National Politics - 2016

Electoral Math: Base Problems All Around

2016 “FRINGES” NOW DOMINATING THE DEBATE … Electoral math has become increasingly tricky for “Republicans” in recent years.  The GOP – a.k.a. the “other” party of big government – starts every national election at a decided disadvantage, one that seems to be growing steeper every four years. Oh, and they seem oblivious…


Electoral math has become increasingly tricky for “Republicans” in recent years.  The GOP – a.k.a. the “other” party of big government – starts every national election at a decided disadvantage, one that seems to be growing steeper every four years.

Oh, and they seem oblivious as to how to fix it …

Here’s the root “Republican” problem: There are 538 votes in the Electoral College, and as things currently stand it’s twice as easy for Democrats to win a majority of those votes as it is for the GOP.

Let’s do the math: Guaranteed “D” states California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Washington State, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Oregon, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Maine, Hawaii, Vermont, Delaware and the District of Columbia give Democratic nominees 227 electoral votes right out of the gate.

“Republicans,” on the other hand, rely on Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Utah, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming for with their base of 191 electoral votes.

So, with 418 electoral votes on “lock down” that means the race hinges on 120 “swing” electoral votes – of which Democrats must win just forty-three to capture the White House.  Meanwhile “Republicans” have to win seventy-nine of those electoral votes to get to 270.

Hence our “twice as hard” comment.

How did they do with these “swing” electoral votes in 2012?  Not well.  “Republican” nominee Mitt Romney won the 191 electoral votes he was supposed to win – and narrowly captured North Carolina, adding fifteen electoral votes to his column.

But that was it …

Barack Obama captured the 227 electoral votes he was supposed to … and went on to claim the swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire for an additional 105 electoral votes.

In other words he won.  Big.  Over a GOP candidate who was billed as the party’s most “electable.”



The 2012 campaign exposed in no uncertain terms looming fault lines within the “Republican” party.  Awarded control of the U.S. House of Representatives by the Tea Party movement back in 2010, the GOP veered wildly to the left under former U.S. Speaker John Boehner – betraying the limited government expectations of its base supporters.

Meanwhile its “electable” presidential nominee veered all over the place … making it abundantly clear in the process that libertarians and Tea Party backers were not welcome in the his tent.

Was Romney hurt by third party candidate Gary Johnson (the fiscally conservative, socially libertarian candidate who was endorsed by this website in the general election)?  Not electorally, no.

Johnson and other third party candidates received just 1.7 percent of the vote in the pivotal swing state of Ohio – which was less than Obama’s 1.9 percent margin of victory.  In Virginia third party candidates got 1.4 percent of the vote – less than half of Obama’s three-point margin of victory.

Only in Florida did third party support – at 0.9 percent – actually outdistance Obama’s margin of victory (0.5 percent).

Still, as we noted, there’s much more to consider than third party votes cast on behalf of a particular candidate … what about the votes that weren’t cast?

Broad swaths of the GOP electorate simply sat on their hands rather than vote for a liberal candidate like Romney.  Also, Romney’s margins of defeat in states like Ohio (107,241), Virginia (100,499), Florida (46,666) and New Hampshire (40,421) are instructive when compared to the primary vote totals of libertarian-leaning candidate Ron Paul.

During the 2012 GOP primary, Paul drew 113,256 votes in Ohio, 107,451 in Virginia, 117,461 votes in Florida and 56,872 in New Hampshire.

Did all of his voters stay home in November?  Probably not … but many of them clearly did.

Oh, and if you take those states (and their 64 combined electoral votes), Obama’s total in the Electoral College drops to 268 and Romney’s jumps to 270.  In other words, those four states were the difference between President Romney and four more years of Obama.

(Assuming you believed there was ever much of a difference to begin with).



As the 2016 election cycle takes shape, the angst of the “Republican” base has almost consumed the party establishment – giving rise to the populist, politically correct appeal of billionaire businessman Donald Trump.

But there’s a base problem in the camp of presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, too.

Sure, Clinton currently enjoys a huge 25 percentage point lead over independent socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.  But Sanders is ahead of Clinton in early-voting New Hampshire, and crowds at his political rallies have been big and energetic.

There’s also a belief among those occupying the far left that Clinton is “Republican lite,” sort of like the far right viewed Romney as “Democrat lite.”

They’re also not fans of her corporate cronyism and “neoconservative” warmongering.

“I strongly believe that Hillary will kill the momentum that has been generated over the last eight years by Barack Obama, the first liberal (not progressive) Democrat to be president in years – and that will do more damage to the Democratic brand than four years of a Republican president would do to the country,” liberal Walter Bragman recently wrote for Salon.  “I am not saying that four years of a Republican would not be worse for the country than four years of Hillary in the immediate; I am saying that four years of Hillary will do more long-term damage by prolonging the Democratic realignment.”

