Wargaming the Electoral College

We’re going to do something a little different today, and examine each campaign’s best-case scenario — and their squeaker scenarios, too. Our betters in the Complicit Media keep telling us that this is a 50/50 nation, so let’s take them at their word this once.


Now, after a nine-figure negative ad campaign against Romney managed to move the needle only slightly — in Romney’s favor — I believe this 50/50 nation stuff is about as accurate as phrenology. Still, it makes for some interesting speculation. And — who knows? — the Democrat machine might just turn up enough dead, illegal, and/or Facebook voters to make it seem true just one more time.

Before we get to that, however, let’s look at the best cases. And for Obama, this first map is as good as it can possibly get:

Here, Romney peels away IN and NC, and that’s it. Keep in mind, Obama lost those two states right around January 20, 2009. The GOP could have raised Hitler from the dead, stuck Zombie Hitler on the top of the ticket, run him on a platform of “BRAAAAAAAAAINS!” and still taken IN and NC away from Obama.

I consider this outcome about as likely as the Brooklyn Dodgers going all the way to the Stanley Cup, barring some kind of unimaginably big (and probably illegal) October Surprise. Honestly though, as ineffective as Team Obama has been thus far, I’d expect their attempt at a Surprise to result in somehow swinging Illinois to Romney.

Now we get to Romney’s best-case, which coincidentally gives us almost the exact same Electoral College result as Obama’s (337 top end for Mitt, vs 332 for Barack). Hmm — maybe there is something to this 50/50 nation notion, after all. Ha — not really. It’s just that the Democrats have enough of a death grip (and I do mean death grip) on big states like CA, IL, and NY that it puts a ceiling over the GOP and a floor under the Dems.


In addition to IN and NC, Romney takes away CO, FL, IA, MI, NH, NV, OH, PA, VA, and WI. That’s a nice haul. A couple of those — MI and PA — would be welcome pickups for Romney, but neither state is likely to determine the election. In other words, Romney is more likely to get to 270 with FL, OH, and VA. MI and PA would just be tasty-but-unnecessary icing on the victory cake.

Now let’s journey deep into the Obama War Room and see what they have cooking down there. It ain’t pretty, but it is a win:

If Obama can just hang on to swing states NV and VA, he hits the magic 270 right on the nose. That would leave Romney with 268, and the worst-blown GOP opportunity since I lost the phone number of that girl who put her hand on my thigh under the bar table.

You can get to the squeaker results in different ways — Obama loses VA but hangs on in OH, for example. And it’s those various run-throughs which I’m sure Team Obama is sweating out each day. Because, frankly, if Obama does win, I expect his victory will look much more like this map than it would the first one in this series.

Here’s Romney’s squeaker win:

He picks up the expected IN and NC, along with FL, NH, OH, VA, to get exactly to 270. Then brace yourself for Democrat howls that would make the aftermath of 2000 look like the quiet part of an Amish knitting circle.

Like Obama, Romney has more than one way to eke out a win. I showed you the path to exactly 270, not because I think it’s likely, but because it is possible. He could lose OH, but take CO and NV, and become the first-ever GOP candidate to lose OH but win the White House.


There’s actually one more, super secret scenario, which I’ve saved for the very end:

If Romney’s campaign collapses, I still wouldn’t expect Obama to do any better than the Best Case result I gave you at the top of this article. However, what if the Obama campaign never gains traction? What if the Tea Party voters show up like they did in 2010, and a double-dip recession hits us this summer or early autumn?

In that case, Romney could very well add MN and OR to his tally — and you read it here first.

AND ANOTHER THING: All maps courtesy of 270toWin‘s iPad app. It’s the best five dollars I’ve spent this campaign season, except for the joy buzzer I bought in case I ever get to meet either candidate.


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