Republican presidential candidate ever win CA, NY, MA in the foreseeable future?

(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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

Hehe, I meant on a national level! :slight_smile:

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.

Thanks. It has been too long.

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.

Did you mean 1984, are were you referring to the 1994 mid-terms? Your statement works either way.

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.

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.

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.