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21st Century Democratic Election Map


vcczar
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Here's a map of the best general election performances by Democratic nominee by state. Amazingly, Obama secures 270 EVs, even with Biden, Clinton, Kerry, and Gore competing against him. This just magnifies how strong Obama was of a nominee. 

Obama 292 EVs

Biden 129 EVs

Clinton 60 EVs

Gore 57 EVs

Kerry 0 EVs

John Kerry failed to carry any state. Obama sort of wipes him out in his areas of strength and Biden took MA from him. I should note that Clinton's score comes only from CA and UT. She barely beat Biden in CA, so she could have been stuck at 6 EVs. 

I'll do the same for the GOP at some point. My guess is George W Bush clearly wins the GOP map. 

mrxKP.png

 

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Just now, jvikings1 said:

No surprise to see Obama dominating. He had the best environment of all in 2008 and was the strongest Dem candidate by far of those mentioned

About 3 or 4 of these Obama states come from the 2012 campaign. I think an Obama 3rd-term vs Trump would have seen him pick up all the Clinton and Biden states on this map since Trump was a weaker candidate than both McCain and Romney. Only reason Trump won in 2016 was because he was facing Hillary Clinton of all people. If Trump weren't an incumbent in 2020, he was have been demolished by Biden, who already soundly beat him without really campaigning. In all, I don't think the GOP has had a strong nominee since GW Bush. 

By my estimation, the GOP has had one strong nominee (Bush), two mediocre nominees (McCain and Romney), and 1 garbage nominee (Trump). Democrats are kind of in the same boat with one strong (Obama), two mediocre (Gore and Biden), but they have two garbage nominees (Kerry and Clinton). I'd actually place Kerry somewhere between mediocre and garbage because he's never been detested the way Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been. That 2016 was definitely pitting the worst nominees ever by both parties in the primary era. I think the only person Hillary Clinton could have beated in 2016 is Ben Carson, even while at the time it seemed impossible she could lose to Trump. 

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Just now, vcczar said:

About 3 or 4 of these Obama states come from the 2012 campaign. I think an Obama 3rd-term vs Trump would have seen him pick up all the Clinton and Biden states on this map since Trump was a weaker candidate than both McCain and Romney. Only reason Trump won in 2016 was because he was facing Hillary Clinton of all people. If Trump weren't an incumbent in 2020, he was have been demolished by Biden, who already soundly beat him without really campaigning. In all, I don't think the GOP has had a strong nominee since GW Bush. 

By my estimation, the GOP has had one strong nominee (Bush), two mediocre nominees (McCain and Romney), and 1 garbage nominee (Trump). Democrats are kind of in the same boat with one strong (Obama), two mediocre (Gore and Biden), but they have two garbage nominees (Kerry and Clinton). I'd actually place Kerry somewhere between mediocre and garbage because he's never been detested the way Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been. That 2016 was definitely pitting the worst nominees ever by both parties in the primary era. I think the only person Hillary Clinton could have beated in 2016 is Ben Carson, even while at the time it seemed impossible she could lose to Trump. 

Trump was definitely not a weaker candidate than McCain. McCain lacked the willpower to put together any sort of competitive campaign. He just wanted to play nice all the time and let things play out. And he got whipped because of it (even losing Indiana).

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7 minutes ago, vcczar said:

About 3 or 4 of these Obama states come from the 2012 campaign. I think an Obama 3rd-term vs Trump would have seen him pick up all the Clinton and Biden states on this map since Trump was a weaker candidate than both McCain and Romney. Only reason Trump won in 2016 was because he was facing Hillary Clinton of all people. If Trump weren't an incumbent in 2020, he was have been demolished by Biden, who already soundly beat him without really campaigning. In all, I don't think the GOP has had a strong nominee since GW Bush. 

By my estimation, the GOP has had one strong nominee (Bush), two mediocre nominees (McCain and Romney), and 1 garbage nominee (Trump). Democrats are kind of in the same boat with one strong (Obama), two mediocre (Gore and Biden), but they have two garbage nominees (Kerry and Clinton). I'd actually place Kerry somewhere between mediocre and garbage because he's never been detested the way Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been. That 2016 was definitely pitting the worst nominees ever by both parties in the primary era. I think the only person Hillary Clinton could have beated in 2016 is Ben Carson, even while at the time it seemed impossible she could lose to Trump. 

