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Romney WILL lose to Obama; Santorum has a chance to win

For the GOP nominee to win in 2012, he will need at-least 269 electorial votes.  This is not my opinion, this is a fact.  The only way to get these electorial votes is to win states (with a couple exceptions of votes allocated by district).  There are some states, like Utah, that any GOP nominee will win.  There are other states, like Vermont, that Obama will win.  Then there are swing states.

The mid-point swing state — the one that is most likely to determine the winner is Virginia.  Ohio and Florida are the two largest Republican-leaning swing states.  These 3 states are all MUST-win states for the GOP nominee, but are not enough in themselves for victory.  There are several smaller states that are importaint: IA, NH, CO, and NV.  There are also a number of more strongly leaning GOP states that the GOP must win to include: NC, MO, AZ, and IN.  A GOP victory will need to include: NC, MO, AZ, IN, VA, OH, FL, and 2 or 3 of the 4 smaller states IA, NH, CO, and NV.  The good news about the smaller states is that individually, none is a must-win.  However, in the case of the big three: Virginia, Ohio, and Florida — all are must-wins.

Of the big three, Florida will be the easiest to win.  If the GOP can win Hispanics, the GOP nominee will win Fl.  All GOP candidates have been pandering to Hispanics since the FL primary and FL should be a win.  There are a few other challenges to winning Fl, but those challenges would be fixed in any strategy with a chance to win Ohio and Virginia.  Since Fl is heavily reliant on retired folks and tourists, GOP economic arguements will work well there.  The same is true for social issues.  Florida has a large number of military voters due to the lack of an income tax  These voters typically add a few points to the vote for the GOP candidate, so polls tend to underestimate how the GOP will do.

Ohio is a harder challenge.  This state is one where the GOP candidate really matters.  Ohio voters support the GOP’s message on social issues, support repeal of Obamacare, and are not happy with Obama.  However, Ohio voters do not agree with Romney on a number of issues.  The primary issue of concern in Ohio was the bill to strip union rights from public employees in Ohio.  The GOP governor and legislature passed a bill limiting their rights.  Voters voted 62% to repeal that.  The key lesson learned is that attacking the pay and benefits of teachers, police, fire, rescue, and other civil servants is not popular in Ohio.  Romney’s private sector experience and his policy plans to cut pay for workers do not help.  What really hurts Romney in Ohio is his support for the legislation, and his insistance on campaigning on an idea that American workers are overpaid.  The Reagan Democrats in Ohio voted for Santorum and Gingrich.  It is hard to see them moving to Romney in a general election.  If Romney wins the GOP nomination and continues to run on the idea that unions and public employees are bad, he will lose Ohio.  A win by Santorum give the GOP a fighting chance for Ohio.  The same is true of Gingrich.  The challenge for Santorum and Gingrich will be demonstraiting to voters that they are mainstream and not too conservative.  Romney’s problems are unfixable.  You cannot fix supporting plans to cut pay for teachers, police, etc. 

Virginia is probably the single state this election cycle where the margine of victory or defeat is certain to be small.  African-Americans will turn out in droves for Obama.  The same is true for liberals.  Within Richmond proper, Obama will amass a large lead.  Rural Virginia is clear-cut.  Should Santorum or Gingrich be the nominee- the GOP will get that vote.  Should Romney be the nominee, Obama would get the vote.  The issue with Rural Virginia is that it votes like West Virginia.  Fiscally liberal, socially conservative.  These votes are the Huckabee voters who support unions, oppose NAFTA and cling to their Bibles and Guns.  They view Romney as a non-Christian, and look at distain with Romney’s elitist viewpoints and policies.

Traditionally, the GOP wins elections by winning the areas surrounding Richmong, the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area, and Northern Virginia with the exception of Arlington and Alexandria.  In GOP victories, the GOP wins all these areas.  In Democrat victories, Democrats win atleast one of those areas.  The good news is that the areas outside Richmond are looking good for the GOP.  These are the soccer-moms.  They are over the idea of the first black president, and now they are not happy with the price of gas, the economy, or Obamacare.

The bad news is that the GOP is losing Northern Virginia and the Va Beach/Norfolk areas.  The Norfolk/ Va Beach area is home to one of the highest concentrations of military bases in the country.  It homeports all the Aircraft Carriers on the East Coast and has military bases from each of the services.  It is a military area, and a very large one at that.  Like all military areas, there are a few military workers and a LOT of civilian federal workers.  Northern Virginia is the home of over 100,000 federal civilian employees.  Taken as a whole, these voters typically vote Republican.  Civilian federal workers in Maryland and DC vote Democrat, but civilian federal workers in Va vote Republican — their conservative views are often why they choose to live in Va, as opposed to MD or DC.  They like the lower VA taxes, and that VA schools teach that marriage is between a man and a woman. 

These voters are part of that minority of people who think George W. Bush was a good president.  They liked Reagan, Bush’s father.  They hate Clinton, and are not fans of Obama.  That said, they truely find the idea of a Romney presidency as unacceptable.  They believe Romney will cut their pay and benefits like he did for the companies he ran.  They are concerned that — like Romney did with the companies he ran — that Romney will take on even more debt than Obama and will cause unfixable damage to our country.  They hate him.

They feel stuck between a rock and a hardplace, and given a choice between Romney or Obama would pick Obama.  There is no doubt, their vote would swing the election to Obama and end the GOP’s chances.

With Santorum or Gingrich there is hope to win these votes.  They hate Obama so much that either Santorum or Gingrich could have a strong shot at winning VA by carrying their votes. 

So, of the 3 key states, Santorum has a better chance to win them all than does Romney.  The battle will not be easy, but Romney has really bad baggage.  A Romney win would require voters to vote for him when he promises to cut their pay and calls them overpaid.  That may be a bridge too far.

I understand that many people in at redstate think that unions are bad.  Many think that boarder guards, police, teachers, and other public servants are overpaid.  However, the fact of the matter is that if the GOP wants to win the election, it needs to realize that in Ohio attacking unions and state workers is horrible politics and will cause the GOP nominee to lose — and on an issue that should be a purely state issue — and that for Virginia, the entire election rests in the hands of federal civilan workers; so it would be best to have a nominee who does post on his website that he wants to cut their pay by more than 1/3.

I am someone who believes we should nominate the most conservative person with a chance to win and run on the most conservative platform that can win.  “that can win” is an importaint part.  We cannot win if we cannot win Virginia and Ohio.  We cannot win either state with Romney’s platform.

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