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View Full Version : Republican presidential candidate ever win CA, NY, MA in the foreseeable future?


bordelond
10-03-2008, 12:02 PM
(Not sure if this belongs in GQ or GD ... but since there probably can't be a hard answer and the parameters can be debated, I'll drop it here.)


In the 1984 election, Ronald Reagan won 49 states, with Walter Mondale winning Minnesota and D.C. The following is from Wikipedia:

Results
Reagan was re-elected following the November 6 election in an electoral and popular vote landslide, winning 49 states. Reagan won a record 525 electoral votes total (of 538 possible), and received nearly 60 percent of the popular vote. Mondale's 13 electoral college votes (in Minnesota and District of Columbia) marked the lowest total of any major Presidential candidate since Alf Landon's 1936 loss to Franklin D. Roosevelt ...

Psephologists pointed to "Reagan Democrats" — millions of Democrats who voted for Reagan. They characterized such Reagan Democrats as southern whites and northern blue collar workers who voted for Reagan because they credited him with the economic boom, saw Reagan as strong on national security issues, and perceived the Democrats as supporting the poor and minorities at the expense of the middle class.

The 1984 election was the last time that a Republican presidential candidate won the states of Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin.


Close states
Margin of victory less than 10%

Minnesota, 0.18%
Massachusetts, 2.79%
Rhode Island, 3.65%
Maryland, 5.49%
Pennsylvania, 7.35%
Iowa, 7.39%
New York, 8.01%
Wisconsin, 9.18%

And then in 1988, George Bush went on to win California again, with current Democratic strongholds such as NY and MA reverting back to the Democrats.

OK, so on to the question/debate -- In any potential future that we can now foresee, could any currently conceivable Republican presidential candidate win what in 2008 are rock-solid Democratic states, such as CA, MS, and NY?

I'm thinking in terms of looking on the horizon that we can more or less see now (if hazily) -- IOW Republican politicians who are currently active, even if they are not necessarily tabbed right now as potential presidential material. This is to head off tangents such as "Sure ... in a hundred years someone could come along."

What got me thinking about this was kind of a look back at the facts of the 1984 election and wondering just how those Democratic states went Republican, knowing (?) that it could never happen today. The Wikipedia article gives a high-level reason, but not enough detail to help evaluate whether similar conditions could realistically re-occur in the nearish future (say, within a generation ... looking out to the year 2040 or so).

I do realize that Reagan's victories in those states was 24 years ago, and that a lot can change in a quarter-century. Still, it was well within living memory for many voters.

Thanks in advance for all input.

AHunter3
10-03-2008, 12:26 PM
If the Republicans were to nominate Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, and she ran as the pro-choice fiscally responsible moderate that she has been (more conservative than almost any Democratic Senator, but more liberal than almost any Democratic Senator, as ranked by the various PACs), and the Dems went up against her with a less than stellar candidate, she could take NY and CA.

The pre-scandal Pete Domenici would have played well also, and someone of that general political perspective & mold would do so. Californians and New Yorkers will sometimes vote for a fiscal conservative who is a responsible fiscal conservative and not a "gee I wanna give lots of tax cuts to my favorite corporations" type, and if they aren't given reason to worry that the candidate is going to enact a social conservative agenda.

Reciprocally, if the Democrats had run a fiscally moderate socially liberal candidate who had some scintilla of appealing qualities instead of Walter Mondale in 1984, they wouldn't have had their asses handed to them so badly. Reagan had gone in promising a balanced budget (we believed him) and a churchy-preachy social morals & values agenda (we thought he was just pandering), and he didn't do the fiscal policies he promised but did roll out the morals shit. He was a very charismatic politician and it would have been difficult to take him down in '84, so even with a good candidate the Dems's chances would not have been great, but they really went with a poor choice. Mondale was somewhere between Dukakis and Kerry when it came to charismatic motivational presence and he'd been part of the Dem establishment way too long in a season where the Dem party's old school was unpopular and regarded as rudderless and fraught with cronyism and corruption and special-interests, etc.

The Hamster King
10-03-2008, 01:01 PM
Not as long as the social conservatives have so much power in the Republican party. That really kills their chances in the big metropolitan areas on the coasts.

bordelond
10-03-2008, 05:08 PM
Not as long as the social conservatives have so much power in the Republican party. That really kills their chances in the big metropolitan areas on the coasts.
And this is really something that came about in the mid-80s to early-90s, right? I was looking at some more articles and learned that Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanan gave Christian-themed speeches at the 1992 Republican convention, and that Bush père erroneously (in hindsight) attempted to make some hay by criticizing the Democrats' "Godless" platform.

alphaboi867
10-03-2008, 05:17 PM
If a popular Republican governor from one of those states ran s/he'd have a good chance of carrying that state in the general elections.

erislover
10-03-2008, 08:14 PM
The last 3.5 governors in MA before Patrick were Republicans, if it matters. (Really it was 4, but Swift/Romney were like 1.5 governor in term.) I think MA could vote for a decent republican.

