Wargaming the Electoral College: The Final Edition
I did the first one of these for this election cycle 459 days ago, although it only feels like six, maybe seven times that many.
First up is the map Democrats tell you is far too conservative, since The Chosen Won will win so big and so early that the Rocky Mountain states like Montana will simply suspend their elections and succumb to the inevitable. Nevertheless, if Obama wins, this is probably about as good as it gets.
Please note that in this scenario, if ME-02 ends up going for Romney, then we get a 269-269 tie. And I'll preemptively check myself into a rehab program. Which would be fine, other than Lindsay Lohan's incessant chatter about "how I used to really, really be somebody" during circle time.
We've got lots more maps to go, so keep clicking.
David Axelrod and Jim Messina (I liked him better when he was still with Kenny Loggins) will never admit it, but Obama's best-case win isn't all that much bigger than his squeaker win. I call this one "Obama Blowout" with my Irony Meter turned up to 11.
280 is a huge comedown from 365, but it's still plenty enough to ensure the Greece-fication of our once-great country. And that's what Barack Obama calls "Winning!"
But the early voting in Ohio has me thinking the state might already be a lock for Romney, which brings us to our next map.
This is how The Smart Republican Money™ is going. I can't tell you how many times I've seen this map reproduced on Twitter and RCP. It's like Dukes of Hazzard reruns on TNT -- wait a few minutes, and one will show up.
By the way, when I say "smart Republican money," I obviously mean less smart than Matthew Dowd. I saw him on This Week yesterday, and he seemed pretty sure Obama was going to win states that haven't even yet been admitted to the Union. But give him credit: We've been coveting Alberta for a while now.
Of course, I'm more optimistic than Dowd. Recent polling in the whole upper tier of the Industrial Midwest/Great Lakes shows big weakness for Obama. He can't even clinch 50% in MN, where there's a gay marriage ban on the ballot, certain to delight social conservatives. Even MI is weak, and I've thought for a while now that Scott Walker's machine -- plus Obama's collapse with Indies and whites -- will deliver WI.
I hesitated quite a bit before coloring MI red. There are union-friendly measures on the ballot there, which are supposed to drive more Democrats to the polls. But you have to wonder if perhaps the measures sponsors weren't a little too clever. They would take MI further to the left than John Kasich's proposals would have taken OH to the right. Those measures failed in OH because Kasich tried to emulate Walker, but went too far. The same is very much possible in MI, although on this map, it's the very last state to go red.
Then there's the All For Naught scenario.
It's possible -- unlikely, but possible -- for Obama to lose OH and win the election.
An awful lot of things would have to break for Team Obama -- except in Ohio -- to make this possible. But be prepared it could happen. My gut tells me all roads to the White House lead through OH, but the Obama campaign doesn't seem to have given up yet on IA or VA. And IA is the state I've painted red for the longest while still feeling iffy about it.
Now hold your breath for the penultimate map.
I'm calling this one "Ronald Wilson Romney."
If Obama really does have a double-digit deficit with Indies, and if the Democrats really have lost their early voting edge... then this becomes an outside chance, far beyond the dreams of even George Will.
Of course, a landslide like this would require the kind of wave you just can't predict -- so I won't predict it. But I am putting it out there, because if Obama really is Carter II, then there's some small chance Romney is Reagan II.
Time now to lay it all on the line with my final picks.
If I'm wrong in Romney's favor, PA will be the first to go blue, followed in order by MN, WI, OH -- and then Obama wins and the rest don't matter. If I'm wrong the other way, MI is the next state to go red -- and after that it becomes such a landslide that there's no telling. And no need to.