The Five States of America

It would be tempting to write about more compelling current issues such as Donald Trump’s hair, Bernie Sanders’s hair, Marco Rubio’s high heeled shoes, Chris Christie’s weight, why Jeb  isn’t using his last name, why Ted Cruz still puts greasy kid stuff in his hair, or why Hillary didn’t divorce Bill. Instead, allow me to address the steaming, smoldering, very sexy electoral college issue.

Two Presidents have been elected without having won the popular vote, Rutherford B. Hays in 1876 and George W. Bush in 2000. Notwithstanding the popular vote, it takes 270 electoral votes to become President. Since 1996, the states that have voted for a Democratic Presidential candidate 5 out of 5 times total 242 electoral votes. States that voted for a Democratic Presidential candidate 4 out of 5 times total 15 electoral votes.

If voting patterns remain similar, that would  leave only 13 to 28 additional electoral votes required by the Democratic Presidential candidate to win in 2016.

Since 1996, there have only been 5 true swing states. The 2016 race will be targeting those 5 swing states which cumulatively  total 75 electoral votes. Those 5 swing states are Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.

All three Democratic Presidential candidates are from deep blue states, those being New York(Clinton), Vermont(Sanders) and Maryland(O’Malley). Of the 7 remaining Republican contenders, Bush, Carson and Rubio are all residents of Florida, which is one of the swing states. Kasich is from Ohio which is a swing state. Trump and Christie are from New York and New Jersey respectively which are both deep blue states. Cruz is from Texas which is a deep red state.

It looks like if you own television or radio stations in Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio or Virginia, you have just won the lottery. It is projected that both political parties will each spend in excess of a billion dollars in the 2016 Presidential race. If one includes the “dark money” spent by “concerned citizens”, who knows how much more will be spent?

Don’t expect either political party to spend a great deal of money of places like North Dakota or Vermont. In reality, 2016 will probably not be a national election. It will probably  be a 5 state election. To quote Wilbur Wright of Wright brothers fame when asked what was the secret to success, he said it was having the right mother and father and being born in Ohio. In 2016, Wright may still be right for those selling air time.  That said, conventional wisdom in 2016 doesn’t seem so wise.

Jim Maxson

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