Not long ago I had separate chats with two political insiders who offered to fill me in on Jeb Bush’s strategy, if he prevails in the primaries, for winning the general election. In each instance I braced for a lengthy exegesis but got only one sentence: He picks John Kasich as his running mate. That was the playbook. It presumed that Bush would collect Florida’s electoral votes, having once governed the state. It presumed that Ohio could be delivered by Kasich, its current governor, who announced his own presidential bid on Tuesday. And it presumed that tandem victories in Florida and Ohio would seal the deal, because so much of the rest of America was dependably Republican — or Democratic. Just a handful of states decide the country’s fate. Shortly after my chats with those two insiders, a third described Hillary Clinton’s supposed plan for victory. “Cuyahoga County,” this operative said.
It’s the densely populated, largely urban part of Ohio that includes Cleveland. In both 2008 and 2012, Barack Obama got nearly 70 percent of its votes; in the latter of those contests, he trailed Mitt Romney by about 90,000 votes outside of Cuyahoga, but his advantage of roughly 255,000 votes inside the county made up for that, putting Ohio in his win column.
If Clinton could approximate Obama’s appeal in Cuyahoga, the thinking went, Ohio was hers. And without it, no Republican could rack up the 270 electoral votes needed for the White House.
Obviously, there’s an excellent chance that we end up with a pair other than Bush-Clinton. And the insiders were giving exaggerated distillations of the dynamics facing the eventual nominees. But their musings accurately reflect how depressingly small our presidential elections are, and I’m not referring to the level of the discourse. I mean the geography. The overwhelming majority of states and voters in this country of some 320 million people simply fall by the wayside.
Full Article: The Millions of Marginalized Americans – The New York Times.