I have the opposite reaction of Jviking, I didn't think McCain was a mediocre candidate, he was beating Gore by a larger margin than Bush in head to head polling early in 2000 and had the highest approvals of any candidate in the race for a time. He was a war hero with a moderate record and I think 2008 just presented circumstances that no GOP candidate could have overcome and that didn't exactly play to McCain's strengths.

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7 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

Trump was definitely not a weaker candidate than McCain. McCain lacked the willpower to put together any sort of competitive campaign. He just wanted to play nice all the time and let things play out. And he got whipped because of it (even losing Indiana).

 

1 minute ago, ShortKing said:

I have the opposite reaction of Jviking, I didn't think McCain was a mediocre candidate, he was beating Gore by a larger margin than Bush in head to head polling early in 2000 and had the highest approvals of any candidate in the race for a time. He was a war hero with a moderate record and I think 2008 just presented circumstances that no GOP candidate could have overcome and that didn't exactly play to McCain's strengths.

Yeah, I also disagree with @jvikings1. I remember the 2008 election fairly well, having watched all the debates and keeping up with it day-to-day. I even got to meet Obama with the VIP crowd when he came to Texas (saw Ted Kennedy that same week too and shook his hand). McCain actually overperformed. Because of Bush's failed president, Obama was a shoe-in for the presidency. It was actually closer than estimated. McCain was probably a slightly stronger candidate than Romney, who was about as wooden as John Kerry. 

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46 minutes ago, ShortKing said:

I have the opposite reaction of Jviking, I didn't think McCain was a mediocre candidate, he was beating Gore by a larger margin than Bush in head to head polling early in 2000 and had the highest approvals of any candidate in the race for a time. He was a war hero with a moderate record and I think 2008 just presented circumstances that no GOP candidate could have overcome and that didn't exactly play to McCain's strengths.

I also think Palin had a large part in his 2008 margin. Not like he could come back and win but 2008 may have been more like 2012 if he didn’t pick such a disaster. 

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4 hours ago, vcczar said:

 

Yeah, I also disagree with @jvikings1. I remember the 2008 election fairly well, having watched all the debates and keeping up with it day-to-day. I even got to meet Obama with the VIP crowd when he came to Texas (saw Ted Kennedy that same week too and shook his hand). McCain actually overperformed. Because of Bush's failed president, Obama was a shoe-in for the presidency. It was actually closer than estimated. McCain was probably a slightly stronger candidate than Romney, who was about as wooden as John Kerry. 

What do you base your candidate strengths on? Because people in the political strategy industry are much more in line with what I said than you.

And Romney didn't run a strong campaign either. His people were arrogant and thought they had it in the bag. So, they let off the gas in the late stages (not to mention Romney's disastrous 3rd debate performance).

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4 hours ago, ShortKing said:

I have the opposite reaction of Jviking, I didn't think McCain was a mediocre candidate, he was beating Gore by a larger margin than Bush in head to head polling early in 2000 and had the highest approvals of any candidate in the race for a time. He was a war hero with a moderate record and I think 2008 just presented circumstances that no GOP candidate could have overcome and that didn't exactly play to McCain's strengths.

Approvals don't necessarily make someone a strong candidate. And him being a moderate is what made him a weaker candidate because the party base did not have motivation to come out and vote. People forget that the Tea Party started in reaction to Bush's bailouts. There was no way those voters were gonna be driven to the polls by McCain.

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11 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

Approvals don't necessarily make someone a strong candidate. And him being a moderate is what made him a weaker candidate because the party base did not have motivation to come out and vote. People forget that the Tea Party started in reaction to Bush's bailouts. There was no way those voters were gonna be driven to the polls by McCain.

Yeah McCain's policy positions turned off some folks to his right, I remember Ann Coulter I think going so far as to endorse Obama, but to say that McCain did worse than a potential GOP nominee who was more conservative and had lower approval ratings would have done seems less than serious. 

