The GOP’s Electoral Apocalypse: 2016 Edition

Trump v Clinton 3/16
Hypothetical Trump vs Clinton generated by Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball. Data collected from polls and political trends.

We’ve heard people claim Donald Trump has the potential to expand the GOP voting base for nearly nine months–particularly blue-collar workers in Midwestern states such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Other people say a Trump candidacy will produce a map similar to Barry Goldwater’s 1964 catastrophe.

Of course, it’s only March. We have a little over seven months for the election to unfold and the October surprise could be anything. But political scientists are still extrapolating how November 2016 will play out. Larry Sabato, professor of Political Science at the University of Virginia and creator of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, says we’re in for a Democratic victory, but it won’t be a repeat of 1964. Emphasis is ours.

While the GOP defection rate [in Utah] would likely be higher than the usual 10% or so, it wouldn’t be as mountainous as some current surveys suggest. In Utah, the GOP candidate for the White House sometimes receives over 70% of the vote; that’s a lot of votes to be frittered away before a Democrat could win, and LBJ was the last to do so in 1964. Party identification will assert itself for millions of Republicans across the nation, and all or virtually all states with a vast GOP advantage will end up going Republican by some margin. Perhaps a different Democratic nominee would have more crossover appeal, but we have to remember how much Republicans dislike Hillary Clinton.

Needless to say, Trump will win states such as Alabama, Montana, Nebraska, and Texas. He will, however, lose nearly every swing state such as Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. The large block of electoral votes that will always go for the Democrat, also known as the “Blue Wall”, will give Hillary Clinton a better chance to win the White House right off the bat. She’ll need to take one swing state such as Florida or Ohio to win the general election. Sabato says a Trump candidacy would allow Clinton to flip likely Republican states in addition to the swing states.

Polls may be ephemeral and sometimes wildly inaccurate, yet surveys (and demographics) are the only hard data we have this far out from the election. The polling averages for a Clinton-Trump face-off show roughly a 10 percentage point lead for the Democrat. RealClearPolitics has Clinton up about 11 points and HuffPost Pollster gives Clinton a lead of about nine points. This kind of Democratic advantage, if properly distributed, would produce an Electoral College result similar to, or greater than, Barack Obama’s 2008 total of 365 electoral votes to John McCain’s 173 (Obama won the national popular vote by 7.3 points). Again, this suggests that one or more states currently rated Likely Republican (Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, and Missouri) might slip into the Democratic column.

Sabato points out political parties have rough election cycles. Four years after Goldwater’s 1964 nomination, Republicans won the White House. Four years after McGovern’s 1972 disaster, Democrats claimed the White House. It’s possible to see Republicans stitch its wounds for an epic rebound in 2020. Conversely, the party of Lincoln could see itself ripped into shreds only to emerge weakened for decades.

Trump’s campaign thus far has produced many words and little action. His campaign is undoubtedly ushering in an era of political realignment unseen since the election years of McKinley, FDR, and Reagan. The political fate of Georgia and the Midwest remains a mystery–one thing is certain though: Trump’s campaign will change the map.

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ScottNAtlantaTheManUndertheBridgeDave Bearseaugusta52xdog Recent comment authors
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Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Thomas Jefferson and some guys in knickers came to me in a dream and saying they had no clue what the people or those we elected were doing but this was the time for us to brush up on the Constitution, Article 2 Section 1, Electors. I then began to have good feelings about electors going with someone different in both parties. Until I asked a question that, when explained in 2016 language, turned it into a nightmare: what is he meaning in the exclusion of electors that hold an office of Trust or Profit under the United States……? Public… Read more »

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Played with that briefly and the constitution does not define office of profit but it was widely referred to in various countries, usually court decided, and many times swung on if the government has an influence in hiring or releasing the person.

Anyway it would be more fun to beat that to death than their religious freedoms.

xdog
xdog

Four years after Goldwater, the country endured a murderous war, riots, assassinations. Four years after McGovern, the country expanded the war before the depths of Nixon’s trickiness were laid bare. I concede the general point that the pendulum always swings back but not that success is guaranteed after electoral annihilation.

xdog
xdog

I forgot to mention that other maps I’ve seen give the donks one EV each in Nebraska and Maine. Those two states assign EVs to whomever wins a congressional district, a practice I support.

augusta52
augusta52

Xdog, problem with allocating electoral votes by congressional district is that would encourage gerrymandering—you would end up in many cases with the statewide popular vote winner losing the electoral votes of that state. If I recall correctly, Romney won 16 of Florida’s 27 congressional districts—and still lost the state to Obama (though narrowly). Under that system, in 2012 Romney would have gotten 16 electoral votes and Obama just 13 (Obama 11 for winning his districts and 2 for the statewide count/Us Senate seats). Or take Virginia, these days a closely contested state after decades of usually backing republican presidential candidates;… Read more »

xdog
xdog

Good point. I didn’t realize how much the CD vote is predicated on the House make-up.

“In the 2012 election, the Democrat, incumbent
President Obama, ‘won’ 209 districts while the
Republican, former Governor Romney, ‘won’ 226.”

That’s despite the fact that Obama carried 17 goper CDs and Romney only 9 donk CDs.

http://cookpolitical.com/file/2013-04-50.pdf

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

I think it’s less than half gerrymander (because there is some offsetting Democratic gerrymandering). Whatever the reason, overall nationally, Democratic majority areas tend to have a higher fraction Democratic majority that GOP areas have GOP majorities.

TheManUndertheBridge
TheManUndertheBridge

If Sabato is wrong about Fl/OH the GOP is STILL behind by more than 50 EV’s.

I have always felt Sabato is pretty accurate, but leans Dem, so we will see if the Trump effect is real or if gillions of Dems crossed over and will abandon him in the General.

Madame Secretary is about to be interviewed by FBI Dir. Comey, as many here seem to know. I find it fascinating that Al-Jazeera broke the story on their way out the door. They do good work.

http://www.mediaite.com/online/ajams-shuster-exclusive-hillary-clinton-to-be-interviewed-by-fbi-director-comey-in-mere-days/#ooid=YyZWdnMjE69hMwiZFse1YgJVtr52vNqL

augusta52
augusta52

In 2012, Sabato and his crew got 48 of the 50 states right. missing only in Florida (where Obama won by a single percentage point) and Virginia (where Obama won by four points). He may lean Democratic but nonetheless I think his tendency is to “call it like it is”—I’m sure in 2014 for instance he predicted a GOP tsunami blowing away a lot of Democratic officeholders. Worth noting as well that since the 1928 presidential election, every Republican elected president has won Florida, Ohio and Virginia. Of those 3 states, Virginia would be the most likely to go Democratic… Read more »

ScottNAtlanta
ScottNAtlanta

Thats not a very good map for republican senate candidates running for reelection. If that map holds out there will be some down ballot effects for sure.