Bragman isn’t alone.  Another columnist for Salon wrote last month that Clinton had “evolved towards Republican viewpoints on war, foreign policy, Wall Street, and other issues.”

“I have a great deal of respect for Hillary Clinton and admire her attempt at healthcare in the ’90s,” H.A. Goodman wrote, prior to wishing “the Hillary Clinton of the early ’90s were around today.”

She’s not, though … and Sanders is filling that void with an uncompromising energy.

Like Paul on the GOP side, Sanders is an unapologetic ideologue – meaning the supporters he attracts are far more likely to stay at home on Election Day if there is no candidate on the ballot who represents their views.  In fact this problem compounds itself for Clinton in a general election.  If she runs to the middle, she loses Sanders and his backers.  If she runs to the left in an effort to bring them into her fold – she loses the middle.

At this point, Clinton is hoping progressive fear of a GOP president will keep Sanders’ supporters in line.

“I think it’s very dangerous to look at the alternatives and believe that your staying home is a responsible choice,” she said recently when asked if she had a message for disillusioned Sanders’ supporters. “It’s hard for me to believe that anybody who would support Senator Sanders would want to see any of the Republicans elected president of the United States.  I would just ask that when this nomination is wrapped up that they come and join with us to make sure that we don’t turn the White House back over to the Republicans.”

That’s hardly the sort of appeal an ideologue would give much thought … and it could create major electoral math problems for Clinton in the event she captures the Democratic nod.

Bottom line?  Both the liberal and conservative bases are in open revolt against the two-party establishment in Washington, D.C., which is presenting very real problems for potential standard-bearers looking to get to 270 in 2016.


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Voter Math December 23, 2015 at 11:48 am

the electoral college in general needs a complete overhaul. there arent enough delegates to actually represent the voters, delegates are not bound to vote the way their district wants, and often their vote doesnt even count because of “super delegates”

we have the technology to go to a strait popular vote, with no need for the electoral college at all.

regardless, neither party actually represents the will of the people, so its insane to change the rules to make it easier for one party or another to gain votes. the way democracy works is if you arent popular you get voted out, you dont change the rules to make it not matter as much that you arent popular

vicupstate December 23, 2015 at 11:53 am

Super delegates are for nominations, not the Electoral College. All Electoral College delegates must be elected.

Colonel Mustard December 23, 2015 at 11:56 am

Kid, you don’t know crap. There are super delegates at party conventions not in the Electoral College. And that is the STRAIGHT truth.

pogo December 23, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Sorry, I’m only interested in the GAY truth. LMAO!!!

Terry December 23, 2015 at 12:20 pm

You are wrong about the super delegates, but you are right the Electoral College is an anachronism that no longer serves a legitimate purpose. President’s should be elected by popular vote. We could have avoided the disaster that was George Bush if that were the case.

Dems r toast December 23, 2015 at 12:24 pm

All for that after we deport the 15 million illegals and close the borders.

Terry December 23, 2015 at 12:26 pm

Illegals do not vote, so that will not impact anything you idiot. Go back into your hole and count your welfare money you lazy POS.

Terry Schlong December 23, 2015 at 12:32 pm

Dems need illegals and new voters.Fact.middle America has turned on em.

toto December 23, 2015 at 1:22 pm

Presidential elections don’t have to continue to be about a narrowly focused barrage of attention by the media, candidates, pollsters, strategists, organizers, and ads in the handful of unrepresentative
swing states that dominate and determine the general election, while most of the country is politically irrelevant.

By state laws, the National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country.

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps of pre-determined outcomes. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80%+ of the states that have just been ‘spectators’ and ignored after the conventions.

The National Popular Vote bill would take effect when enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes—270 of 538.
All of the presidential electors from the enacting states will be supporters of the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC)—thereby guaranteeing that candidate with an Electoral College majority.

The bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, large, red, blue, and purple states with 250 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.


Terry December 23, 2015 at 2:44 pm

I could not agree more. The Electoral College does nothing but take away the vote of about 45% of the Voters in the country. In SC uniess I vote Republican my vote does not even count in the presidential election.

Further it is a a system capable of being manipulated to orchestrate a Coup D’etat should the right people pull the trigger. That option should not even exist.

Al Gore December 23, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Republicans don’t fare to well with the popular vote either.

The Colonel (R) December 23, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Yeah, they lost by 5 million votes, 2.5% of the voting age population.

vicupstate December 23, 2015 at 11:55 am

If Republicans nominate Trump the whole scenario above goes out the window. If Republicans want to win, they should nominate Trump.

Republican Party Officials December 23, 2015 at 12:02 pm

Shit, we can’t gerrymander the presidential election! What do we do?!

