Monday, September 05, 2016

2016 American Election - Continued Commentary #6

Possible electoral votes for Hillary in 2016
Here is how I see 2016 American Presidential election from my perch on this Labor Day:

- In any contemporary American election cycle due to demographics you start with the Blue Wall: all states which Kerry won in 2004 election. Kerry fought the election against an incumbent president and Keery's campaign was not any spectacularly special or something. If at all Bush Campaign essentially 'swift boated' it. So despite all these odds, John Kerry carried 18 reliable Democratic states to garner 252 electoral votes. Those states for sure will give Hillary 246 electoral votes in 2016 election cycle.[1]

- In the current cycle, since Tim Kaine, Virginia Senator, is Hillary's running mate; that ticket will carry Virginia taking Hillary's total to 259 electoral votes. She had been running strong in Virginia and the state itself has been turning / governed  by Democrats lately.

- Another reliable state which one can safely include in Blue Wall for this cycle is Colorado, needing Hillary only 4 electoral votes thereafter. New Mexico is the key state where Hillary wins the election when it's 5 electoral votes fall in the Blue column. Polls have been very sporadic in that state, but Obama carried the state both in 2008 and 2012 though in 2012 his voter share decreased from around 56% to 53%. If I were the Hillary campaign, I would absolutely make sure that the state is firmly locked for Hillary. 

- Bottom line, at this point Hillary has already won the election. Essentially Kerry States + Virginia + Colorado bring her on the verge and New Mexico takes her over the line. One can understand at this point, how the deck is completely stacked against Donald Trump.

- Things become interesting after this point. Hillary is running strong in Florida and with Trump's off putting anti-Hispanic rhetoric, chances are that she will win the state. Jews, retirees and young voters; all will back her. Interestingly, the state may go for a split vote for down ballot, voting Republican Marco Rubio for Senate. 

- One of the interesting contests to watch this year is North Carolina which Obama carried in 2008 but lost in 2012 by 2%. With Supreme Court firmly standing with the lower court ruling of throwing out the racist election law of North Carolina; African American population of the state is fully energized. Asian and professionals in the state are likely to go against Trump in a big way too. I would expect Hillary to carry this state in 2016.

- In Nevada, Hillary's strong traditional labor union backing is expected to push her over the line. However, Trump had had some surprising pockets of strength in Nevada earlier in the campaign

- Barack Obama won Ohio both times, but I am bit ambivalent for Democrats in this cycle. Democratic Senate Candidate Ted Strickland is turning into a dead weight and hence unlikely to provide any heft to Hillary campaign. It is not just non-college educated White Male Worker vote bank which is susceptible to Trump's anti-immigration, anti-trade talk; I do not get a sense that Democrats are convincing much in that state. It is quite possible that Ohio will fall out from the Blue Column in 2016 cycle. 

- In the head turner category I would put final 3 states - Arizona, Georgia and Iowa. Demographers have been warming up to a possibility of Arizona and Georgia turning blue for a while. With Trump candidacy, one can see how Hispanics in both these states will vote en-block for Hillary[2]. Additionally in Georgia, movements like Black Lives Matter have made Black Vote very alert.

- The biggest change in 2016 for Dem side is the decisive move towards Trump in Iowa. Obama carried the state both times, but with the popular Republican Governor[3] and his state party apparatus backing Trump with both hands; the state is suddenly a tough sale for Hillary. She came third against Obama in 2008 primaries, so seeds of mistrust are already there.[4] Plus a popular Republican senator, that willy, Grassley is for reelection. My suspicion is Grassley campaign is pulling votes to Trump. In addition, for all their hyper sensitive political awareness; I have a feeling that latent racism among White voters of Iowa is also finding an expression in Trump politics. All in all if Hillary wins Iowa, it will be a head turning result in 2016 election cycle.

- What about down ballot elections? I have not looked into those carefully but as like most observers, I expect House to remain Republican. With Senate, Democrats have some chance to take the control. By all means Democrats need to make a full play for Congressional victories, that is the only way any progressive agenda is likely to advance. Otherwise Hillary's election will be essentially a backstop for further policy damages from GOP. But it is not yet clear how the cards will play out on Congressional elections. Comparatively, Presidential election is lot more clear at this stage.

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[1] - Those electoral votes reduced from 252 to 246 because Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania lost 1 electoral vote each while New York lost 2; after the electoral vote adjustments of 2010. Washington state gained 1 electoral vote. So the same set of states yield 6 electoral votes less. (5 + 2, 7 lost, 1 gained = 6 total loss).

[2] - But Media is also detecting a bit of weakness in Hispanic support for Hillary

[3] - Iowa governor Branstad is the longest serving governor in the entire American political history!

[4] - Hillary squeaker win over Bernie in 2016 gives her camp some hope. Her ground game is strong, but Republicans in Iowa will be equally organized and motivated.

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