national Democrats, the formula for capturing the
presidency in 2008 is reminiscent of Albert
Einstein's, but far less complex: EC plus GROB
plus NTP equals an overwhelming Democratic
translate: Electoral College plus pervasive Get
Rid Of Bush sentiment plus No Third Party, coupled
with a reasonably presentable Democratic nominee,
is a win.
presidential election is still 18 months away,
candidate debates are under way, and fund-raising
is proceeding at a record-breaking pace, yet most
Americans are ignoring the spectacle. Further,
with states "frontloading" their
presidential primaries or caucuses to benefit the
local economy or a particular candidate, the major
parties' nominees will be apparent by next March.
Those displeased, be they anti-Iraq War liberals
or social conservatives, will have adequate time
to field a third-party candidate.
an early analysis:
a two-party race, it's all about the Electoral
College. George Bush got 50,456,169 popular votes
(47.8 percent of the total) in 2000, to Al Gore's
50,996,116 (48.4 percent), losing by 539,940
votes. But Bush carried 29 states and amassed 271
electoral votes, one more than a majority.
2004 Bush's vote grew to 62,040,060 (50.7 percent
of the votes cast), to John Kerry's 59,028,109
(48.3 percent). That was 11,584,437 more votes for
the president and 8,031,993 more votes for the
Democrat. Bush carried 30 states and got 286
electoral votes. Two 2000 Gore states, New Mexico
and Iowa, switched to Bush in 2004, while one 2000
Bush state, New Hampshire, shifted to Kerry.
535 electoral votes, the winner needs 270. If the
Democratic candidate wins one or more 2004 Bush
state, such as Ohio (20 electoral votes), New
Mexico (5), Colorado (9), Nevada (5), Iowa (7),
Virginia (13) or Arizona (10), for a combined
switch of 17 electoral votes, the Democrats win.
into 2008, and given the president's enormous
unpopularity and the unresolved Iraq situation,
this much is likely: None of the 2000 Gore or 2004
Kerry states are going to support a Republican in
2008, while up to a dozen Bush states could flip
to a Democrat.
of the appeal of former New York mayor Rudy
Giuliani is that he can attract Democratic votes
in the northeast and in California. But the
Democrats have won overwhelmingly in California
(55 electoral votes), New York (31), Illinois
(21), Michigan (17), Pennsylvania (21), New Jersey
(15) and Massachusetts (12) in the past four
elections, and those states total 172 electoral
votes. Add to that another 13 smaller states which
habitually vote Democratic, and the 2008 nominee
starts out with a base of 252 electoral votes.
Republicans can count on Texas (34 electoral
votes), Florida (27), North Carolina (15) and
Virginia (13). Add to that another 20 smaller
states with 11 or fewer electoral votes, and the
Republicans' base is about 254 electoral votes.
all of 2008's sound and fury involves these
(20 votes): Bush won in 2000 by 165,019 votes and
in 2004 by 118,599 votes. Scandals tainted the
state's Republican governor, a Democrat won the
post in 2006 by 899,264 votes, with 60 percent of
the votes cast, and a Democrat defeated a two-term
Republican senator by 380,675 votes, with 55
percent of the vote. Ohio looks hopeless for the
Republicans in 2008.
(9): Bush won in 2000 by 145,521 votes and in 2004
by 99,523 votes. Until 2004 Republicans held the
state's governorship, both U.S. Senate seats and
five of seven U.S. House seats, and they
controlled the state legislature. After 2006
Democrats had the governorship, control of the
legislature, four House seats and one Senate seat,
and they likely will win the other Senate seat in
2008. A liberal tide is running. Republicans can
kiss off Colorado in 2008.
Mexico (5): Bush lost in 2000 by 366 votes and won
in 2004 by 5,988 votes. Hispanic Democrat Bill
Richardson, a former Clinton Administration United
Nations ambassador and Department of Energy
secretary and a long-shot 2008 presidential
candidate, won the governorship in 2002 and was
re-elected in 2006 by 176,095 votes, with 68
percent of the vote. Whether or not Richardson is
the Democrats' vice-presidential nominee, New
Mexico will go Democratic in 2008.
(7): Bush lost in 2000 by 4,144 votes and won in
2004 by 10,059 votes. Democratic Governor Tom
Vilsack retired in 2006 and briefly ran for
president. Republican U.S. Representative Jim
Nussle was a huge favorite to succeed him, but he
lost to Democrat Chet Culver by 101,459 votes. The
Iowa caucuses are in January of 2008, and
energized anti-Iraq liberals are already
are not particularly liberal, but they're ahead of
the curve on public opinion, which means Iraq.
