The Golden Ticket to 270
For Republican candidates, the Electoral College could be the elephantine barrier (pun intended) standing in the way of the White House. Examining past elections and current trends shows that Democrats have a numerical advantage in the Electoral College because of certain states historically voting blue. The electoral votes guaranteed to be won by Democrats total about 222. This number, compared to 191 electoral votes guaranteed to be won by Republicans, clearly shows an early advantage for Democrats. It is then up to the swing states to decide which candidate will reach 270 electoral votes needed to win the general election.
*States almost guaranteed to vote Democrat: WA(12), VT(3), CT(7), HI(4), OR(7), MN(10), NJ(14), CA(55), WI(10), ME(4), DE(3), IL(20), MA(11), MD(10), MI(16), NY(29), RI(4), DC(3)
*States almost guaranteed to vote Republican: ID(4), TX(38), AR(6), TN(11), MT(3), OK(7), LA(8), KY(8), ND(3), KS(6), MS(6), IN(11), WY(3), NE(5), AL(9), WV(5), UT(6), SD(3), GA(16), AK(3), AZ(11), MO(10), SC(9)
If Republicans desire to win the White House, it is critical they select a nominee and running mate who will secure the most swing states in order to reach 270. Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, and New Hampshire are not guaranteed wins for either side this election. However, nearly all political analysts agree Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, especially after her performance in the first debate. If this is the case, we can assume she will win Pennsylvania, only because the last time a Republican nominee carried the state was George H.W. Bush in 1988. After winning Pennsylvania, she would need only 28 electoral votes to reach 270.
Governor John Kasich of Ohio and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida could break through the elephantine barrier (again, pun intended) to gain the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Kasich, a twice-elected governor of Ohio, has a 62% job approval rating, including 42% of Ohio Democrats, according to the Quinnipiac University Poll. From 1983 to 2001, he represented Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, serving on the House Armed Services Committee and then becoming chairman of the House Budget Committee. During his time as chairman, Kasich led the way in creating the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 under the Clinton administration. There has not been a federal balanced budget since. Kasich has turned Ohio around economically—creating jobs, lowering taxes, and producing a budget surplus. Governor Kasich would be able to win the state of Ohio, adding 18 electoral votes, bringing the total to 209.
Now, add Marco Rubio to the ticket as vice president. His expertise on foreign policy and immigration make him a desirable running mate. Rubio is the son of Cuban immigrants, which would win the votes of many Hispanics. Rubio’s age could also help attract the votes of younger citizens ages eighteen to twenty-nine, of which 60% supported President Obama in the last election. Not to mention, Rubio is ahead of Hillary in Florida and Ohio. Rubio can win Florida and add 29 electoral votes, totaling 238. Being 32 electoral votes shy of 270, the Kasich/Rubio ticket would need to win North Carolina, Virginia, and New Hampshire.
*In seven of the last eight elections, when Ohio and Florida voted for the same ticket, the ticket went on to win.
North Carolina, Virginia, and New Hampshire would be too close in this case to predict a winner. The Kasich/Rubio ticket would need to rely on its ability to attract independent and moderate voters. This is why they are a strong ticket. Kasich is known for being a moderate conservative and Rubio has a track record of working across the aisle, especially on immigration. With a little bit of luck, Kasich and Rubio could reach 270 electoral votes and win the White House.
The obstacle standing between a Kasich/Rubio ticket winning the election is gaining the support from the Republican base. There is no doubt that this ticket would produce the best outcome for Republicans in a general election, but winning the primary is a different story. The base of the Republican party will need convincing that Kasich is conservative enough. Rubio does help in this matter as he has support from the base, but in this scenario, Kasich needs the nomination.
President Ronald Reagan once said, “I have always figured that half a loaf is better than none, and I know that in the democratic process you’re not going to always get everything you want.” If Republicans do not understand this, they should expect to see Hillary Clinton in the White House. ★
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