Limbaughsaphatkhunt December 23, 2015 at 6:12 pm

Don’t worry…they are trying to dream up ways to get rid of the college. Voter ID laws are just the start.

violetewebbs December 25, 2015 at 8:40 am

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Pubs in landslide December 23, 2015 at 12:08 pm

They don’t gerrymander senate seats or governorships either and kick your fucking ass.Only reason gerrmandering is done is to elect blacks.

tomstickler December 23, 2015 at 12:12 pm

Republicans in Pennsylvania are trying to elect blacks?

Racist Pub December 23, 2015 at 12:15 pm

You are a true representation of Republicans, klansman pogo.

Diogenes December 23, 2015 at 12:25 pm

This Is about as ignorant as you can get. Why do you think that the Republican Party in SC was so willing to go along with creating black districts? They wanted to bleach out Republican-leaning districts completely, guaranteeing easy election results. Look at the number of Republicans who lose re-election. If it ever happens, it will be in the primary.
And the simple answer as to why the Republicans hold the U.S Senate seats and the governorship is that the electorate is 70 per cent white, and twenty per cent redneck.

erneba December 23, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Then, would you please enlighten us as to how you think Tim Scott got elected in South Carolina?????

vicupstate December 23, 2015 at 2:04 pm

As far as his Senate seat goes, he was appointed and then won against a black woman

erneba December 23, 2015 at 2:26 pm

A swing and a miss.

nitrat December 23, 2015 at 2:38 pm

Because Republicans love them a good ‘boy’ token where they can pretend they aren’t racist.

Rocky Verdad December 24, 2015 at 8:20 am

THe Senate is going back to the Dems in January 2017.

vicupstate December 23, 2015 at 2:05 pm

Gerrymandering is as old as the Country itself, long before most blacks could even vote. Want to try again?

The Buzzman December 23, 2015 at 11:54 pm

Doesn’t negate his point. The issue is not why gerrymandering was done in the past in a different political climate in various parts of the nation. It’s why it is done here in SC. “Pubs in landslide” was exactly right.

vicupstate December 29, 2015 at 4:05 pm

Gerrymandering in SC is required by the Voting Rights Act for black representation but is done for many other reasons that have nothing to do with anything but re-electing the incumbents involved.

Rocky Verdad December 24, 2015 at 8:19 am

DIdn’t you just lose Louisiana?

tomstickler December 23, 2015 at 12:11 pm

If you really want to have some fun with numbers, compare the percentage of registered voters to those qualified, and the percentage of those registered that actually voted and then rank the states by their Rep/Dem ratio.

It might give some insight into voter apathy in some strongly red states and some strongly blue states. For example, some Democrats may not think it is worth their time to go to the polls (or maybe even bother to register) in such a deep-red state as Sakerlina when it comes to voting for a President.

Sticklers Follys December 23, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Thank u for another worthless comment.

Yours Is Worthless Than His December 23, 2015 at 12:18 pm

More thought provoking than the garbage you throw up here.

Dem wasteland December 23, 2015 at 12:28 pm

This blog has gone to shit without Grand Tango.

Terrylicious December 23, 2015 at 1:53 pm

What’s keeping him away? Shame?

tomstickler December 23, 2015 at 4:57 pm

He has returned under a number of Disqus aliases, but there must be some genetic defect because they die off after after a day or so.

Limbaughsaphatkhunt December 23, 2015 at 6:24 pm

I hate to bring up Australia…again (see gun control threads) but they have mandatory voting there. You can opt out in certain circumstances or pay a fine but generally the returns are over 85% of the electorate.

In Australia, they try and get more people to the polls, whereas here….we try and keep people away.

To me, that’s the will of the people being clearly expressed but that would never happen here. Gov’t intrusion, blah, blah, blah.

Rocky Verdad December 24, 2015 at 8:19 am

Everyone should vote. But personally, there’s a lot of inbred idiots in trailer parks who never vote, and that’s just fine with me.

Slartibartfast December 23, 2015 at 9:25 pm

Excellent point. Yeah, I’m saying you had an excellent point. But SC is a state which thrives on a one-party system. You know this. It’s the Republicans right now, but in three years, it might be the ShortArmsInspection Party. But it will be a single party. And Hugh Leatherman will lead it. (Too strong?)

snickering December 23, 2015 at 12:22 pm

There’s still a year before anyone should think about this. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND PLEASE GET A LIFE.

Reply you December 23, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Uhmmm, you first.

snickering December 24, 2015 at 2:13 pm

I’ve sworn off thinking who, what and why until its time to vote.

erneba December 23, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Winning the election is a good-news, bad-news kind of thing.
First the good news; you are now President.
Now the bad news; you are now President
Clint Eastwood

Empty Chair December 23, 2015 at 1:35 pm

I’ll remember to tell that to President Hillary.

