Could Hillary Expand Obama’s Electoral Map?
Conventional wisdom holds that Democrats will have a tougher time in the future creating the same electorate witnessed in 2008 and 2012 once Barack Obama is no longer on the ballot. The contrarian view to that might be to start at what President Obama achieve electorally, then expand it. Here’s a scenario from a Clinton strategist gaming out the electoral map.
Report from Talking Points Memo:
The top minds in the proto-Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign infrastructure are already gaming out Electoral College scenarios. What they think they have is a candidate who could compete in a handful of traditionally red states, putting Republicans on the defensive and increasing her chances of winning the White House.
Mitch Stewart, Obama’s 2012 battleground state director who is now an independent consultant advising the grassroots group Ready for Hillary, laid out the electoral math to TPM in a recent interview. Clinton will start with Obama’s map, he said, and can build from there.
There are two buckets of states potentially in play. Arkansas, Indiana and Missouri comprise one bucket. The first is a somewhat unique case, given Clinton’s history there, while the other two were razor-thin in 2008, but the principle is the same: Clinton has a record of appealing to white working-class voters — especially women — and they could be enough when paired with the Obama coalition to pull out a win.
The second bucket consists of Arizona and Georgia, two states that Democrats believe are demographically trending toward them, a process that could accelerate with the voter turnout that usually occurs in presidential elections. As Stewart put it, they are “structurally on the precipice of becoming purple states and a presidential campaign can be the catalyzing factor to move those states forward.”
If Hillary Clinton were to hold the Obama states from 2012 and then flip even half of these states in 2016 with her own appeal, where is a road to victory for a Republican candidate? Of course, this scenario assumes an awful lot from the start. First of all, it assumes that as the nominee, Hillary Clinton would automatically inherit Obama’s electorate. I think that’s a faulty assumption to begin with but gaming out the electoral process is fascinating from a strategical perspective.