The Election Chronicles, Volume 37: Is the GOP Coming Apart At the Seams?

Almost a year ago I wrote that the Republican Party appeared to be falling apart. I wrote this against a backdrop of the birth of the GOP that came with the death of the Whig party.

Twelve months later it appears the GOP is fracturing into three different wings:

  1. Government should do fewer things and do them better. Most people who identify as Republicans point here to explain why they are Republican. They don’t feel that the government has any business meddling in marriage, education, social engineering or a host of other areas. They point to the Constitution as their guiding principles. They don’t mind paying taxes to keep us safe, but they hate the idea of paying income taxes to support people who don’t want to work. They describes themselves as fiscal and social conservatives. Today these Republicans look to House Speaker Paul Ryan as their leader.
  2. We are a Christian nation. This wing takes seriously the fact that our founders were Christians and the phrase “under God” appear on our money and the phase “In God We Trust” finds a place etched in many of our federal buildings. We are not merely one nation among others. We, the United States of America, are chosen by God to be the shining city upon the hill. This is both a blessing and a responsibility. It’s a responsibility because God will judge us based on our worthiness; because God chose us, God will also judge us on how we respond. If we become a nation that allows political correctness and gay marriage, God will withdraw His blessing. Our salvation as a nation depends on the direction we take. Today these Republicans look to Senator Ted Cruz as their leader.
  3. We are under attack. These Republicans remember when being American meant leading the free world. If you were willing to work you could feed your family and own your own home. Other countries eagerly bought what we manufactured and “made in Japan” was code for “cheap.” But we’ve lost our place and other countries now dictate how we live. Time is running out and we need to reclaim our place now or risk losing it forever. Our attackers aren’t just foreign workers who take our jobs, they are also people who come into our country illegally and take our jobs. Our survival depends on our ability to keep out those who want our jobs (or want to plant bombs) but also our ability to recreate those jobs that made us great. This is not time for political correctness or business as usual. Your very survival depends on your willingness to give full power to one person who will fight for you. These Republicans look to Donald Trump.

OK, I’m a Democrat and I’ll admit that the death of the GOP doesn’t cause me much grief. But I recognize that our nation will never consist entirely of people who agree with me. And I pray that the conservative movement follows Paul Ryan instead of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. I can respect that our government should do fewer things and do them better. But I can’t respect that our government should be a Christian caliphate or a Fascist Government.

I recognize that large swaths of the American people don’t trust Hillary because she’s been beaten up for alleged (but not proven) charges. I’m weary and unwilling to refute these false charges, but let me say this: She’s the only candidate who possesses the skills to lead our country. I’m voting for her because she’s the only candidate who can lead us.

The Election Chronicles, Volume 36: Let's Look At The Electoral Map

As I write this we are 29 days from the next Presidential election. As I’m sure you know, Secretary Clinton is opening a lead over Mr. Trump. Most polls differ on her lead, but even Faux News shows Clinton with a lead.

But, as we know, the President isn’t elected by popular vote but by the Electoral College. I won’t wander too far into the weeds of how this works, but let me say this: each state gets a fixed number of electoral votes and they determine who wins the Presidency. Of the 50 states, 48 are “winner take all.” In other words if a candidate wins the majority of votes in that state, s/he wins all the electoral votes, no matter the margin of victory. Only Maine and Nebraska allow candidates to divide the electoral votes.

And as we found in the 2000 Presidential election it’s possible to win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote. In that election George W. Bush won the election even though Al Gore won the popular vote.

As I’ve been following this election I have to confess I haven’t paid much attention to national polls and have instead been looking at the electoral map. And I’ve been obsessed with two web pages with excellent content: Real Clear Politics and Five Thirty Eight.

Both track the electoral maps, but they do it in different ways: RCP looks at the polls in each state while 538 looks at the probability of each candidates’ winning a particular state.

As I write this RCP lists Clinton as winning 260 electoral votes, Trump winning 165, and 113 as tossups (could go either way). The toss up states are: Nevada (6 electoral votes), Arizona (11), Minnesota (10), Iowa (6), Ohio (18), Maine (2 of their 3), North Carolina (15), Georgia (16), and Florida (29).

Of these states, 538 projects Clinton the statistical favorite in all but Arizona, Iowa, and Georgia.

The winner next month needs to get to 270 electoral votes. Of the tossup states, Clinton needs to win only 10 more electoral votes. She can do this by winning only one of the following states: Arizona, Minnesota, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia, or Florida. Or she could lose all those states and win both Nevada and Iowa. Trump, on the other hand, has to win 105 electoral votes. The fewest states he needs to win are these: Florida and Ohio and Georgia and North Carolina and Arizona and Minnesota and either Iowa or Nevada.

RCP also shows us a map with no tossups (that is, they look at the polling and choose a winner even if the numbers are close). It shows Clinton with 340 electoral votes and Trump with 198.

He’s got a tough rode to victory.