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24 minutes ago, ShortKing said:

Yeah McCain's policy positions turned off some folks to his right, I remember Ann Coulter I think going so far as to endorse Obama, but to say that McCain did worse than a potential GOP nominee who was more conservative and had lower approval ratings would have done seems less than serious. 

 

38 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

Approvals don't necessarily make someone a strong candidate. And him being a moderate is what made him a weaker candidate because the party base did not have motivation to come out and vote. People forget that the Tea Party started in reaction to Bush's bailouts. There was no way those voters were gonna be driven to the polls by McCain.

There’s also people the drive people to the other party. Coulter aside, McCain wasn’t that divisive. I think only Clinton and Trump had negative drive. That is, arguably roused the opposition more than they did supporters. The 2016 election is odd because they were both in it. 

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3 hours ago, jvikings1 said:

Approvals don't necessarily make someone a strong candidate. And him being a moderate is what made him a weaker candidate because the party base did not have motivation to come out and vote. People forget that the Tea Party started in reaction to Bush's bailouts. There was no way those voters were gonna be driven to the polls by McCain.

I think you’re cherry picking here because this just doesn’t make sense with what happened. The Sarah Palin effect, and Obama effect caused McCain to solidify margins in southern states, rural areas, and began the trends that have essentially completed today in states like West Virginia.

McCain was a moderate but he chose a very right wing VP. They loved Palin. And again, as Vcczar said, McCain overperformed. So I don’t understand your point.

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I recently read David Axelrods autobiography and when it got to Palin I expected him to bare into McCain for the pick like he did with certain other moves and statements. Instead Axelrod actually seemed to think that for the election she was more of a boost then a liablity. He brings up that she got the Right wing excited when they didnt like McCain, how she got people to actually go to his rally's and her appeal to demographics that were important (Alienated people first and foremost).

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23 hours ago, vcczar said:

About 3 or 4 of these Obama states come from the 2012 campaign. I think an Obama 3rd-term vs Trump would have seen him pick up all the Clinton and Biden states on this map since Trump was a weaker candidate than both McCain and Romney. Only reason Trump won in 2016 was because he was facing Hillary Clinton of all people. If Trump weren't an incumbent in 2020, he was have been demolished by Biden, who already soundly beat him without really campaigning. In all, I don't think the GOP has had a strong nominee since GW Bush. 

By my estimation, the GOP has had one strong nominee (Bush), two mediocre nominees (McCain and Romney), and 1 garbage nominee (Trump). Democrats are kind of in the same boat with one strong (Obama), two mediocre (Gore and Biden), but they have two garbage nominees (Kerry and Clinton). I'd actually place Kerry somewhere between mediocre and garbage because he's never been detested the way Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been. That 2016 was definitely pitting the worst nominees ever by both parties in the primary era. I think the only person Hillary Clinton could have beated in 2016 is Ben Carson, even while at the time it seemed impossible she could lose to Trump. 

Maybe!  Just remember that the election of Trump himself was a reaction to 8 years of Obama.  You and I mostly loved Obama, but so many people didn’t that we ended up in MAGA/Nazi land for the next four years.  
 

So a literal third term for Obama would have probably led to even bigger backlash.

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22 hours ago, Pringles said:

I also think Palin had a large part in his 2008 margin. Not like he could come back and win but 2008 may have been more like 2012 if he didn’t pick such a disaster. 

This.  McCain knew he was behind, but it was still a winnable race.  I liked Obama and McCain about equally.  I liked Obama as a person more, maybe, but there was no question in my mind that McCain had the experience to get the job done while Obama might just be a flash in the pan.

And McCain knew this, and was smartly leaning into it.  Trumpeting his experience and dismissing Obama as a “rockstar” unqualified for the office.  It could have worked.  It certainly got me leaning back to McCain.

Then he chose Sarah Palin, literally the least qualified person he could find, and as flash in the pan as they come.  Coupled with his status as the oldest nominee at that point and not getting any younger, it was a colossal mistake.

He got desperate and threw a Hail Mary, hoping to get his own “rockstar” who the media would fall in love with.  Instead, it highlighted that what Obama might lack in experience, he makes up for with intelligence. As opposed to Sarah Palin.  It also called into question McCain’s decision making capabilities, because, you know, GOOD LORD what a bad decision.

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19 minutes ago, MrPotatoTed said:

Then he chose Sarah Palin, literally the least qualified person he could find, and as flash in the pan as they come.  Coupled with his status as the oldest nominee at that point and not getting any younger, it was a colossal mistake. 

Especially considering the bench of conservatives he could've gone with instead. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Haley Barbour of MS, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice (though the latter 2 were probably too close to the Bush administration to get tabbed). 

The attempt made sense to lock in his base, but it lost him the middle, especially as Moderates and swing voters got to know how clueless Palin could be. 

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3 minutes ago, 10centjimmy said:

Especially considering the bench of conservatives he could've gone with instead. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Haley Barbour of MS, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice (though the latter 2 were probably too close to the Bush administration to get tabbed). 

The attempt made sense to lock in his base, but it lost him the middle, especially as Moderates and swing voters got to know how clueless Palin could be. 

not to mention there wasn't much appeal to being the running mate of a doomed presidential campaign, so the pool of willing applicants is likely narrower for McCain than it was for most nominees

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I think it’s notable that McCain’s actual plan was to have his pal, Democrat and Kerry’s VP Candidate Joe Lieberman as his Vice President.

 

THAT is the kind of Hail Mary play that could have worked.  Moderates who are nervous about Obama’s experience would love the mixed ticket, and even liberals would recognize this was a big change from the Bush era.

 

But Conservative party leaders refused to get on board with the Lieberman plan, leading to the last minute scramble that gave us Palin.

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1 hour ago, MrPotatoTed said:

I think it’s notable that McCain’s actual plan was to have his pal, Democrat and Kerry’s VP Candidate Joe Lieberman as his Vice President.

 

THAT is the kind of Hail Mary play that could have worked.  Moderates who are nervous about Obama’s experience would love the mixed ticket, and even liberals would recognize this was a big change from the Bush era.

 

But Conservative party leaders refused to get on board with the Lieberman plan, leading to the last minute scramble that gave us Palin.

I would’ve gladly traded 60% margins in the south for the mid 50’s if it meant we got that ticket. It’d win the Midwest and maybe even western states like Nevada and Colorado back. 
 

Hail Marys sometimes work. This one would’ve ended better than Palins Hail Mary.

Appealing to the base is as equally important as appealing to moderates and building a big tent.

Lieberman may not appeal to the base but take the attack to Obama’s youth, liberal policies, etc. The base will ultimately come out for you as they always do. Slightly less maybe, but they will.

 

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1 hour ago, ShortKing said:

not to mention there wasn't much appeal to being the running mate of a doomed presidential campaign, so the pool of willing applicants is likely narrower for McCain than it was for most nominees

Although I guess to be fair, while it was an extremely uphill campaign for the  republican party due to Bush luggage and the financial crisis,  it wasn't really doomed until "the fundamentals of our economy are strong".  Unclear if there's a direct correlation from the comment to November, but it stands out as another reason McCain lost. 

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1 hour ago, MrPotatoTed said:

I think it’s notable that McCain’s actual plan was to have his pal, Democrat and Kerry’s VP Candidate Joe Lieberman as his Vice President.

 

THAT is the kind of Hail Mary play that could have worked.  Moderates who are nervous about Obama’s experience would love the mixed ticket, and even liberals would recognize this was a big change from the Bush era.

 

But Conservative party leaders refused to get on board with the Lieberman plan, leading to the last minute scramble that gave us Palin.

Also not to be a nerd or anything, but Lieberman was achsually Gores VP candidate. 😛 

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31 minutes ago, 10centjimmy said:

Although I guess to be fair, while it was an extremely uphill campaign for the  republican party due to Bush luggage and the financial crisis,  it wasn't really doomed until "the fundamentals of our economy are strong".  Unclear if there's a direct correlation from the comment to November, but it stands out as another reason McCain lost. 

I mean, the financial crisis was always going to lead to something like that for McCain, economics was not his area of expertise or an issue he was particularly comfortable on. It played to his weaknesses as a candidate, and while you can imagine someone with more of a background in business or economics doing better in that situation, I'm not confident it would have been navigable for any flavor of Republican after 8 years of a GOP administration.

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