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Sunday, December 28, 2003

Divide and conquer.

Alan Wolfe describes the divide-and-conquer strategy that the Republicans have perfected and that Howard Dean would be sorely tempted to try:

If a Republican candidate can put together victories in the states of the South and far West, where Republican tax cuts and appeals to patriotism resonate, all he needs is Maine and New Hampshire to win an electoral college majority. A Republican who achieved 270 electoral votes in such a fashion could become president without receiving a single vote from California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin. This is a regional strategy exactly like the one that made Abraham Lincoln president, only in reverse: It's accomplished by winning all the states he lost and vice-versa.

Meanwhile, the party that once stood in opposition to the Great Emancipator could win the presidency by carrying all the states that produced his victory. Winning the 15 populous states that a Republican can afford to lose, along with liberal-leaning Vermont, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia, would give a Democrat 265 electoral votes, requiring only one swing state - New Mexico would do it - to get elected. (This strategy involves winning only 19 of the 51 jurisdictions that cast electoral voters, but those 19 contain 53 percent of the US population.) A Democrat, in short, could win by writing off the South and West just as a Republican can ignore the North and upper Midwest.

He also explains why this strategy has worked better for Republicans than it would for Democrats. ("The two-nation trap," Alan Wolfe, Boston Globe 12.28.03)

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 28 December 2003 at 4:27 PM

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