It’s More or Less in the Bag

Blue WallI worry a lot. Bad things really do happen. Unexpected things. It’s smart, I think, to never be too comfortable that you fail to prepare for contingencies.

But it looks like some folks are finally beginning to admit one thing: Obama is almost certainly going to get reelected. Ignore the tight race of the national polls, because it’s all about the Electoral College.

Michael Tomasky at Daily Beast lays it out, first adding up the probable outcomes for the East and Midwest, and then moving toward the Left Coast:

Let’s look at these West Coast states. Even though [late on Election Night] they’re still voting in California, obviously Obama is going to win it (55 [electoral votes]). And equally obviously, he’s going to win Washington (12) and Oregon (7), where neither side even bothered to spend a dime. Throw in Hawaii (4). Those 78 votes haul Obama up to 260. That’s something to keep in mind for election night: Whatever Obama’s number is at 10 pm Eastern, add those 78 EV’s—they’re a mortal lock, and a hefty insurance policy. If he wins Nevada (6) and Colorado (9), it’s over.

In other words, Obama can lose the big Eastern four—Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida: all of ’em!—and still be reelected.

Seriously, that’s it. I’ve been saying this for some time now, in fact, referencing Ron Brownstein’s 2009 thesis about the “Blue Wall” of states that will be safe for Obama, barring some cataclysm. In September 2010, when Rick Perry looked like a very strong contender (oops), and he and Romney were showing strength in national polls, I wrote:

If, for example, Perry’s national numbers are strong against Obama, that could be because he’s running enormous margins in states that he’d win anyway like Texas. Obama doesn’t need to win the electoral-vote-rich states like Ohio by big margins. He just needs to win them by a single vote to take their electoral votes. So let’s wait and see whether Perry and Romney are faring this well because they’re genuinely popular across the spectrum, or whether they’re just being bolstered by those states that already loathe their illegitimate, communist, Muslim, Kenyan-born president.

As with these older numbers, the current back and forth in the national polls is what keeps this looking tight. And sure, Obama could very well lose the popular vote and still pull off a victory in the Electoral College (which, while being nice for sparing us a Romney presidency, would only enrage me further at this absurd system). Folks, Obama won 365 electoral votes last time. 95 more than he needed to be elected. You think he can’t scrape that together this time around? Really?

Like I said, I know that bad things can happen. Terrorist attacks, financial crises, scandals, these could all upend everything. But given how things are and are likely to be, this is in the bag for the president. As long as he doesn’t blow it in the campaign. Which, I’d say, is the most likely doomsday scenario of all.

And that’s not very likely, is it?

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