So imagine something weird happens and Bernie Sanders gets the Democratic nomination. The Republicans, meanwhile, nominate that nice boy from Miami, Marky Rubio. Marky picks Governor Johnny Kasich of Ohio to be his running mate. They unleash their inner moderates and charm America. It’s a massacre. Rubio-Kasich pulls in a fully Reaganesque landslide. They win the popular vote by 18 points, just like Reagan-Bush in ‘84. It’s a 22-point swing from Obama-Biden’s 2012 margins.
In 1984, Reagan-Bush won every state but Minnesota and the District of Columbia. In 2016, with the same popular vote margin, assuming a 22-point uniform swing, Rubio-Kasich gets a map like this:
Bernie Sanders would win fully 119 electoral votes. After all, in 2012 the Democrats won eight states by more than a 22-point margin. Even with a Ronald Reagan like popular landslide, the Democrats will keep California and New York.
You basically can’t get an all-red map these days, the way you could back in 1984. The Republicans have lost too much ground in the northeast and west coast.
And note that this map is really a floor under a Sanders candidacy.
In reality, I do not think that he would lose with a 22-point uniform swing. I suspect that he would hold the Pacific Northwest and at least a couple of states from the old manufacturing belt: Illinois and Delaware certainly, Pennsylvania and Minnesota likely, Wisconsin possibly if there is a Walker backlash, with Iowa and Michigan and the rest of the Northeast within reach. It would be hard for Bernie Sanders to win the 2016 election. It would not be that hard for him to hold the Kerry-Edwards electoral map.
What about the other way? Something equally weird happens and Donald Trump wins the GOP nomination. Lindsey Graham refuses the veep nomination. So in an attempt to reach out to evangelicals and “teh blacks,” Trump picks Ben Carson.
It is a massacre, a fully Johnsonesque landslide for the Clinton-Castro ticket. The Democrats win by 23 points, a 19-point uniform swing over 2012.
Well, in this world the Democrats really do manage to turn a popular landslide into an electoral landslide, just like back in ‘64. Sure, the makeup of the states are different, since Republican margins in the South are not what they once were, but Trump-Carson gets only 73 votes scattered across a bunch of very-white mostly-rural states.
Only the map to the right, unlike the one above, doesn’t seem possible. I can’t imagine Trump losing Mississippi and South Carolina. And could the Democrats take Texas, even against the Donald and with Julián Castro on the ticket?
So I ask you, my readers, especially the usual suspects. Who would be the Donald’s best pick for Veep, if not Carson? And how many states would a Trump candidacy really win? Inquiring minds want to know!