Monday, November 12, 2007

Just a Reminder: It’s a Bad Idea to Ignore History

The readers who know me are well aware that I said early on, that a Republican would win the White House in 2008. I did not make that prediction in 2004 or 2005, but 2006 when it seemed as though the Donks were doing a ‘reconquista’ on everything the Reagan Revolution had given to the American people. And I made that prediction on the basis of two key traits:

[] While they are absolute morons at times, Republicans in general will put the country ahead of everything else, and the voters know this;
[] Democrats always end up going to extremes, having abandoned the center to the degree that they cannot find it, even when they most need it.

In short, I am confident that the GOP will nominate someone capable enough for the job, who will demonstrate love for America and a commitment to American interests, and I am also confident that the Donks will ignore history to a degree sufficient to cost them the election. Lord knows, they’ve shown that propensity beyond dispute in recent years. A simple example of this can be seen in the results of past Presidential elections, and what it means for 2008. The following are the results of Presidential elections since World War 2 by the class of candidate’s occupation, that is the role most voters identified with the candidate:

2004 - President defeats Senator
2000 - Governor defeats Vice-President
1996 - President defeats Senator
1992 – Governor defeats President
1988 – Vice-President defeats Governor
1984 – President defeats Senator
1980 – Governor defeats President
1976 – Governor defeats President
1972 – President defeats Senator
1968 – Vice-President defeats Vice-President
1964 – President defeats Senator
1960 – Senator defeats Vice-President
1956 – President defeats Governor
1952 – General defeats Governor
1948 – President defeats Governor

Looking at that run, we see the President running 10 times, winning 7 of them (70%). Vice-Presidents ran 5 times, winning twice (40%). Senators ran 6 times, winning once (17%). A retired General ran once and won (100%), and Governors ran 8 times, winning 4 of them (50%). If we considered just those numbers, Wesley Clark would look much more formidable (but it would be foolish to over-count the results of one instance), but in general the results tell us that whatever a party wants in a candidate, nominating a Senator is a bad idea. Sure, JFK won as a Senator, but that was against Richard Nixon, and even then it was a squeaker and some folks would argue that Kennedy, umm, “had help” in that election. It’s a lot more interesting to see the other five Senators:

1964 – Senator Barry Goldwater from Arizona; a popular champion of Conservatism and seemed a formidable match against Lyndon Johnson. But Goldwater only collected 38.5% of the popular vote, and won only 6 states;

1972 – Senator George McGovern from Minnesota; very popular with the Left, who believed Vietnam would be the issue to drive Nixon from office. But McGovern claimed only 37.5% of the popular vote, and won only 1 state;

1984 – Senator Walter Mondale from Minnesota; the Democrats though his ‘straight-talk’ style would appeal to Americans. But Mondale claimed only 40.6% of the popular vote, and won only 1 state;

1996 – Senator Bob Dole from Kansas; the GOP believed his war record and impeccable personal integrity would win over voters against the scandal-ridden Bill Clinton. But Dole took only 40.7% of the popular vote, although he won 19 states;

2004 – Senator John Kerry from Massachusetts; Democrats thought his medals from Vietnam would make him credible as a critic of Bush and the war in Iraq. Kerry did the best of the losing Senators, claiming 48.3% of the popular vote, and like Dole he won 19 states.

So these five nominees were all impressive at the time to their party, and carried something like charisma into the general election. But when the ballots were counted, they won a collective average of 41.1% of the popular vote, and an average of only 9 states. Whether Democrat or Republican, in peacetime or war, running a Senator as the party nominee is a poor choice, tactically.

So, looking at the two major parties, what does this mean about the races? The Republicans have a Mayor and a Governor in the lead, with another Governor and two Senators a bit behind. Kick out the Senators from the GOP race and you still have three healthy contenders. For the Democrats, things are a bit different. Both of the heavy front-runners are Senators, and so is the guy in third place. Only Governor Bill Richardson and Representative Dennis “I See Green People” Kucinich are left if you scratch off the Senators. So, it looks very much as if the Democrats will nominate a Senator to run against a GOP nominee who is not a Senator.

Bad odds if you’re a Donk fan, but hopeful for Americans.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looking at your 5 examples of a Senator each of those 5 losses the Senator was facing a sitting President. And it could be argued that each of the 5 Presidents were fairly popular; at least at the time.

In the only time a Senator won election (Kennedy) since WWII, it was won against a VP. Since there is no sitting President (nor VP) running in '08, I think the chances of a Dem winning is at least 50/50 at this point.

History says:
President trumps Senator
Governor trumps President (at least recently)
Governor even with VP
General trumps Governor

How will it be for these?
Senator vs. Mayor
Senator vs. Governor
Only time will tell.

You're right don't ignore history, just spin it the way you want it!