News from the Votemaster
Tuesday and yesterday we looked at all the previous Veep nominees over the past 60 years. More of them were senators than any other category, although with a senator at the head of the ticket, the nominee might not want another senator. Still, who is swimming in the Veep pool? Let's start with the Democrats and do the Republicans in a few days.
A key decision Barack Obama (or more like, the brain behind his campaign, David Axelrod) has to make is what they want to do with the Veep nomination. Go after a particular state? Go after a particular demographic? Find someone to shore up Obama's weaknesses? One of the possibilities is to try to bind women to the ticket. There are more female voters than male voters and some of them are angry about Hillary Clinton losing, although it is hard for them to blame Obama. All he did was get more delegates. He wasn't really nasty to her, although some other people were. One potential strategy Axelrod could decide on is to try to win based on women, black men, young men, college-educated men, upscale men, and liberal men, and not focus on blue-collar men. Just let them cling to their guns and religion. This would be a major break with the FDR coalition, but it is not inconceivable.
Here are some statistics from the census bureau.- 51% of the population is female
- 16% of the population is 18-29 years of age
- 24% of the population has a college degree
- 13% of the population is black
- 57% of the population makes $50,000 or more.
We can't just add these up to see the size of Obama's pool because then a 29-year-old black man with a college degree making $80,000 would be counted four times. Still, 51% women and 8% young men we are almost at 60% even ignoring the other factors (if someone can find a an orthogona; breakdown with all the categories, e.g. number of white men over 29 without a college degree making under $50,000, please let me know).
In any event, a strategy based on targeting the above five categories (women plus young, educated, black, liberal, or upscale men) is at least plausible. How would he go about that? Since women are by far the biggest group, that argues for putting a woman on the ticket. An obvious candidate is Hillary Clinton, but she has a lot of cons as well as a lot of pros, as discussed here June 6. For argument's sake, suppose he decides that she is too divisive and would bring out every last Clinton hater to vote (when they might otherwise stay at home on election day). What other women are there? As discussed yesterday, many senators have been vice presidential nominees, so let us look at who is in the pool.
Excluding Hillary Clinton, there are 10 female Democratic senators as follows.
By coincidence, the Washingon Post is also focusing on women today and has a story saying that both parties believe that women may be the key demographic group in 2008. John McCain is actively trying to court all the Hillary Clinton supporters who are so upset that Clinton lost that they promised to vote for McCain. Of course converting a one-time statement of outrage into a vote five months later won't be as easy as he thinks. His chief outreach official is Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard--until she was fired by HP's board of directors for incompetence.
Clearly Barack Obama has his work cut out for him trying to unify the Democratic party after a long and bitter primary. But he is not the only one with this problem. The Hill reports today that at least 14 Republican members of Congress have refused to endorse John McCain, for a variety of reasons and another dozen have refused to say what their position on him is.
CQ Politics has a long article on voting machines and procedures. Executive summary: between partisan election officials and general incompetence up and down the line, it could be a real mess again, for the third straight presidential election.
The Republicans are having enormous trouble recruiting good candidates for the Senate. In states like Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia, where Republicans normally do OK, they have complete nobodies. Politico has a story on this. The best of the bunch is Bob Kelleher, Republican candidate against Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT). Kelleher favors socialized medicine, nationalizing the oil industry, and raising taxes appreciably. Baucus is probably sweating bullets.
New polls in Indiana, Massachusetts, and Michigan today. The Indiana poll puts McCain safely ahead, as expected in this red state. In Michigan, a state Obama cannot afford to lose, it is a statistical tie, with Obama leading 45% to 42%.
In New Jersey a new Senate poll from Quinnipiac University puts Frank Lautenberg ahead of Richard Zimmer 47% to 38%. Zimmer's post nomination bounce lasted one day.
-- The Votemaster