ElvisL1ves
10-04-2008, 11:48 AM
As long as the Democrats have a monopoly on centrism, no. There are still a few remnants of the Rockefeller-type liberal Republican in the Northeast, and they can still win at state level against less-capable Democrats, sure - but as long as the national Republican party is controlled by the religious right, the Northeast is unattainable for them.

E-Sabbath
10-04-2008, 12:04 PM
Here's the core of the question. Let's say Michael Bloomberg gets elected to a third term. (Probable, considering his likely opponents, even with the law banning a third term... it's going to be overturned, I think.)
Let's say he pulls NYC through the economic turmoil that we're going to be facing brilliantly. (If anyone can, he can.)

Let's say he has one or two bright and shining moments that catch the national attention. Maybe he actually solves a huge issue in regards to Wall Street by manipulating regulations with the knowledge only someone like him has. (Well, at least, someone like him who's on the political side rather than the financial side. If he does, he'll make the news... remember, most news is local to NYC.)

And let's say he decides he wants to run for president in 2012. He'll be 70. Old, but not _too_ old. He's in better shape than McCain. (He wasn't blown up as much.)

Could he do it? Assume, for the sake of the argument, that Obama winds up being Carter II.

Governor Quinn
10-04-2008, 09:34 PM
One point to make, while I think of an actual answer to the question:

In terms of a historical view, grouping California with New York and Massachusetts is in error. In the period between 1952 and 1988, California went Republican in nine out of ten elections. In the same time period, New York went Republican five times and Massachusetts four. California is a state that has trended (for several different reasons) to the Democrats in recent times, and, as a result, elements of the premises as set up in the OP are erroneous.

Measure for Measure
10-04-2008, 09:52 PM
As long as the Democrats have a monopoly on centrism, no. There are still a few remnants of the Rockefeller-type liberal Republican in the Northeast, and they can still win at state level against less-capable Democrats, sure - but as long as the national Republican party is controlled by the religious right, the Northeast is unattainable for them. That's just it though. After 1984, the Democrats took a hard look in the mirror, and then decided to tack towards the center. The far-left was marginalized and the policy wonks grew in credibility. Bill Clinton embodied this trend as did the now-dismissed Democratic Leadership Council and their think tank the Progressive Policy Institute.

The Republicans could conceivably have a similar experience over the next 8 years. A hopeful sign would be if a faction embraced good government and renounced obstructionism, Ken Starr-style witch hunts, DeLay and Norquist. Could he do it? Assume, for the sake of the argument, that Obama winds up being Carter II. If Obama is Carter II, there will be no incentive for the Republicans to plonk for an outsider like Bloomberg. If the hard-right is discredited though, Bloomberg might have a chance. An historical analogue might be Wilkie, a former Democrat who was nominated by the Republicans in 1940.

E-Sabbath
10-05-2008, 07:48 PM
Okay, assume that Obama made a promise to Michelle that it was one term only. He's not going to run again.

Let's try to project that far into the future, and see what we get.

Measure for Measure
10-05-2008, 08:04 PM
ESabbath: How could any pro-choice politician win the Republican primary in the next 4 years?

If this is just a thought experiment though, I'd say that yes a moderate Republican could take CA, NY and MA. The problem is that moderate Republicans are an endangered species and liberal Republicans are extinct at the national level.

But within 8 years, the Republicans could conceivably retool as demographics erode the anti-abortion base. But that would involve an intellectual effort, one that denounces bomb throwing, market fundamentalism, religious fundamentalism and embraces adult behavior. It wouldn't be necessary for all national Republicans to align themselves this way: a minority of 20% would be adequate.

Captain Carrot
10-05-2008, 08:29 PM
The Republicans could conceivably have a similar experience over the next 8 years. A hopeful sign would be if a faction embraced good government and renounced obstructionism, Ken Starr-style witch hunts, DeLay and Norquist.

