Ohio: The Fulcrum


Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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11 Responses

  1. Avatar Kolohe says:

    I think the sources are understating the Presidential election coattails – which is the turnout differential – regardless of the GOP candidate on the Presdential ballot. PA & WI are lean Dem in my mind because of this, OH is a toss-up – moreover, if Toomey retains his seat, the correlation means we have President Cruz.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Kolohe says:

      I don’t think Wisconsin has nearly the “coattails” that PA does. PA is very, very heavily machine around Philadelphia. Makes it easy for Hillary to goose the numbers.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kim says:

        Ronnie was the last GOP candidate to win Wisconsin’s electoral votes. The only Republican Senator. Since Ike, there has been exactly one Republican victory in a Wisconsin Senate race that coincided with a Presidential election (and that was Ronnie’s first election, with the wave he produced).Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    A decent post.

    New Hampshire used to be rock-solid Republican in the old Yankee mold but as the Republican Party grew more Evangelical, New Hampshire grew more Democratic. New Hampshire is also among the most secular states in the Nation. That being said, New Hampshire Republicans are just as capable of wingnut as anyone else but the state has a firm libertarian streak that never really jived well with the social Conservatives like Cruz.

    James Carville famously described Pennsylvania as being “Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama inbetween.” This is essentially right. The suburbs around Philadelphia used to be solidly Republican but that was from the days when the Episcopal Church was called “The Republican Party at Prayer.” They have gone more Democratic (if not liberal) at the continuing rise of hardcore social conservatism. I suspect that the GOP can do well in Senate races during off-years but not Presidential years. Cruz would be off-putting to mainline residents.

    Both Trump and Cruz are down ticket disasters for the GOP. Cruz’s redhot social conservatism does not play well in most states where the GOP has Senate seats up for reelection.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      James Carville famously described Pennsylvania as being “Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama inbetween.” This is essentially right.

      No, it’s just pithy. Greater Philadelphia’s a coastal city. The rest of the state is Rustbelt and it has the voting patterns of the Rustbelt. It may come as a surprise to that Louisiana lounge lizard that people in non-metropolitan counties in the Rustbelt are generally not all that disposed toward the sort of candidates he works for, but that’s his misunderstanding.Report

  3. Avatar Art Deco says:

    This is not the first time Portman’s name has been floated as a running mate, and he’s near the top of the speculation list this year too for similar reasons as the last cycle. Portman comes as a “center-right” figure, not wildly conservative, perceived generally as a reasonable, but also by no means a “moderate,” so th

    No, he’s an haut bourgeois careerist.

    Per William Schneider, the utility of the VP candidate for vote trolling purposes would be to collect a small sliver of votes in the candidate’s home state (Schneider has indicated that a passable estimate would be that it nets you 2% in that one state). California’s not in play and the only presidential elections in more than eighty years where shifting any other state would have been decisive would be 1960, 2000 and 2004. In 1960, the effect of shifting New York would have been a hung electoral college, which the Democratic majority in the House would have cleaned up. The electoral vote margin was so close in 2000 that Vermont or Nebraska would have done as well as any place else. So, 2004 is your only good example. Per Schneider, the goal with your VP selection as it relates to campaigning should be to avoid someone who will generate embarrassments and distractions (e.g. Eagleton or Ferraro).Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Art Deco says:

      Wouldn’t Rob Portman ably accomplish Schneider’s objective of “avoid[ing] someone who will generate embarrassments and distractions”? Portman is among the most boring men in Congress.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I think you’ve confused ‘boring’ with ‘insipid’.

        A generation ago, Gerald Ford offered three criteria for a potential VP: to be able to take over the office of president with no notice, in general agreement with the president on programs and issues, and a good campaigner (in that order). He’s not any more ill-fitting than the other candidates running this year, I suppose.Report

  4. Avatar Kim says:


    Kos’ rankings are … interesting. And Partisan! (but he’s honest about that).

    He’s got more eyes on the ground than most people do (having a lot of ties to the state party/backers/”netroots”).

    I find it interesting that PA is “lean R” (in a good “Hillary wins in a romp” year, the Dem candidate picks up a ton of support from people that Hillary got to the polls).

    Also worth a look:
    (Edwards and Duckworth are old picks of kos’, i’m glad to see they are looking for higher office).Report

  5. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    “Leans Democratic” seems proper for Colorado. There will be a couple of ballot issues with big-bucks advertising to drive general interest, the Republicans are unlikely to have as good a candidate as they did in Cory Gardner, and Bennett can’t possibly run a worse campaign than Udall did. OTOH, Bennett has been a largely reliable but faceless vote for the Democrats, other than some regional interests. And I don’t anticipate that he’ll get a particularly big boost from the top of the ticket that will (in my opinion, at this point) reflect purely NE urban corridor and Rust Belt interests.Report

  6. Avatar DavidTC says:

    So that would mean that there’d have to be some gamesmanship as to how the Ohio electors voted, based on the anticipated margin of victory in the Electoral College resulting from other states.

    It’s not *that* risky. Or complicated.. For one thing, don’t forget they can abstain from voting for Prez or VP, it’s not like they have to vote for the other party. Also, don’t forget, that *ties* are decided in the new Senate and new House, respectively…and by the time the electoral college meet, they know who is in the House and Senate.

    Without Ohio, there are 530 total votes. 265 being the middle.

    If they are tied at D:265, R:265, half the Ohio electors just vote for Kasich, and the other half vote for Portman. The Prez and VP each get 268, thus winning. Same if the Dems are ahead with D:266, R:264. 4 votes for each puts them at 267, thus winning.

    If it’s D:267, R:263, and the House and Senate are still in Republican hands, the electors do the same, adding +4 to the R, producing a tie and letting the House and Senate decide the presidency. And they pick…Republicans.

    If it’s D:267, R:263 but the Senate has fallen into Republican hands…or it’s D:268 or D:269….the GOP only gets one office. So all vote for the President, and, yes, we have a divided presidency.

    So there are exactly two dice rolls, or three if the Senate is lost, where running two candidates from Ohio can make a difference. Meanwhile, I’m actually not sure a divided presidency is really that *bad*, anyway. The VP’s office only has as much power as the president wants.

    …except…except, wait.

    If everyone knows this is going to happen *in advance*, if they know the GOP bet wrongly and rolled snake eyes…they could *all*, the entire GOP, decide to become faithless electors for just the VP, and pick someone else. Yes, it would look weird, but they’re basically say ‘Look, I know we said Portman, but we couldn’t get you Portman. If we had tried for him, the *Democrat* would be the VP. So instead we selected someone else.’

    …and, hey, wait. Nothing is stopping them from picking someone that *resigns* and *the House then picks Portman* as the next VP. Heh.Report