I’ve already written on the coming chaos, here. This article assumes the earlier one. It’s short and periodically updated, so I invite you to read it, if you are skeptical that chaos is coming (and I hope you’re right that it’s not coming).
If it is coming (I’m sure it is), the GOP needs to minimize it.
It’s a hard reality that the GOP has no candidate who can transcend regions, like Reagan did in 1984, in his reelection bid (49-1 against Mondale) and liberal Nixon did in 1972 in his reelection (49-1 against super-liberal McGovern).
But this is a first-time election, not a reelection year.
The GOP has to count beans and strategize.
The following strategy may be obvious to the pundits, but I have not heard it in the blogosphere or radio. And maybe we non-pundits need to review it.
The GOP needs to flip ten states. My assumption is that since they have high-quality candidates (apart from Trump), their region where they already won an election is important and, I believe, decisive—or should be if they want to win enough electoral votes this time.
Please look at this electoral map from 2012, here.
Romney lost the following states and others, but only the ones that I believe can be realistically flipped with the right candidates are listed here (CA and MA are excluded, for example).
Great Lakes: WI (10), MI (16), and OH (18)
Plains: MN (10) and IA (6)
Mid-Atlantic: VA (13)
Southwest and Rockies: NM (5), NV (6), and CO (9)
South: FL (29)
Without those ten states, Romney won 206 electoral votes.
With the right candidates, they might be able to flip all of them: 206 + 132 = 338.
The GOP needs only 270 to win, so they can give up VA, for example, and a few other smaller states, if necessary. The good news in what will likely be chaos: the 2014 elections help their momentum.
The two big takeaway points: The GOP can’t live without FL; OH is always central to a win for either party.
But I’m not a number cruncher and margin-of-victory analyst. You can do that. I’m more interested in the selection of the best candidate on a regional basis, to minimize the coming chaos.
It is in those states where the confusion is likely to occur. The RNC better lawyer up in them and in the states Romney barely won.
So who are the best candidates to do the flipping and therefore minimize the coming election chaos? To narrow the field, look again at the regions and electoral votes in that list.
He has a strong enough conservative record in FL. If he wins the nomination, he must select Walker or Kasich as his running mate. Either VP candidate can storm the Great Lakes and Plains States. Jeb can go through VA, FL, NM, CO, and NV, speaking Spanish when needed, and win them.
Kasich – Rubio (Jeb wouldn’t lower himself to run as the VP). Kasich, who has a strong enough jobs and fiscal record in OH, could campaign in the Great Lakes and Plains States. Rubio could campaign in FL, VA and the SW and Mountain States.
If Rubio, a native Spanish speaker and coming from FL, wins the nomination, he must also select Walker or Kasich and follow the same regional strategy, but would Kasich serve in the VP slot under younger Rubio?
Incidentally, as for Jeb and Rubio using Spanish to campaign, which infuriates hyper-conservatives and WHINOs, I talk with many second and third generation Hispanics, who are scared of and offended by Republicans. So here’s a new idea: Republicans must spread conservative values in the Hispanic community, gradually or rapidly winning them over to our side. Those who believe in conservative political philosophy have stronger evidence and arguments. That’s better than deporting them or calling their communities third-world hellholes filled with criminals.
To win the White House, we need the Hispanic vote.
If he wins the nomination, then he must select Rubio (Jeb wouldn’t take the VP slot). The same regional campaign strategy remains intact.
And of course whoever the nominee is, he should campaign outside of the ten states.
As for the other candidates, they are not likely to win the nomination, in my view, on a regional assumption. But they can help in the nominee’s campaign.
Here are the second-tier candidates, regionally speaking, in alphabetical order:
She performed admirably in the first debate, but the GOP needs more than a strong debater. She is rootless. She lost big in CA. Now she lives in VA, recently moving. She can’t help in the right states—probably not even VA since she hasn’t had the time to develop a sufficient ground game there. But she can join the campaign and criticize Hillary.
A high-quality man, he’s rootless regionally—not enough political connections and ground game even in his home state. He has never won a statewide election. But he can join the nominee’s campaign and help out.
Strong debater, but he’s from NJ, and it’s doubtful he can flip his home state. Plus, he’s farther removed from the Great Lakes and Plains States than Kasich or Walker are. But he can help in Eastern PA and Philly.
Regionally, he could not cover the ten states. TX doesn’t fit. He could help in the SW during the campaign.
Geographically, NY is right, but it’s not clear he could flip it. And his campaign has not taken off maybe because he’s too liberal for the primaries. But he can go into Philly and Eastern PA and New England; then the GOP might be able to flip NH (they elected Republican Ayotte).
Great guy and successful governor, but the GOP needs to secure things regionally. TX doesn’t fit. But he could campaign in the SW.
The other candidates are missing the regional connections (Trump, Paul, Jindal, Huckabee, Gilmore, Graham); or lost badly long ago in a key state (Santorum).
My choice, then, on a regional analysis: Rubio – Kasich or Kasich – Rubio.
Rubio, standing next to Grandma Hillary (or Grandpa Biden) on the debate stage, would appeal to the Selfie Voters. He has natural, winsome, youthful optimism and inspirational passion (not angry passion). That’s why I choose him as the nominee.
But would an older Kasich serve as his VP? I don’t know. He might be persuadable.
Walker could take the place of Kasich and Jeb could for Rubio, as my second choice, and you can place them in the presidential nominee – VP slots, as you wish. But this pairing is only in a pinch.
Readers are welcome to nitpick and come up with their own candidates—but using only a regional basis.
Yet what about this or that misstatement from the candidates, such as oppression is a cause of Islamic terror; or comparing the virulent WI protesters to ISIS; or misreading Iraq; or a (perceived) soft stance on immigration; or an outside-the-mainstream view on abortion or whatnot?
True and Pure Conservatives (whatever that means) must not let undefined, notional Perfection be the enemy of real-world imperfection.
Much like Churchill said of democracy, the RNC is imperfect, but it’s better than the DNC or a never-victorious, spoiler third party. We win by drawing the most voters in Reagan’s Big Tent, and the best way to do that is regionally.
Updated 9/3 and 9/4/2015:
I added some links and new data on Trump and Hispanic voters and how we need them to win the White House.
I made incidental corrections and add this:
It’s too bad Trump is in the mix. He’s scaring away voters from Reagan’s Big Tent, even after he’s not the nominee (and he won’t be). The nominee, whoever he will be, could defeat a weakened Hillary easily without Trump in the race. Here’s why Trump’s destiny is to cause election confusion, not occupy the White House–America needs a good old fashioned shaking because, in the words of Judge Bork, she’s been “slouching towards Gomorrah.” Sorry to get moralistic and “go all biblical” about it, but I love my country and somehow, for me, God is in the background (or foreground) taking measurements of our beloved country. As of now, Trump leads the polls (but he won’t soon enough), and Hilary is still the nominee. That’s the best America can do? They reflect American character? What kind of measurement must God be taking now? Sad. Very sad.