In my prior post, I stated that Bob Barr is right. John McCain and Barack Obama should not appear on the Texas ballot because, according to Texas law, McCain and Obama did not meet the deadline to have their names appear on the ballot.
So I’ve been trying to figure out if it’s possible for John McCain to win without Texas. I went to the web site for Real Clear Politics, where they have an interactive map so that you can play around with various scenarios. Just click on a state, and the interactive map will allow you to designate it as McCain, Obama, or toss-up.
Since Bob Barr is not an option, I changed Texas to toss-up, and left it that way. I assumed Obama had locked up California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. I also assumed McCain had locked up Alaska, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina (that might be a tall order to even assume that McCain has grabbed onto Missouri and North Carolina). So the battleground states that I was experimenting with were New Hampshire, Virginia, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
If 34 electoral votes from Texas go to Bob Barr, it’s possible that no one would claim a majority of the Electoral College. If that were to happen, it’s almost certain that Barack Obama would be the next president, because the U.S. House of Representatives votes to choose the president when the Electoral College fails to reach a majority decision.
The number of electoral votes needed to capture a majority of the Electoral College is 270. McCain needs at least 270. If McCain ends up with 269 or less, Obama wins.
Playing around with the map, I discovered that it is possible for McCain to win without Texas, but it’s a tall order. How tall? McCain would need some big states in his corner, like Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, plus at least three, perhaps more, smaller states (McCain would need to cobble together at least 30 more electoral votes from the combination of smaller states with those big four in his pocket). That’s already a tall order to sweep Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, let alone win the other battlegrounds.
If McCain could pick up Florida plus all the Great Lakes states except for Illinois and New York, he could do it. That means McCain would have to grab Indiana, Wisconsin, and Minnesota in addition to the big four. If he lost either Minnesota or Wisconsin, he could still win if he managed to pick up Colorado. If he lost both Minnesota and Wisconsin, he’d have to get Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico all in his corner. If he lost the smallest of the big ones, Michigan, he’d have to nab Virginia and New Hampshire to replace it. If he lost Indiana, he’d have to pick up Virginia. Many envision Obama winning Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, though. McCain would have to have Virginia, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado in order to counter that. But if Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are all comfortably in the Obama camp, then New Hampshire, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado are probably also in the Obama column. Ouch.
You get the picture. A McCain win without Texas will require some surprises in a few states. It’s not impossible, but it is daunting.
Go ahead. Play with the interactive map at Real clear Politics. You know you want to.