September 6, 2008

MITT & RUDY OUGHT TO JUST MOVE TO MI & WI:

McCain Makes a Run at Michigan, A Wavering Democratic Stronghold (JOEL MILLMAN, September 6, 2008, Wall Street Journal)

Michigan is home to the original "Reagan Democrats," white, working-class voters who swung Republican. Today, on paper, conditions here favor the Democrats. Unemployment stands at 8.5%, the nation's highest. Michigan's home-foreclosure rate is twice the national average, which should make it easy for Sen. Obama to campaign against a Republican who stumbled when asked how many houses he owns. Democrats have won the state in four out of the past five presidential races.

However, Sen. Obama is the one who might face an uphill battle. For starters, he chose not to participate in Michigan's primary in January -- a decision that now deprives his campaign of a ready-made network of supporters. (Michigan held its primary earlier than the national Democratic Party wanted, so Sen. Obama and several others stayed off the ballot in solidarity with the party.) At the same time, Sen. McCain plays well among moderate Republicans and independents who dislike George W. Bush, whom Sen. McCain beat handily in the party's 2000 Michigan primary.

Michigan also has some of the most complex race relations north of the Mason-Dixon line. "Michigan is a challenge for any Democratic candidate," says Amy Chapman, the head of the Obama campaign here. "Everyone thinks it's blue. But you have to work hard to make it blue."

While the Obama campaign hopes to pick up a handful of reliably Republican states like Colorado in November, the flip-side is also true: The McCain campaign could win the White House by picking off a few traditional Democratic states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin or Minnesota.

Losing Michigan would be a tough blow for the Democrats. In 2004's general election, George W. Bush defeated John Kerry by 286 to 251 in electoral-college votes. If Sen. McCain picks up Michigan's 17 electoral votes, Sen. Obama would then have to pick up both Colorado and Nevada simply to offset the loss of Michigan. Then, to make up the rest of Democrats' 2004 shortfall, Sen. Obama would almost certainly have to prevail in several big states the Republicans won last time, including Virginia, Missouri, Ohio or Florida.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 6, 2008 8:32 AM
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