Charles Parker: Eight States Hold Key For GOP In 2016
By Charles Parker // January 27, 2015
favorite son from South Beach to South Lawn?
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – It is only January 2015 and it’s already time to cool the rhetoric between Republicans about the 2016 presidential race. There is a narrow opening for victory, but the gap can be closed by choosing one of our own.
First, let’s make a major assumption. Mitt Romney does not run. He has hoisted trial balloons and found them losing air fast. The GOP gives folks their second chance…but not a third.
And frankly, the political landscape looks pretty good for several of the cast of thousands that is the GOP field. Any Republican will win every state Romney won – except maybe North Carolina. The Tar Heel State boasts huge center-left contingencies in the Triangle and in Charlotte and will be tough again this time.
But for the sake of trends, we’ll paint North Carolina Red since their Democrat U.S. Senator Kay Hagan lost last November. That gives the GOP 206 electoral votes in their quiver. They need 270. So – even using Common Core math – one can figure that of the eight states left that are in play, the GOP needs 64 of the available 111 votes.
The questions are – what is the best path there – and who is most likely to get us to the end of that path?
If we’re all honest with ourselves and look logically at the map my Republican friends, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are the only two choices that really can make a serious run. Let’s have a look-see.
Florida (29 electoral votes): Romney lost in a squeaker. Flat out, Florida must be Red if there is to be a Republican president. And Bush and Rubio win Florida without spending ample time and money back home. The Sunshine State automatically puts these two at 235 electoral votes. In short, the road to the White House must travel on the I-4 corridor. Electoral votes needed: 35.
(So – Jeb and Marco will both have the money and the mojo to stay in the primary race through Florida in March 2016. The loser of that should concede to the other and work their tail off.)
Ohio (18 electoral votes): Romney only lost by 2 percent. John Kasich is governor. He is also center-right – and he boasts Ronald Regan bona fides. He has been successful in cutting taxes. He is a fiscal wonk. He is vice-presidential timber – especially if he runs well in early primary states. He can get the stump speech down, bow out after Florida, throw support to the Sunshine State winner and then hang around the Midwest from August to November of 2016. Electoral votes needed: 17.
Colorado (9 electoral votes): Romney lost by 4 percent. The congressional delegation mirrors why this is a battleground state. There are four Republican members of Congress and three Democrat members. There is one U.S. Senator from each party. However, there is a glimmer of hope. Republican Cory Gardner beat incumbent Mark Udall in the U.S. Senate race last November. Bush would have a better chance here than Rubio, but either could win. Electoral votes needed: 8.
Nevada (6 electoral votes): Recent reports show that longtime senator Harry Reid might be in trouble in 2016. Nevada has a high population of immigrants working in Sin City. Both Bush and Rubio are moderate on immigration. Plus Nevada is an early caucus state. The two can firm up their grassroots ground game here – maybe even get some union backing. Before it was Reid, Nevada was Red. It can be again. Electoral votes needed: 2.
This leaves Iowa (6 electoral votes), which Romney lost by 5 percent; Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes), which Romney lost by 5 percent as well; and Wisconsin (10 electoral votes), which Romney lost by 7 percent.
A pick-up in any of those three wins the presidency for the GOP. Iowa has a longtime Republican governor and frankly doesn’t like Hillary. Western Pennsylvania hates the current stance on coal. And Wisconsin has Scott Walker.
Checkmate…well…at least for now…Check.
This strategy sends a favorite son from South Beach to the South Lawn. And it sends Hillary back to Chappaqua to dote over the grandbaby and help Chelsea plan for her political debut.
There might be other roads to the White House, but no doubt this is the path of least resistance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charles Parker writes a weekly perspective/opinion column, Out on the Wire…Without a Net, on Space Coast Daily which appears every Tuesday.
He is a longtime resident of Brevard County and has been writing for various publications for the last 40 years – both print and digital. Parker covers space, politics, religion, and other news and special events for Space Coast Daily.
Currently, Parker is an aerospace engineering teacher at Merritt Island High School. He is also the director of both the da Vinci Academy of Aerospace Technology and the Academy of Hospitality, Entrepreneurship, and Tourism at MIHS. He is a professor of Humanities and World Religions at Eastern Florida State College and Valencia College.
Parker has worked extensively in the tourism and aerospace industries in Brevard. He has also been a United Methodist pastor and director of a non-profit to help young adults aging out of foster care. He was formerly a board member at Brevard Achievement Center and the Childcare Association of Brevard. He was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Children’s Services Council from 1999-2003.
Parker earned a BA in Organizational Management from Warner University and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. He is married, has four children and one grandchild.
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cpbrevard_scd
AUTHOR NOTE: These views are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Brevard Public Schools, Eastern Florida State College or Valencia College.