Monday, June 3, 2013

For GOP, W.J. Bryan's 1896 Populist Electoral College Campaign Is Winning Formula For Palin 2016

Sarah Palin's visit to the tiny town of Republic Washington to give a graduation address to a class of only 26 students is highly symbolic and sets out a path to an Electoral College victory for the GOP in 2016. If the GOP's 2016 presidential campaign mirrors that of the Democrat's 1896 standard bearer William Jennings Bryan it can, because of the massive populations shifts after 120 years, be a winning electoral formula.

Bryan took on the establishment in his own party, and the financial interests in the major urban centers, with a message of pure populism. In his time the focus was on further credit expansion through the minting of more silver dollars but then, as now, there was also a feeling of what is now termed "flyover country" being disadvantaged and its values mocked and overturned.

Palin in her address to the graduating class emphasised Obama's statement about "bitter clingers" and characterized small town America as 'the soul of America". If by 2016 the economy is still struggling and, as is often the case the sitting president's approval ratings are under water, an appeal to conservative, small town America can bring electoral victory without even the industrial state of Ohio-which no Republican has been elected president without winning.

The Electoral College map of the 1896 campaign shows Bryan having won almost the entire South and Mid-west. McKinley for the GOP won the then rock solid conservative New England states, the industrial and financial based highly populated states of the East and Midwest and the then sparsely populated far west. Bryan won a majority of states but was well defeated in the electoral college because of the substantial population differences between his and McKinley's states.

If the same states that Bryan won are won by the GOP in 2016 (an amazing near 100%+ switch in voting allegiances) then that is a winning formula-even without Ohio. Since Bryan's day Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona Alaska and Hawaii have come into the union, giving the GOP a 21 to 12 Electoral College advantage (including D.C.). West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, won by McKinley can also be counted in the GOP's column for 2016 bringing in a further 24 votes (Washington state and North Dakota cancelling each other out in their switch of allegiances)

But it is the population shifts where the most dramatic playing out of Electoral College advantage for the Republicans exists. New York and Pennsylvania accounted for a massive 68 votes in 1896 and only 49 in 2012, whilst Florida and Texas went from 19 to 67 (more than taking care of California's massive increase for the Dem's). Thus the addition of new states, the decline in population and thus Electoral College votes of the northern industrial states with the ensuing concomitant increase in Southern states population would give an Electoral College tie. Given the Republicans would have a majority of state delegations to congress, as they currently do, the House would choose the GOP's candidate as the next president president.

That is the worst case Electoral College scenario for the GOP under the appeal to the populist vote plan. If Ohio was won the Republican candidate could afford to lose any two from Iowa /Colorado/Nevada and win without the need for the House to decide the issue as the candidate would be above the 269 Electoral College result.

NomineeWilliam McKinleyWilliam J. Bryan
Home stateOhioNebraska
Running mateGarret HobartArthur Sewall
Electoral vote271176
States carried2322
Popular vote7,102,2466,492,559
     (2012 Obama 51.07 Romney 47.21)

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