Takes full advantage of demographic shifts, mind you – and it’s a squeaker. But it’s doable. Very doable.
PS: Chew bitter bones elsewhere.
I think your map is too pessimistic. Looking at the numbers from 2010, and you can put: Colorado, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Maine in the “within reach” column. 344-194 is doable with a strong campaign.
In 2008, the legislative election field was extremely wide. It won’t be in 2012. The 2010 election made sure that the election will be fought almost entirely in blue states rather than on defense in red/purple states.
Watch out for those “bitter clingers” in Pennsylvania – after the statewide elections swept Republicans to power, Obama’s not going to be able to take it for granted. And Biden showed that he was ZERO help in what he claims is his home state. It’s not a gimme for Democrats this time around.
I really think this map, plus New Hampshire and that extra electoral vote from Nebraska, represents an approximate realistic minimum for the right Republican. Add in the possibility of winning Pennsylvania, every blue Upper Midwest state except for Illinois, and Colorado (and I think we’ll get at least a FEW of those votes), and we’re looking at a reverse landslide from 2008.
I agree that this should pretty much be the minimum. And if, for example, Pawlenty ended up being the nominee, that would probably give Minnesota to the red side (for the first time in my life — and I’m 35!). Wisconsin and Michigan hardly seem like safe blue spots right now, either. I don’t see any states in red on that map going Obama’s way unless something major happens.
I think the R’s best chance would be with a nomine combination of Pawlenty/Rubio (in fact, Rubio at the bottom of the ticket may be more important than the exact person at the top of the ticket).
I think Pawlenty’s “non-celebrity” would be a strong contrast to the current president’s celebrity. Additionally, Pawlenty would help put Minnesota and maybe neighboring Milwaukee in play (maybe even Iowa!). Rubio would help in New Mexico, Florida, and Nevada. I do wonder if there’s going to be some surprise R candidate entering the field at the last minute – a Patreus or a Judd Gregg, perhaps.
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