Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Did Bloomberg's Interference In Colorado Recall Give The GOP The 2016 Presidency?

In two state senate recall elections in two Democrat seats in Colorado the question at issue was the Democrat's gun control legislation which law was sign by Democrat Governor Hickenlooper. In an event, unprecedented in Colorado's history, The President of the Senate John Morse was recalled in a marginally Democratic seat by 1.2%. In a stunning reversal Senator Angela Giron was recalled in a seat that had a +22 Democrat lean. Not  only was Giron defeated, she was landslided out in double figures by 12.2 points.

Giron's seat has a substantial Hispanic population, is working class Democrat, and was carried by President Obama by 22%. Democrat's can trot out all the usual non-presidential year low turnout by the base arguments they like but, however they slice, it Giron's defeat was astonishing.

It was even more astonishing given the massive amount of money outside groups and individuals like New York City Mayor Bloomberg threw at it in an attempt to influence anti-gun legislation. Bloomberg gave $300,000 personally, and the total money available for the Dem's was reported at $3 million, a huge difference to what was available for the Republican effort-a 6-1 deficit. The Anti-recall forces also ran 2,346 television adverts to only 144 for the recall campaign.

Looking to 2016 Colorado, may be the key factor in the Electoral College in a tight campaign. President Obama won it twice after the state had been reliably Republican previously, and the influx of Hispanic voters would have played a significant role in changing the state to lean Democratic. It is perhaps highly significant then that Giron's electorate with its Hispanic/blue collar "Reagan Democrat" element had such a massive swing to the GOP.

If the Democrat's are seen to be anti-gun in this western state, and the Republicans run a team that includes a pro-gun populist, a libertarian as regards marijuana use and an Hispanic person or one who has Hispanic support, then the state could swing back and with it the election. 

Studies have shown that if the Reagan Democrats/Perot voters had turned out for Romney he could have won in 2012, the Colorado result shows that Democrats will vote for Republican issues if those issues are seen to affect them directly. 

By financing the anti-gun Democrats in Colorado Bloomberg and his progressive allies may have inadvertently given the GOP a strong issue to put in front of exactly the voters they  need to win over in 2016-conservative Democrats and Western Hispanics

If in 2016 the economy has not recovered and is in fact in a parlous situation then history shows, as with John McCain in 2008 it doesn't matter who the candidate for the party holding the presidency is, no matter how prominent and capable, or who the challenger is, no matter how unknown or judged incapable, there will be a landslide to the challenger.

But if the economy is in a recovery situation and President Obama is "relatively  popular" is Hillary Clinton,if the candidate, guaranteed of victory-the Electoral College map says otherwise. In effect nothing has changed from the Romney campaign of 2012. The Republican candidate needs to win Florida/Virginia/Ohio. If any one of those three is lost then Republican supporters can turn off their televisions and go get whatever drink best drowns their sorrows.

Those three states were won by President Obama by easily overturned margins so this is a more than reasonable scenario: Florida won by 0.86%  Ohio 2.98%  Virginia 3.88%

If those three are won the game is still not in the bag but it looks promising. Any one of Iowa/Colorado/Nevada would do to provide the winning Electoral College margin as indicated in the map above.

All things being equal i.e. an unpopular second term for President Obama and the economy still not in full recovery and the normal turn of the historic electoral wheel the GOP has every chance of victory even if Hillary is the nominee. If she is not the nominee then even New Hampshire, or New Mexico if Governor Martinez is on the ticket is in play as well.

The Colorado recall elections may well mark the GOP's path to the presidency. By itself gun legislation will not have been the total reason for such a victory but, where it counts, in non-urban "Reagan Democrat" regions it may be the deciding factor.

Here is how Colorado could be crucial in 2016 (270 Electoral votes required)