No matter how this election turns out, Republicans have their work cut out for them as far as the national electoral map goes. Looking at that map it is clear the “red” states are retreating. I hate the terminology of “red” and “blue” states, especially since red is a color long associated with the left, that has improbably been glued onto Republicans. This was foisted on us by NBC news some years back and I really hope we can get rid of this idiotic terminology. In any case the reality is that Reagan could get re-elected winning 49 states in a landslide. It is hard to see how that could be done today.
When you get to the point where Virginia becomes a swing state, along with some western states, it is clear the party has a problem. In the not so distant past California was a swing state, even leaning slightly Republican, and even New York was competitive. Now both, with a huge number of electoral votes, aren’t even being contested. This has a lot to do with the miserable, dysfunctional state of the party in both states, for demography alone cannot explain such a precipitous decline. In addition a whole region of the country is basically written off. If Mitt Romney can’t carry a New England or even a northeastern state it is hard to see how any Republican can. The result is that the electoral vote math for Romney is very limited, to the point where nearly everything hinges on carrying Ohio. There is some irony here with regard to liberal complaints about the electoral college, for it is quite possible that he could win the popular vote and still lose the election.
Whatever happens in this election, the national Republican party has to make a serious effort to reorganize and resuscitate itself in order to again be competitive across the board. The usual mantra on this is being more “inclusive,” which is symbolic nonsense. What has to be done is to win more minds and hearts on matters that concern people, whatever their background, while building a viable organization. The latter is currently essentially ad hoc, put together from campaign to campaign rather than through any kind of sustained effort.
The course of a national election is still going to be determined by the overall state of things, or at least the perceived state of things, If you don’t even try to make the case in several states the odds for winning only get worse and worse. A national election should not hinge on a particular state. We need nationally competitive parties again.