It’s awfully early to start thinking about which presidential candidate is likely to win which state – we have no real idea who the Republican nominee will even be – but electability is clearly an important consideration during this phase of the campaign. And the more primary/caucus voters weigh a candidate’s chances, the more various players will try to convince the public that they’re the one with the best odds.
With this in mind, The Hill ran a piece the other day from Eric Ham saying Hillary Clinton may have “inevitability” on her side, but it’s Jeb Bush who “has the Electoral College” on his side.
[The former Secretary of State’s] inevitability – should she decide to run – is real. Based on early polling numbers, Clinton has the path of least resistance to the Democratic nomination. Yet a head-to-head battle with Bush could spell doom, as his advantage in the all-important Electoral College is unquestioned.
Actually, it’s easily questioned.
According to the piece in The Hill, Nevada and Ohio, both of which backed President Obama in 2008 and 2012, “stand solidly in Bush’s corner.” The column also argued, “Bush still enjoys enormous popularity in his home state of Florida, a key battleground state. That enduring popularity, along with the infrastructure of recently reelected Republican Gov. Rick Scott, will give Bush a decided edge over Clinton.”
Florida, it’s worth noting for context, also backed President Obama twice.
We could point to polls and various election models that suggest Nevada and Ohio would not be “solidly in Bush’s corner,” but let’s instead go in a different direction. For the sake of conversation, let’s say the piece in The Hill is correct. Let’s assume, just for kicks, that Jeb Bush can win the Republican nomination, win every state Mitt Romney carried in 2012, and also flip Florida, Ohio, and Nevada from “blue” to “red.”
If that’s exactly what happens in 2016, the Bush-led Republican ticket would end up 11 votes shy of 270 electoral votes. Or put another way, if Jeb carries every Romney state, plus the nation’s two biggest swing states, plus Nevada, he’d still lose.
The former governor’s “advantage in the all-important Electoral College is unquestioned”? Maybe it’s time to change that.