The problem is that the opposite is happening. Districts nominate very conservative Republicans, who often either barely squeak by or just plain lose, and the result in either case is one fewer moderate Republican. Look at Virginia: given the choice between the moderate Tom Davis, who's fairly popular in Northern Virginia, and the conservative Jim Gilmore, who wasn't very successful as governor, they picked Gilmore, and ensured that they would lose in November. Mark Warner is smashing Gilmore; if they'd picked Davis, he might have had a shot. Same thing in New Mexico, with Pearce and Udall.

waterj2
10-05-2008, 08:31 PM
The last 3.5 governors in MA before Patrick were Republicans, if it matters. (Really it was 4, but Swift/Romney were like 1.5 governor in term.) I think MA could vote for a decent republican.Well, we elected Romney, so obviously even the decent qualifier is unnecessary. But Swift never actually won an election to the office, and the other three got bored and went off to pursue other activities before completing their terms (two of them were nice enough to actually resign to do so). Massachusetts wouldn't vote for any of the four of them to be President (perhaps Weld back in the day, but by now he's just a has-been).

The main problem I see is that the Republicans are not going to nominate a Susan Collins or Lincoln Chaffee or Michael Bloomburg or Arnold Schwarzenegger or anyone with any appeal to voters in the coastal metropolitan areas. The Republicans have benefited from the increased partisan polarization of the country, but now that the Democrats have grabbed a big chunk of the middle, the Republicans are stuck with a shrinking base. They need a new plan and I don't see one coming for 2012, maybe 2016, and probably 2020 before it's implemented effectively.

I think the Republicans now are like the Democrats in '94, in terms of watching things slip out of their hands. But I think they're in an even worse position to recover, due to their need to kowtow to the religious right, who simply are going to become more and more out of step with moderates as time goes by, and have no problem staying home if they aren't pandered to. They need to dump the extremists and find a new coalition that puts them on even footing. Not an easy task, given the gains the Democrats have made in the middle, and the fact that they will probably see unacceptable short term losses if they want the long term viability.

ETA: Damn, it's nice to see ya back around erislover. Been a good long while, hasn't it?

waterj2
10-05-2008, 08:49 PM
Here's the core of the question. Let's say Michael Bloomberg gets elected to a third term.
<snip>
Could he do it? Assume, for the sake of the argument, that Obama winds up being Carter II.The biggest problem would be getting the Republican nomination. The Republican base would hate him, and it's hard to imagine that he'd get enough Democrats and Independents to cross over to get him there. McCain spent eight years kissing Republican base ass to get where he got over a pretty pathetic field. Bloomberg isn't even a party member now, and doesn't seem to be in a position to be easily convinced to return. If he had extraordinary personal popularity he could fund his own bid himself. $500 million or so is easily within his reach.

If Hillary Clinton ran as a Republican against a weak Democratic opponent, she could perhaps carry Massachusetts. But it ain't gonna happen. Bloomberg's not that much more likely to get the nomination.

erislover
10-05-2008, 09:12 PM
Well, we elected Romney, so obviously even the decent qualifier is unnecessary.Hehe, I meant on a national level! :)

They need a new plan and I don't see one coming for 2012, maybe 2016, and probably 2020 before it's implemented effectively.Well, assuming that the Democrats will win, they've stuck them with quite a mess to pick up. Unless they do very well, I don't know that the Dems can hold it. Palin pressing the change button seems to be a prelude, but unless they shrug off the religious right, I'm not sure I see how they can manage.
ETA: Damn, it's nice to see ya back around erislover. Been a good long while, hasn't it? Thanks. It has been too long.

bordelond
10-06-2008, 08:19 AM
California is a state that has trended (for several different reasons) to the Democrats in recent times, and, as a result, elements of the premises as set up in the OP are erroneous.
Points taken, but the premises really only deal with the reality in 2008. IOW, California, Massachusetts, and New York are now considered strong Democratic states in presidential elections -- what happened in the few decades prior to the 1980s isn't all that germane to the dicussion, except perhaps as an object lesson (e.g. "it happened like this back then, and it could happen the same way going forward").

I wasn't trying to say in the OP that those three states have always gone Democratic in all past presidential elections. Just in the last few.

bordelond
10-06-2008, 08:33 AM
I think the Republicans now are like the Democrats in '94, in terms of watching things slip out of their hands.
Did you mean 1984, are were you referring to the 1994 mid-terms? Your statement works either way.


But I think they're in an even worse position to recover, due to their need to kowtow to the religious right, who simply are going to become more and more out of step with moderates as time goes by, and have no problem staying home if they aren't pandered to. They need to dump the extremists and find a new coalition that puts them on even footing. Not an easy task, given the gains the Democrats have made in the middle, and the fact that they will probably see unacceptable short term losses if they want the long term viability.
Dunno ... I can't help thinking that the religious right is an aging cohort, in general terms. As time progresses, they should become less and less populous.

As for short-term losses vs. long-term viability ... I'd hope that at some point (if not now), it's a no-brainer in favor of the long term for the Republican party leadership. What's the point of kowtowing to the religious right if your party gets trounced every election cycle? In other words, those "unacceptable short-term losses" will probably keep occuring if the Republican party collectively refuses to countenance some kind of philisophical change.

