The result of the Presidential election is surly a triumph for Obama and the world just felt happier today; so many people at work (including children) just smiling at the thought of the win. However, reverting to type for just one blog post, I would like to counter the argument that this was a landslide but would suggest that the Republican have to do some tough thinking in the next year.
The fact that McCain walked out of this election with 46% of the vote – relatively close to Obama – is nothing short of a miracle. That is at the top end of the national polling and still within striking distance of the Democrat. No wonder the first few hours of the results was nail biting given the swing coming Obama’s way. Just consider this – after 8 years of Bush, 8 years of Republican rule, 2 wars, 1 bust economy and god knows how many scandals, 46% of Americans **still** voted for McCain. That is a tribute to McCain himself and also to Sarah Palin, the undisputed winner of the campaign – like her or loath or, she’s now a star and may set up for another run – who helped bring home the Conservative base of the party. This was not a popular vote drubbing for McCain. However it was an ECV vote drubbing – not as bad as it could have been (see Hoover circa 1932 etc).
And looking ahead, the next Republican challenger should be able to take all of the knife edge states back with little trouble. After one term of office the shine will have come off Obama and the realities of government set in. Hence the Republicans should be able to take back, say, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Missouri and Iowa with some ease. However this still leaves the next Rep candidate well short of President Obama seeking re-election. Here’s why; if you add up the safe states for each party, the Dems have a much bigger in-built lead, leaving the Republicans having to win more swing states. If you count the whole of New England, the West Coast and the industrial North East as safe Democrat (NH excepted) then the Dems have around 220 ECVs before they start. If you count the West, Mid West and most Southern states in the red column, the Reps only have around 160 ECVs. This electoral inbalance needs to be addressed by the Reps. They could, for example, throw everything into Ohio, Florida etc again or they could find a way to connect with an area that is Democratic base in the same way they Dems did to them. Why, for example, is the GOP not doing more to see why Washington, Oregon and California don’t vote for them? Or Michigan and Wisconsin? If they continue to allow the Dems to build up 220 out of the 270 they need without any real opposition then they will continue to struggle to win elections based upon a small number of swing states.
Either way the Republicans won’t fall apart and there is still life in the old dog yet. The election was bad but leaves room for recovery.