Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Republicans Pack for Canada and France

I was driving around Waltham, Weston, Wayland, and Wellesley this Sunday watching the leaves fall. I can’t afford the gas money for the drive to Vermont, although gas does seem to have dropped to $2.55 per gallon here. I was seeing a lot of For Sale signs mixed with the McCain-Palin yard signs. Here in Massachusetts you have to drive out to the W. towns to see any McCain-Palin signs. In Cambridge it’s all Obama signs. You don’t even see so many Obama-Biden signs, as these are folks who got their Obama yards signs up in April when the snow melted. There are some Obama-Biden signs out in the W. towns.

Anyway, all the For Sale signs out in horse farm country got me wondering how much of the stock market plunge that started 6 weeks ago might be due to big money Bush Republicans seeing the handwriting on the wall and cashing out before the election. If they can take their money and run, where would they go?

For years we’ve heard rich liberals threatening to move to Canada or France if the election comes out wrong. But Canada since February 2006 has been governed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose Conservative Party just won reelection in October. Meanwhile, France has been governed since May 2007 by the conservative UMP party under President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister François Fillon. So it would seem that Canada and France have become the last bastions of conservatives in North America and Europe.

Canada, by the way, is still a monarchy under head of state Queen Elizabeth II and her Governor General Michaëlle Jean, a black woman born in Haiti. On news of her appointment in 2005, there were stories that she and her husband had been friendly with separatist terrorists from French-speaking Quebec, but she has served as Governor General of Canada since 2005 with no untoward effect.

So why would the big Bushies be packing their money bags while the rest of us are sitting on the edge of our seats for the election results? It’s all about Electoral College vote math. The projections LBOTC watches both show Barack Obama winning 353 to 185 for John McCain. That would be a victory margin of 85 electoral votes for Obama. On the other hand, in 2004 Bush ended up beating Kerry 286 to 252, so McCain could sneak in an Electoral College victory if he upset the polling trends and pulled off victories in most all the states George Bush over John Kerry won in 2004.

What to watch for on Tuesday night:

Florida (27), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), and Ohio (20) – These were Bush states in 2004 and 2000, and they’ll be among the first states to report results, so if Obama is winning most or all of these, you can go to bed early (not that you will). But Obama can lose all of these and still win the election.

Pennsylvania (21) – Of the states Kerry won in 2004, Pennsylvania seems to be McCain’s best chance for an upset. McCain needs a victory in Pennsylvania to offset the Bush states he may lose in the East as well as the Bush states he will lose in the West. Republican strategists had hoped to win over Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan in the Great Lakes region, and this is all that is left of that dream. For the geographically impaired, Pennsylvania is on Lake Erie.

Missouri (11) and Iowa (7) – For Obama, this is the firewall. If Obama wins both of these, I see no way for McCain to pull off an upset.

New Mexico (5), Colorado (9), Nevada (5) – These states went for Bush in 2004 but are expected to go for Obama in 2008. Kerry needed only 18 more electoral votes to beat Bush in 2004, so even if McCain pulls out victories in all the other states Bush won in 2004, the 19 electoral votes in these 3 states could still put Barack Obama over the top. This has been the Democratic Western States strategy, figuring out how to win without Ohio or Florida, the losing battlegrounds of 2004 and 2000 respectively. So even if Obama gets off to a slow start in the East, he can still win in the West.

Massachusetts (12) – Barack Obama will win big here, the only question is by how much. John Kerry got 1,803,800 votes here in 2004, which is the current record, second to 1,786,422 votes for Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Al Gore got 1,616,487 votes here in 2000. With a record turnout expected, Barack Obama could shatter the records with 2,000,000 votes. The other thing to watch in Massachusetts is whether Barack Obama for President scores more votes statewide than John Kerry in his reelection bid for Senate. You don’t have to vote for Kerry’s opponent to help this along, just don’t vote for Kerry. Remember, Kerry voted for the war before he voted against it.

National Popular Vote – As we all learned in 2000, the popular vote total doesn’t count, except for bragging rights. Look for Barack Obama to break the 70,000,000 vote mark. George W. Bush holds the current record with 62,040,610 votes in 2004. John Kerry has second place with 59,028,444 votes in 2000.

U.S. House of Representatives – The three races I’m following are Steve King v. Rob Hubler in Iowa’s 5th congressional district, Michelle Bachmann v. Elwyn Tinklenberg in Minnesota’s 6th congressional district, and Jean Schmidt v. Victoria Wulsin in Ohio’s 2nd congressional district. Also look to see if any incumbents get punished by their constituents for voting for or against the October financial bailout.

U.S. Senate – There has been talk that the Democrats might reach the magic 60 seat mark in the Senate, which under Senate rules would enable them to prevent Republican filibusters and make it much easier to pass legislation. However, that talk ignores the fact that seat 60 would be Joe Lieberman, who Democrats tried to purge from their party in 2006 and who is now campaigning for John McCain. So, if you’re staying up super late to get the final Senate results, you may need an intervention.

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