In the short term, if Obama wins but McCain is close in the electoral votes, the Republicans may feel they don't have to make big changes at all ... just some tweaks. It would likely take an Obama lanslide into a second term for the Republicans to take that "hard look in the mirror" mentioned upthread.

Dumbguy
10-06-2008, 02:57 PM
The Republicans could win California, but they'd have to stop nominating these angry moralists they're so fond of lately. They need a social moderate with laid-back charisma. Possibly a robot from the future.

dalej42
10-06-2008, 04:46 PM
I'm not sure the Republicans on a national level can win California for a long time. The Republican party is becoming a regional party of the South and the rural Midwest/West.

I have a feeling with the slowing economy they're going to start harping on illegal immigration again. They need a hot button issue and they've beaten same sex marriage into the ground.

Governor Quinn
10-06-2008, 10:14 PM
I wasn't trying to say in the OP that those three states have always gone Democratic in all past presidential elections. Just in the last few.

I misunderstood, then, and I drop that point.

As for the possibility of Bloomberg: the very fact that he's planning on running for Mayor again in 2009 as an independent ( here (http://www.reuters.com/article/vcCandidateFeed5/idUSN3047717320080930?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=10112) and here (http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--bloomberg-thirdte1005oct05,0,744047.story)) would basically eliminate that as a possibility.

If one is looking anywhere, it should probably be in the ranks of the Governors, but none of the moderate Republicans holding Governorships at the moment strike me as likely candidates.

E-Sabbath
10-06-2008, 11:31 PM
The reason I picked Bloomberg is that it would take someone with enough raw power to tell the Republicans to pound sand, yet the ability to win the election on his own, to drag the party far enough over to the middle to make the CA/NY/MA vote possible. You'd need a superstar. I can't think of anyone even close to that status at the moment.
Basically, you'd need someone from CA or NY to do it, as well.

bordelond
10-07-2008, 08:50 AM
If one is looking anywhere, it should probably be in the ranks of the Governors, but none of the moderate Republicans holding Governorships at the moment strike me as likely candidates.
Louisiana's Bobby Jindal is the one being groomed. His only notable flaw (so far) is an article he wrote in the New Oxford Revew recounting his participation in an exorcism (http://www.newoxfordreview.org/article.jsp?did=1294-jindal). Thankfully, he is a highly-educated policy wonk (Rhodes Scholar, M. Litt from Oxford) who represents the polar opposite of the anti-intellectual "Sarah Palin" wing of the party.

Jindal was supposed to speak at the Republican Convention, but he stayed in Louisiana to deal with Hurricane Gustav. That would have been his moment analogous to Bill Clinton's speech at the 1988 Democratic Convention.

E-Sabbath
10-07-2008, 09:23 AM
Mr. Creationist Jindal? Oh, that's _real_ polar opposite.

bordelond
10-07-2008, 09:41 AM
Mr. Creationist Jindal? Oh, that's _real_ polar opposite.
No, really (http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1668433,00.html) :D :

A Catholic convert who grew up in a Hindu household, Jindal has made his name by aligning himself with the cultural conservative wing of the Republican Party, fiercely opposing stem cell research and abortion while favoring the teaching of Intelligent Design in public schools. The strategy has helped his standing among the state's conservative Christian voters, and helped him overcome the twin liabilities (in some circles) of intellectualism and ethnicity — traits that arouse suspicion in some of Louisiana's rural stretches, and that many say also helped tip the scales against him in 2003.

Personally, I like to focus on the word "strategy" above. I think the Intelligent Design stuff is/was calculated pandering and not a reflection of his personal views. Can't prove it or cite it, but there you go. FWIW, he hasn't tried pushing any of this stuff since he's taken office as governor. I am keeping my eyes open, but I am hopeful.

bordelond
10-07-2008, 09:51 AM
I think the Intelligent Design stuff is/was calculated pandering and not a reflection of his personal views.
MF! Jindal was spouting this off in June on Face the Nation (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/06/19/jindal-intelligent-design_n_108147.html):

I personally think that the life, human life and the world we live in wasn't created accidentally. I do think that there's a creator. I'm a Christian. I do think that God played a role in creating not only earth, but mankind. Now, the way that he did it, I'd certainly want my kids to be exposed to the very best science. I don't want them to be-I don't want any facts or theories or explanations to be withheld from them because of political correctness. The way we're going to have smart, intelligent kids is exposing them to the very best science and let them not only decide, but also let them contribute to that body of knowledge.

:smack:

Unless he can mitigate the stigma of anti-creationism somehow, Jindal is sunk at the national level, IMHO. It's a shame -- he's doing a lot of good in Louisiana.