Thursday, June 12, 2008

Why the next 5 months of political coverage are relatively meaningless

McCain cannot win Ohio. Without Ohio, McCain can't get to 270 electoral votes. Just as anyone with an inkling of sense knew that the nomination battle was over after March 4 failed to close the gap appreciably for Hilary in the delegate count, it should be obvious that Obama will win the presidency.

Let's look at the reasons:

The candidates:
1. Obama has charisma; McCain can't read a speech off a teleprompter.
2. Obama is fresh and young; McCain is old and out-of-touch.
3. Obama is athletic; McCain is limited by war injuries and is more likely than not to die of cancer in the next 10 years.
4. McCain is short.
5. Obama is cool-headed (some will call it arrogance or aloofness); McCain has a temper and often is vulgar.
6. Obama is faithful to his wife; McCain is an admitted adulterer.
7. Obama won a hard-fought battle for the nomination, but is generally in tune with the Democratic agenda; McCain is mistrusted by the Republican party base.
8. Obama is right about the war; McCain is wrong.

The only potential disadvantages in terms of the actual candidates is:

9. Obama is multicultural (a PC way of saying Black); McCain is White.
10. The media loves McCain; they are unsure of Obama.

So Obama is the better candidate vs. McCain just on the superficial stuff, but let's look at the political environment relative to 2004 (when Kerry only lost Ohio by about 120k votes).

1. Obama is a better candidate than John Kerry; McCain is not as good as Bush.
2. In 2004, Bush was the incumbent and Republicans controlled Congress.
3. In 2008, the economyis in recession.
4. In 2008, gas prices are at an all time high and won't come down significantly by November.
5. In 2008, food prices are going up considerably.
6. In 2008, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan are going worse than 2004, with no major successes (such as elections) to be engineered to pretend they are going well.
7. In 2008 talking about Iran will scare people into voting democratic rather than sticking with the Republicans.
8. In 2004, Kerry and Bush were on a par in terms of spending; in 2008 Obama will ba able to outspend McCain 3:1.
9. Even though the media still sucks, they are not quite as far in the tank for Republicans as they were in 2004. People are taking less direction from the media regarding political issues compared to 2004.

Now let's focus on Ohio itself.

1. State offices are now controlled by Democrats.
2. Rules for counting provisional ballots are murky at best at a lot of discretion is left to the Secretary of State. Needless to say, Blackwell, in 2004, worked to suppress the vote while the 2008 situation will be different.
3. Precinct density will be better than in 2004 since the Democrats will try to minimize long lines.
4. 2.39 million people voted in the Democratic primary for president this year in Ohio. Bush only got about 2.86 million votes in 2004. Assuming turnout is approximately the same then there are 2 million Ohio voters who will vote in the general election that did not vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary. McCain would have to win those voters at a ratio of 3:1 to win Ohio. That's not counting voter registration drives
5. There is no gay marriage ballot issue in 2008 so turnout among Republicans will not be as extensive.

That's it. McCain can't/won't win Ohio and without Ohio, he does not have a chance.


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