The GOP can’t win in 2016. Fortunately, neither can the Democrats.
posted at 5:01 pm on January 19, 2014 by Jazz Shaw
Bad news for fans of the Right, I’m afraid. We’ve checked with some of the experts and it turns out that the GOP has no chance to win the next presidential election. The details are found in, The Republican Party’s uphill path to 270 electoral votes in 2016 elections.
A recent conversation with a veteran of GOP presidential campaigns raised this question: Which, if any, of the recent battleground states are likely to become more Republican by 2016? The consensus: very few.
That reality highlights one problem Republicans face as they seek to regain the White House after six years under President Obama. Lots of factors affect elections: the quality of the candidates, the state of the economy, the effectiveness of the campaigns. But in a country whose demographics continue to change, Republicans will begin this campaign with one significant disadvantage.Over the past three decades, the political leanings of many states have shifted dramatically. What once was a sizable Republican advantage in the electoral college has become a decided Democratic advantage..
Well, I guess that’s that then. But look on the bright side… think of all the money we’ll save by not flushing it down a rat hole, supporting a candidate who is just going to lose. No matter whether it’s Christie, Cruz, Ryan, Walker or Palin, the result is the same… ignominious defeat.
But the good news is that the Democrats are going to lose too! The Democrat Party’s uphill path to 270 electoral votes in 2016.
In April 2012, two other political scientists — Seth Hill and Lynn Vavreck — and I did a presidential election forecasting model for The Washington Post. The model had only three factors: The change in gross domestic product in the first two quarters of the election year, the president’s approval rating as of June of that year and whether the incumbent was running. That model forecast that Obama would win in 2012, and — although there is nothing magic about this model — it was ultimately accurate within a percentage point.
It is far too early to do a formal forecast for 2016. The economic and political conditions in that year will be paramount. But given that at least some in the GOP appear pessimistic as of today, it’s worth asking: If economic and political conditions in 2016 were the same as they are today, what would happen? So assume that Obama’s approval rating is about 41 percent. Assume that GDP has grown 1.6 percent in the first two quarters of 2016. And, of course, no incumbent will be running.
Based on those assumptions, the model predicts that the Republican Party has a 64 percent chance of winning the presidency. That is far from 100 percent, of course. At the same time, it doesn’t suggest much cause for GOP pessimism in January 2014 — maybe even some Democratic pessimism, in fact.
Apparently a member of the Libertarian Party is going to win. I have no idea who they’ll nominate, unless it’s possibly Rand Paul if he fails to take the GOP nomination. (Say… that might not the craziest scenario after all.)
The point is that it’s far too early to say. I will admit that if the Democrats nominate Hillary it will be tough sledding. If their party is good at anything it’s building a meme around a “Candidate of Destiny” to capture the nation’s imagination. And the First Woman President will be some powerful catnip for an influential demographic.
But at the same time one has to wonder if a significant chunk of the electorate will keep in mind what happened to them after they elected the last Candidate of Destiny (twice). With the legacy of lost jobs, a trashed health care system, skyrocketing energy costs and more, perhaps … just perhaps… they will have reason to pause and think it through. But the two articles above should provide one important lesson to us all. We need to get through the mid-terms first before we start worrying about that. Such predictions are little more than wishful thinking at this point, and there’s a lot of water to wash under the bridge between now and then.