
It’s easy — and, for many Republicans, useful — to cast this electoral-college morass as Trump’s fault, the obvious outcome of nominating a candidate who has historically high unfavorability numbers among key groups.
* DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE UNFAVORABLES. FOCUS ON THE FAVORABLES! (AND SECONDARILY... FOCUS ON CLINTON'S UNFAVORABLES!)
But to do so ignores recent history. Barack Obama won 365 electoral votes in 2008 and 332 in 2012. The Republican presidential nominee hasn’t crested 300 electoral votes since the 1988 election, when George H.W. Bush won 426. (George W. Bush won the White House with 271 electoral votes in 2000 and claimed a second term with 286.)
* PAPPY BUSH DIDN'T WIN WITH 426 VOTES FOR ANY OTHER REASON THAN THE FACT THAT HE RAN ON CONTINUING PRESIDENT REAGAN'S POLICIES. (AND UPON BEING ELECTED, BUSH STABBED REAGAN IN THE BACK AND STARTED DISMANTLING HIS LEGACY; THE RESULT BEING CLINTON'S ELECTION IN '92.)
Democrats’ electoral-map advantage echoes the clear head start Republicans had during the 1980s, when Bush’s 426 electoral votes were the fewest that the GOP presidential nominee won that decade. Ronald Reagan won the White House in 1980 with 489 electoral votes and followed that up with 525 in 1984.
The current Republican disadvantage in the electoral map is less about any individual candidate than it is about demographics. As the country, and the voting public, has become less white and as Republicans have proved incapable of winning over non-white voters, a number of states have moved toward Democrats over the past decade.
* THE DEMOCRATS WERE BRILLIANT IN PLANTING THE SEEDS OF DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSFORMATION VIA THE 1965 IMMIGRATION "REFORM" BILL.
Perhaps the best example of this movement and how it has hurt Republicans is New Mexico, whose population is almost half Hispanic. In 2004, George W. Bush won the Land of Enchantment in his bid for a second term. (His margin over John F. Kerry was 588 votes.) Eight years later, Obama won the state by 10 percentage points over Mitt Romney; neither side targeted it in any meaningful way. In 2016, it’s not even on the long list of potentially competitive states.
* IT COULD BE WITH TRUMP!
What has become increasingly clear is that any state with a large or growing non-white population has become more difficult for Republicans to win.
Virginia and North Carolina, long Republican strongholds, have moved closer and closer to Democrats of late. (Obama won both states in 2008 and carried Virginia in 2012.)
* VIRGINIA IS A SPECIAL CASE: EVEN THE WHITE VOTE... PARTICULARLY THE MIDDLE, UPPER-MIDDLE, AND UPPER CLASS WHITE VOTE... IS UP FOR GRABS BECAUSE MANY OF THESE PEOPLE DEPEND UPON GOVERNMENT JOBS (DEPEND DIRECTLY) OR GOVERNMENT CONTRACT-SUPPORTED (INDIRECT) EMPLOYMENT.
* FOLKS... UNDERSTAND... THE WELFARE STATE ISN'T JUST ABOUT FOOD-STAMPS AND THE LIKE; IT'S ABOUT "BRIBING" ALL SORTS OF AMERICANS VIA ALL SORTS OF GOVERNMENT LARGESS. (FINANCED THROUGH TAXES AND BORROWING.)
At the same time, as these states have grown friendlier to Democrats, there are very few states that are growing increasingly Republican. Wisconsin and Minnesota are two, but neither is moving rapidly in Republicans’ favor just yet.
Trump isn’t to blame for any of that. But his remarkably high disapproval numbers among Hispanics and his hard-line stance on illegal immigration — we are going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it! — could make what is already a huge demographic or electoral-map problem for Republicans even worse.
* SEE... THE AUTHOR IS TOO LIMITED IN HIS THINKING TO UNDERSTAND THAT TRUMP'S STANCE ACTUALLY PLAYS WELL WITH MANY BLACK AND INDEED EVEN WITH MANY HISPANICS. UNDERSTAND, FOLKS, IT'S OUR OWN POOR AND LOWER MIDDLE CLASS WHO DIRECTLY COMPETE WITH ILLEGAL (AND LEGAL) IMMIGRANTS FOR JOBS AND A PIECE OF THE AMERICAN DREAM. THESE PEOPLE - AFRICAN-AMERICANS AND HISPANIC-AMERICANS - COULD BE AND SHOULD BE NATURAL TRUMP SUPPORTERS.
A poll released Sunday in Georgia shows Trump at 42% to Clinton’s 41%. Arizona, long a Republican stronghold at the presidential level, could be in play this year because of Trump’s terrible numbers among Hispanics.
* AGAIN... THE AUTHOR'S WORLDVIEW IS SEVERELY LIMITED BY HIS MISTAKEN LIBERAL ASSUMPTIONS.
The counter-argument made by Trump allies is that he can make the industrial Midwest more competitive than past Republican nominees because of his strengths among white male voters.
* NOT... JUST... WHITE... MALE... VOTERS...
Wins in Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania would certainly open up the map for Republicans in ways that recent nominees have been unable to do. But, so far at least, there’s scant polling evidence that Trump can put those states in play in the fall.
* IGNORE THE POLLS. AND FOLKS... REMEMBER... THE LEFT AND THEIR MEDIA ALLIES ARE GONNA USE THEIR PORTRAYAL OF THE POLLS AS A WEAPON AGAINST TRUMP - AS THEY WOULD AGAINST ANY REPUBLICAN NOMINEE. DON'T TAKE ANYTHING YOU READ AT FACE VALUE. AND REMEMBER... LIKE "DR. HOUSE" USED TO SAY... "EVERYBODY LIES."
Trump doesn’t help matters. But the Republican map problem goes deeper than him — or any one candidate. Blaming Trump for a loss in November would not only miss the point but may ensure that Republicans are doomed to repeat history in 2020.
* PERFECT EXAMPLE OF WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. THE AUTHOR TALKS ABOUT 2020 AS IF REPUBLICANS COULD LOSE IN 2016 YET WIN AFTER FOUR MORE YEARS OF INCREASING DEMOCRATIC VOTER NUMBERS. RIDICULOUS! BUT THAT'S HIS SUBTLE WAY OF TRYING TO DEPRESS THE REPUBLICAN VOTE IN 2016.
* FOLKS... I CAN'T STRESS STRONGLY ENOUGH THAT THIS YEAR IS MAKE OR BREAK FOR OUR COUNTRY AND THAT THE LEFT... AND THE RINOs... ARE GOING TO DO EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER TO SEE THAT THEIR POWER IS RETAINED, STRENGTHENED, AND SET IN CONCRETE VIA A WIN IN NOVEMBER THAT WOULD SIGNIFY "GAME OVER."