Monday, February 8, 2016

What About Electability?

 [Guest Contributor - Donald G. Mutersbaugh Sr.]

I am going to direct the majority of this blog to the question of electability. It seems as if all of the current articles address the issue of whether or not the next President will be capable of running the country. This is obviously a very important issue during any election cycle, but it seems as if the commentators and political pundits are more interested in destroying Trump than in critically analyzing his capabilities and what type of a President he really would be. For example, I have not read any articles suggesting who Trump might select as his Vice President and how that might reshape the debate. And an even bigger issue is the formation of his Cabinet; can there be any doubt that Trump would put together nothing less than a stellar Cabinet of the best qualified people from all parties, from all people, in all disciplines? He is more concerned about the country than the politics.


Dr. Charles Krauthammer in one of his latest articles states: Trump winning the nomination would convulse the Republican Party, fracture the conservative movement and undermine the GOP's identity and role as the country's conservative party. The problem is his, shall we say, eclectic populism. I was stunned when I read this article. It is evident that he does not like Trump and will write misleading articles like this to discredit him. For him to say that people perceive him as being uninformed, but popular and charismatic is ridiculous. Even if it is true, Krauthammer is missing the main point that the majority of the people like Trump because he is anti-establishment, says it like it is, and cannot be bought off or intimidated. However, the numbers do suggest that Trump must improve both in delivering his identified supporters and in swaying undecided voters. This includes attracting new voters. After Iowa, new questions arose about Trump's ground game and his ability to turn his front-running poll numbers into actual votes. More will be known after the New Hampshire primary.


And what about the National Review who published anti-Trump essays from over 20 conservative thinkers? Where were these so-called conservatives when the Establishment ran the national debt to $21 trillion? Or trying to cut deals on illegal immigration? America is fed up with business as usual and most have had enough. These conservatives are part of the same hypocrisy of the Establishment that Trump is challenging – and they don’t like it! The Establishment just doesn’t get the fact that people are fed up with being lied to, hearing promises that’ll never be kept, and seeing the influence of lobbyists and Wall Street on the legislative process. Interestingly enough, the Democratic Party has the same sort of problem with Clinton (especially when Biden decided not to run); now they have Sanders who is doing more than threatening to finish a strong second!


A rather substantial barrier may exist, however, for Trump (or the Republican nominee): the so-called Blue Wall. The Blue Wall is defined as follows:


Blue wall” is a term used by some political analysts and pundits referring to the theory that in Presidential elections in the United States, the Democratic Party has, in the past few cycles, established such an advantage in many states that the electoral map makes a Republican victory an uphill battle from the start. Behind this “blue wall” lie states, many carrying a high number of electoral votes, which appear to be solidly behind the Democratic Party, at least on the national level, and which a Republican candidate would likely have to write off, seeking a total of 270 votes from other regions. States behind this wall lie generally in the northeast, and west coast, and include some of the Great Lakes states. In each of the past 6 election cycles, the Democratic Party has won 18 of these states (as well as the District of Columbia), totaling 242 of the necessary 270 votes need to win.


A very good analysis was made by Michael Barone in an article dated February 15, 2015: Do Republicans have a realistic chance to win the next presidential election? Some analysts suggest the answer is no. They argue that there is a 240-electoral-vote “blue wall” of 18 states and D.C. that have gone Democratic in the last six presidential elections.


A Democratic nominee needs only 30 more electoral votes to win the presidency, they note accurately. A Republican nominee, they suggest, has little chance of breaking through the blue wall. He (or she) would have to win 270 of the 298 other electoral votes.


He continues: Democrats do have an advantage in the electoral vote, because heavily Democratic clusters clinch about 170 electoral votes for them, while Republicans have a lock on only about 105. But the blue wall theory, like all political rules of thumb, is true only till it's not. And this one could easily prove inoperative in a competitive 2016 race. I would strongly recommend that you read the entire article:


Another good article on the Blue Wall was written by Darrell Delamaide on November 26, 2014. His conclusion: In short, a Republican candidate can win only by capturing all nine swing states and flipping a dyed-in-the-wool blue state, which Ladd considers virtually impossible.


Of course, the past may not be prologue, and it is possible for the “Blue Wall” to be broken. Nate Silver, a brilliant psephologist, in a May 12, 2015 article presents an incredibly detailed analysis of this phenomenon that concludes:


But for now? The Electoral College just isn’t worth worrying about much. If you see analysts talking about the “blue wall,” all they’re really saying is that Democrats have won a bunch of presidential elections lately — an obvious fact that probably doesn’t have much predictive power for what will happen this time around.


I’m not saying Clinton is doomed. Rather, I think the “fundamentals” point toward her chances being about 50-50, and I wouldn’t argue vigorously if you claimed the chances were more like 60-40 in one or the other direction. But Clinton is no sort of lock, and if she loses the popular vote by even a few percentage points, the “blue wall” will seem as archaic as talk of a permanent Republican majority. This article is also a “must read”:


I wrote this to primarily keep this whole process in focus. As we go through the primaries, please keep in mind that there is this pesky thing called the Electoral College. The popular vote on a state-by-state basis will probably yield some nail biting moments!


Donald G. Mutersbaugh, Sr. earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland and his Master of Business Administration degree from Mary Washington College. He is the former Associate Administrator of Information Resources for the U.S House of Representatives under Speaker Newt Gingrich.

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