Monday, March 29, 2004

Here's a nice article by David Greenberg in Slate. The subject is whether war Presidents always get reelected; Greenberg points out that both Lincoln and FDR had problems getting reelected in 1864 and 1944, respectively, and that Truman would have been defeated in 1952 and Lyndon Johnson defeated in 1968 if they had run. In addition, if Wilson had been capable of running in 1920--he'd been incapacitated by at least three different strokes and his wife was basically running the Executive branch--he'd have lost; by then the First World War was over, of course. George Bush I, a war president, lost in 1992, as we all know.

It seems to me that Bush is doing pretty well in the polls--from what I gather, they're running more or less 50-50--for this stage in the campaign. The Democrats have made all the noise, of course, and they'll keep making most of it until their convention at the end of July. Then it'll be time for the Republican convention at the beginning of September, and the Republicans will get the publicity bounce. This is nothing new or anything we invented; it's pretty much the standard pattern. Many reelected Presidents--Reagan in 1984 and Clinton in 1996 being the two most recent--had been much more unpopular at some point in their terms than Bush is now, or has ever been.

Here's my wild-ass guess, seven months and a half from the election: Barring disaster, Bush wins fairly handily though not hugely. He wins the election when he holds Florida and Ohio and wins a couple or three more states that the Dems won last time, say Iowa and Wisconsin. Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania are not impossible dreams. Illinois will be tough. If Bush wins Illinois it's a romp. He probably won't though, but that's a state I'd fight hard. Most of the battle is going to be in Florida and the Great Lakes states. The Dems will probably win in California, but I'd fight there too, at least for fundraising and local-candidate support. There's a lot of Republican sentiment in that state, and some grass-roots activity will force the Dems to spend hard-to-get money fighting there. If I were the Reps I'd write off New England (except New Hampshire and maybe Maine, and I wouldn't waste much money there over eight electoral votes), New York, and New Jersey. The Reps ought to win all the South and Plains states, no problem--if they don't, it's a Kerry romp--, and ought to do all right in the non-California West. The only places I'd out-and-out favor the Dems are Washington, Oregon, and New Mexico, in that order.

No comments: