It is widely being reported that the data from the new decennial census provides us with good news. The new reapportionment based upon the population shifts will have ramifications on the presidential election and on House seats. We'll start with this article by analyzing how reapportionment affects our prospects to win the presidency in 2012.
The New Reapportionment
States gaining Congressional seats: Arizona (1), Florida (2), Georgia (1), Nevada (1), South Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1).
States losing Congressional seats: Illinois (1), Iowa (1), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), New York (2), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (1).
In order to properly assess the ramifications of reapportionment on the 2012 elections, we need to divide up the states into several categories; solid GOP, solid Dem, and swing states (red, blue, and purple). Any meaningful appraisement of the political leanings of specific states will judge them based upon their election returns during the past three presidential elections. The 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections have ostensibly set the table for the modern electoral dynamic. Let's categorize the solid red states as those that voted Republican all three times (McCain states), solid democrat states as those that voted Democrat all three times, and swing states as those who vacillated between elections. Based upon this criteria, here is the breakdown of the states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming
California, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin
Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia
According to the new census, the Red states net gained 6 seats, the blue states had a net loss of six, and the purple states canceled out for no change. Expressed another way, if the 2012 Republican nominee would win the same states that McCain won in 2008, he (or she) would win 180 electoral votes, instead of 174. Please note that I am automatically counting the one electoral vote that Obama won in 2008, as there is no chance in hell that he'll do it again.
As we attempt to construct a pathway to the magical 270, let's first go through the list of purple states. Of the ten purple states listed above; North Carolina, Virginia, and especially Indiana should be in our column. They were easily won by Bush in both elections and were only lost by small margins in the worst of political climates, with the worst of Republican nominees. This brings the total number of electors to 219. Out of the four remaining "purple" states in which Bush won both times (Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio), Florida appears to be the most promising. With Florida's extra two seats this will add another 29, for a total of 248.
If you will notice, we are still 21 votes shy of a tie, and 22 short of a victory without Ohio (18 more votes). Thus, the new favorable reapportionment doesn't change the fundamental electoral calculus that in order to win the presidency we still need Florida and Ohio. The only way to add another 22 electoral votes without Ohio, is to win Nevada (6), and Colorado (9), for another 15, plus two of the three remaining purple states; Iowa (6), New Hampshire (4), and New Mexico (5). If that were to occur, it is highly unlikely that we would lose Ohio anyway. Based upon the electoral results in 2010, we appear to be in a stronger position in Ohio than either Colorado or Nevada.
The only major paradigm shift that I can ascertain is the following. Until the release of the census, the states in which Bush won twice (all of the red states+ Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia) were worth 274 votes. Thus, we could not afford to lose any marginal swing state. Now, they are worth another eight, for a total of 282. This new electoral map would allow us to lose either Nevada (6) or Colorado (9), and still come out on top. This is very significant because we did not do as well in those two western states in 2010 as we did in Florida and Ohio. Of course, we might also have a shot at Wisconsin or even Pennsylvania and Michigan, depending on how many drones remain infatuated with The One.
Next time, we'll examine the repercussions of reapportionment and redistricting on the House races.