Tuesday, September 9, 2008

McCain's hope...

OK, so the McCain/Palin ticket is benefiting from its convention bounce and some polls show them ahead of Obama/Biden. However, for multiple reasons the latter should still win. a) Even given parity in the popular vote, what is important is the state-by-state distribution of that vote and the corresponding effect on the Electoral College vote. At 49-49 in the popular vote Obama/Biden are still winners in the Electoral College if you look at the state-by-state polls and breakdown e.g. see the figure below from 'FiveThirtyeight.com - Electoral Projections done right.'

b) The McCain/Palin convention bounce will wear off, as did that of Obama/Biden. c) What will be dispositive will be the debates, the relative numbers of gaffes made by each side, and economic (and possibly international) conditions between now and the elections. Finally d) the record of President Bush over the last eight years is a lead weight around the necks of McCain/Palin!

What is not receiving much focus at this point is that beyond the presidential choice at the top of the ticket, control of the House and Senate are also up for grabs... All indications are that the Democrats are going to handily increase their majorities in each body, the question only being by how many seats. This blogger is not sure if they will ever make this explicit, but the only hope for McCain/Palin (at this point, and short of a game-changing event) seems to be that the electorate will decide to split their vote and opt for divided government - a President McCain, but with his authority checked by a Democratic party with enhanced majorities in each body who could temper and prevent his worst excesses!

It is true that this split would have the potential to get "ugly' but the electorate has shown a penchant for divided government before. Some of President Clinton's positive legacy occurred in concurrence with a Republican-majority in the House and Senate. True, you do have to put aside some Republican excesses (multiple independent counsel investigations which fizzled; attempted impeachment; etc., etc.) but the Democrats have shown no 'stomach' for similar tactics, and this blogger doubts that the Democrats will have the nerve to do much against an ex-president Bush, given that Democratic Party leaders and stalwarts were complicit in a number of the activities for which he could (in theory) be pursued!

Related blog posts:

Post-electoral scenario - II - September 2nd
Post-electoral scenario - I - September 2nd
The founders' genius - July 4th
Diversify! - May 5th