Limbaughsaphatkhunt December 23, 2015 at 6:20 pm

We don’t seem to agree on much but on this I agree.

The president can set his/her agenda for what they want to do and direct efforts…even some executive actions and the veto threat. However, they are largely clipped by congress and to some degree the courts.

Congress being the cluster F it is, doesn’t provide much room for the president to get anything done (unless you have a super majority..which even then doesn’t guarantee anything).

We are in a constant state of inertia in this country…but in a way we only have ourselves to blame. We keep electing the same people back to congress expecting things to change, when really the congress people are by and large doing what we tell them…which is not to cooperate and cut deals with the other guys. Frankly, I’m surprised Ryan got his budget to pass.

nitrat December 23, 2015 at 2:18 pm

“Broad swaths of the GOP electorate simply sat on their hands rather than vote for a liberal candidate like Romney.”
I think it’s got way more to do with Christian fundamentalists sitting on their hands rather than vote for a Mormon

nitrat December 23, 2015 at 2:32 pm

‘Axis of evil’ Bush speechwriter David Frum says in The Atlantic that the Republican base is finally figuring out that Republicans (which in the Establishment are overwhelmingly kowtow to the Libertarians on Wall Street) simply do not have their economic interests at heart.

Lone Ranger December 23, 2015 at 4:21 pm

Yo…SC U.S. House delegation (except Jeff Duncan) remember
your gutless butt-kissing of RINO Boehner and now of RINO Ryan?

Don’t look now but those tattered, bleeding rear ends you
see ARE your own—and the Tea Train that’s rolling over you is the lion

That’s right—you backed ole
Back-Door-Agreements-With-Obama-Ryan like Boehner and in 2016 don’t forget
payback is coming

No-no—you are NOT paranoid—that IS your political funeral
dirge that’s play and that long-running Tea Train is doing the drumming !!!

Limbaughsaphatkhunt December 23, 2015 at 6:03 pm

There’s a lot of people who post on this site with perma-boners for that clump of all white, all men, all anglo, all christian group of guys who created the constitution.

They are all too happy for our fellow citizens to be cut down by gunfire to the bushel full cause it’s in the constitution…but they have a problem with the electoral college…also in the constitution. For that matter, the US Postal Service is also in the constitution…so show some respect.

Where’s the consistency guys?

U R Satan's playmate December 24, 2015 at 6:26 am

You are one evil diumb fuck.A waste of human flesh.May God inflict you with incurable cancer or some other hideous disease that illegals are bringing into this country and rid the earth of trash such as yourself.

Rocky Verdad December 24, 2015 at 8:14 am

Hittin’ the vodka again this morning Tango? Merry Christmas to you. Hey, ain’t it four Friday tomorrow – the fourth Friday that’s passed without the Scopes Dumpy Trial starting.

Flip December 24, 2015 at 9:29 am

Oh my.Terry Ward gonna be suing Mr.Rocky Verdad.If your above comment is not libelous nothing is.Merry Christmas Rocky.

Rocky Verdad December 25, 2015 at 12:24 am

Who’s Terry. I was talking to U R Satan’s playmate Tango.

shifty henry December 24, 2015 at 9:01 am

1st Guy: “Hey, man …. What’s going on with all this fuss and confusion in congress today?”

2nd Guy: “Well, it’s as though the government can’t carry out the thingamajig without a clear whatdoyacallit. And unless the thingamyob is put right the whole thing will bust up. Have you not heard about it?”

1st Guy: “I’ve heard about it, but I didn’t know any of the details ‘til now.”

rumrunner December 27, 2015 at 9:53 am

Hard to say really. The best way to beat an opponent and tamp down support and turn out…convince them they can’t win in the first place. White voters are about to really turn out for just about whomever the GOP picks sans trump. If an establishment person like Bush – assuming he gets some stage presence and doesn’t sound like he running for a city counsel election (to watch him NOW youd this “damn he was gov of FL!?!), it could flabbergast manner poll handicappers. Obama got 93-94% of the black vote, a generic dems pulls about 83-84%. That will be lost by the dems this time (again sans trump), and many Reagan dems who can back to the party for Clinton Obama elections, are not as happy with Obama as many would have you believe. I think they will either sit out or vote GOP IF it’s not a total nutcase who wins their primary. Obama’s hobby of passing on considering real solutions, particularly in the foreign policy areana which has been a total bust, while using his twitter feed to weigh (usually wrongly) on so many hot button social issue topics about 10 minutes to 24 hours after it hits the headlines BUT before all the facts have come out – only to make the situation worse, has led many more academic white dems, and middle class dems, lean away from the party as a logical/thinking mecca of the two parties. It could be a much more difficult slog than democrats are expecting IN SPITE OF the demographic advantage.


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