Will Baird asked why I don’t analyze how Republicans other-than-Walker would do against Senator Sanders. It occurs to me that the reason is this: any Republican candidate faces an uphill battle in 2016. Not an impossible one, not by any means. But uphill.
Let’s pretend for a moment that the Democratic candidate fails to inspire African-American voters, so their turnout falls back to 2004 levels. This is unlikely on multiple levels, but it could happen.
Then let’s imagine that the GOP candidate is one of the following: Bush, Kasich, or Rubio. They have a fighting chance of getting Latino votes back up at the level of John McCain.
What kind of swing, then, does the GOP nominee need to generate among white voters to win? The below numbers give the Republican the Latino vote share of John McCain, when available, or assume a four-point swing when not. (Four points is the national McCain performance over Romney among Latino voters.)
|EVs||Cumulative GOP EVs||White vote swing needed for GOP victory|
This is quite doable for the Republican candidate. It requires a big white vote share — 57% in Colorado, 65% in Virginia, 66% in Florida — but not an impossible one. Voters in those states are flightier than in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania: it would be easier to generate a big white swing in Virginia than a small one in Pennsylvania. But both can be done.
It just won’t be easy to do it. And remember, the above numbers simply wave away the party’s problems with black and Latino voters.
That is the reason why Bernie Sanders even has a chance at all: the structural weakness of the GOP in presidential elections.