They backed a Democrat for president in 1988,
1992, 1996 and 2000. They will do likewise in
(5): Bush won in 2000 by 21,597 votes and in 2004
by 21,500 votes. The state is a microcosm of
America, evenly balanced between the parties, and
with a new population influx of 1,000 a day. A
Republican won the governorship in 2006 by fewer
than 15,000 votes, and Democrats almost won two
Republican U.S. House seats. If a Democrat wins
Nevada, a Democrat wins the presidency.
(10): Bush won in 2000 by 96,311 votes and upped
that in 2004 to 210,770 votes. If Arizona Senator
John McCain is the Republican nominee, he'll win
his home state easily, but a Democrat was
re-elected as governor in 2006 by 266,339 votes
(with 63 percent of the total), and Democrats
picked up two Republican-held U.S. House seats.
Arizona is no longer a Republican bastion.
(13): Bush won in 2000 by 220,200 votes and in
2004 by 262,217. The state has voted Republican in
the last 10 presidential elections, since 1968,
and Republicans have an 8-3 majority in the
congressional delegation. But a Democrat won the
governorship in 2001 and 2005, and Democrat Jim
Webb upset Republican Senator George Allen, an
announced 2008 presidential candidate, in 2006 by
5,719 votes. Northern Virginia's suburbs, around
Washington, D.C., are increasingly liberal, and
they provided Webb's victory margin. Former
Democratic governor Mark Warner is angling to run
for vice president on Hillary Clinton's ticket.
Virginia is in play in 2008.
(11): Bush won by 78,786 votes in 2000 and by
196,542 in 2004. After the 2004 election,
Republicans held the governorship, the state
legislature, both U.S. Senate seats and five of
nine congressional seats. But Republican Senator
Jim Talent, who won in 2002 by 21,254 votes, lost
in 2006 by 36,737 votes, and Republican Governor
Matt Blunt, who is up for re-election in 2008, is
not popular. A Democrat could win the state.
(27): Bush won in 2000 by 537 votes, giving him
the presidency after protracted legal
wrangling, and in 2004 he upped that to a solid
380,978-vote margin. "First Brother" Jeb
Bush was elected governor in 1998 by 419,051
votes, with 55 percent of the vote. Despite
Democratic allegations that Jeb Bush somehow
conspired to steal the 2000 election for president
in Florida, he was re-elected by 655,418 votes,
with 56 percent of the votes cast, in 2002. In
2006 his anointed successor, Charlie Crist, won by
327,971 votes, with 52 percent of the votes cast,
but Democrats gained two Republican U.S. House
seats. In 2008 the Republicans' margin in Florida
could be tight, but not as close as in 2000.
bottom line: One to five states will elect the
president in 2008. If Democrats win Ohio, they're
in. If Democrats win Colorado, New Mexico and
Iowa, they're in. If Arizona and Nevada go
Democratic, a landslide is in the making.
Republicans have cause for optimism in 2008, even
if U.S. troops are still in Iraq. And that is a
third-party presidential contender. If the
anti-Bush, anti-Republican, anti-Iraq vote is
fractionalized, a Republican could win, much as
Richard Nixon won in 1968 with just 43 percent of
arithmetic regarding 2008 is simple: First,
discontent with Bush's Administration and Iraq
policies have cost his party 10 percent of the
vote. That lowers the Republican base to 40
percent. Second, evangelical Christians comprise
about a quarter of the Republicans, and they will
be appalled if the 2008 nominee is Giuliani, who
supports abortion rights, gun control and gay
rights. They may not vote.
third, about half of the Democrats want a nominee
who will bring the troops home immediately.
They'll get that in John Edwards, but not in
Clinton or Barack Obama.
New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is a nominal
Republican, and he easily could self-fund a
"reform" presidential bid, akin to Ross
Perot's in 1992. Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck
Hagel, who wants an Iraq withdrawal timetable, is
inching toward a run. Either could draw a sizable
vote. Independent John Anderson got 5,719,437
votes in 1980 (6.7 percent of the total), Perot
got 19,741,065 votes in 1992 (19 percent), and
Ralph Nader got 2,834,410 votes (2.7 percent) in
bottom line: A liberal "reform" or
anti-Iraq contender potentially drains votes from
the Democratic nominee. In that situation, the
Democrat has to move left or lose. Like Nixon in
1968, a Republican could win in 2008 with just
over 40 percent of the vote.