Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Electability of Richardson

I know that gurufrisbee and Will don't care one iota for Bill Richardson. Both of them believe that Richardson won't be standing after February 5th, 2008, but I beg to differ. (Full disclosure, I'm volunteering for Richardson here in DC)

I believe the Bill Richardson offers the Democrats the best chance to win the White House in 2008. I've already written a Case for Bill Richardson, but today I'd like to focus on the electability of Bill Richardson.

As we all know, it isn't the popular vote that grants someone the White House, but the electors of the electoral college who grant the privilege of the presidency on someone. Therefore, getting not just the most votes, but the most votes in certain states is crucial to winning the White House (see also: Gore, Albert Arnold "Al" Jr).

If we concede that blue states in 2004 will surely stay blue in 2008, then my focus will be on the ability to flip red states to blue ones. Currently, the frontrunners are Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. Let me discuss their weaknesses first before moving on to Richardson's strengths.

Hillary Clinton is ahead in both the polls and the money game. However, she is a well known entity in public politics and has an illogical and almost fanatical cult of hatred surrounding her. In a recent poll, more than half of the respondents had a negative view of her. It will be tough to win key battleground states if 1/2 the population has already made up their mind that they don't like you.

Barack Obama fairs better because people like him. However, what 'red' state does he flip in 2008? Can a black man win key battleground states? Can he win the rural states of Iowa, Minnesota, Arkansas, and Oregon? Obama's vision is compelling, but will his yet-to-be-seen policies allow him to be branded as inexperienced or a raging Chicago liberal? Even it doesn't, which states will be able to flip and why? I just don't see him carrying Iowa, Ohio, Missouri or any of the Western states.

John Edwards is quickly becoming the 'phoney-rich guy' with his $400 haircuts, large house and hedge-fund job with predatory lenders. Edwards was unable to deliver any of the southern states he was suppose to in 2004. I don't see him making any additional inroads now. Which red states does Edwards think he can flip? He appears to be putting his hopes on taking the same states as Kerry did in 2004 and maybe flipping Ohio with his populist message. It didn't work in 2004, I'm not sure why it will work in 2008.

None of these contenders can deliver any 'red' states with any certainty in 2008. Bill Richardson can certainly flip red states to blue.

First, New Mexico went to Bush in 2004 by several thousand votes. Bill Richardson wins that state. He won nearly 70% of the vote for governor in 2006. Governor Richardson is also very popular in Nevada as well and he probably flips Nevada. That is 10 additional electoral votes. That brings Richardson to 262 electoral votes, 8 short of the 270 needed to win.

Richardson's western roots also put Colorado (9 votes) and potentially Montana (3 votes) into play. If he takes New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado then Richardson can win the White House even without Ohio, THE battleground in 2004.

Richardson's Hispanic roots will serve him well to be competitive in Arizona (10 votes), Texas (34 votes), and Florida (27 votes). He may not win all of the states, but he would force Republicans to spend money there. That means they've got less money to spend in other places.

Bill Richardson is not only qualified for the White House, but can win the 2008 general election. There is no good reason he shouldn't be the next President of the United States.