Required Reading

Michael Barone explains how a smart GOP contender could break through the “blue wall” of heavily Democratic states:

A Republican strategist looking ahead to 2016 has 12 states where Mitt Romney won 43 to 49 percent of the vote in 2012. Add some significant share of their 146 electoral votes to the 206 Romney won, and you get well above the 270 majority.

At the top of the list are perennial targets Florida and Ohio. Just below, at 47 percent in favor of Romney, are Virginia and — part of the supposedly immoveable blue wall — Pennsylvania. Republicans nearly beat a popular Democratic senator in Virginia last year and have been making steady gains in blue-collar Western Pennsylvania. Those four states added to Romney’s would give Republicans 286 electoral votes — George W. Bush’s winning total in 2004.

What states could Republicans target beyond that? A nominee with Midwestern appeal might go after Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota (42 electoral votes). One with Hispanic appeal could target Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico (20 electoral votes). One with appeal to upscale whites could target Colorado, New Hampshire and Minnesota (23 electoral votes). One with working-class appeal might choose Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan (32 electoral votes).

Critics might ask whether a 2016 Republican nominee can count on all the Romney states. Certainly not, if the party is as unpopular as it was in 2008. And North Carolina, a 48 percent Obama state, certainly looks like a realistic Democratic target in a close race.

But Obama got no more than 45 percent in other Romney states. Of the six where he got 44 or 45 percent, Democrats have had little success lately, even when running candidates better adapted to the local terrain than Hillary Clinton would be. None looks like a good Democratic target.

Read the whole thing, of course.

The important question is which groups will be ripe for targeting in 2016, and it may well take the primary process before that data really shakes out. — and the GOP will need an honest primary process, one which avoids MSM pitfalls and long-range cultural traps like the phony War on Women.

Groups I’d look at early include:

• Middle class or otherwise upwardly-mobile blacks, worried about amnesty.

• iVoters with privacy concerns — Rand Paul becomes your point man.

• Private-sector union workers — there aren’t many of these potential Reagan Democrats left, but they are organized.

• Frustrated ♡bamaCare!!! mandate-customers.

There are essentially three kinds of voters to be won in any race, if we ignore gradations between them: Your base voters, independent voters, and the other guy’s base voters. First you have to mobilize your base, which is, well, your base. Without them you have nothing to stand on. Every vote in the middle you can win is great, because that’s a vote the other guy can no longer get. But the richest prize of all is winning one of the other guy’s base voters, which adds one to your tally and takes one away from the other guy’s tally — which effectively puts you up by two votes. Suppressing the other guy’s base voter is a neat trick, and one at which Team Obama excelled. But to score really big wins, to break through the Blue Wall, means winning over Democrats.

These four groups I’ve identified here are each typical Democrat base voters who could be swayed by good messaging, properly targeted, and delivered by a non-crazy, non-stick-in-the-mud candidate.

That’s a short list, bordering on non-existent.

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