Why I Think the GOP Will Have Control in 2017

My assertion that there’s a 70% chance that the GOP controls White House, Senate, and House in 2017 has attracted a lot of pushback.  And it’s certainly possible that I’m wrong!  Here’s my thinking, for what it’s worth:

Since the Civil War, only two Democratic presidents have been succeeded by another Democrat.  Both of them–FDR and JFK–accomplished this by dying in office.

Since World War II, only four presidents have been succeeded by a member of their party.  As I mentioned above, two of them accomplished this by dying in office.  One of them accomplished this by resigning in disgrace ahead of his own impeachment.  Only one of them, Ronald Reagan, left office at the end of his appointed term and was succeeded by a duly elected member of his own party.  Mostly, the White House flips back and forth like a metronome.

At the beginning of Obama’s term, people were talking about the kind of Democratic dominance that FDR enjoyed.  Didn’t happen.  Isn’t going to.  So I think the GOP goes into the race with a big edge on the White House.  Voters just get tired after eight years.

For example, when I pointed out how few presidents have been succeeded by members of their own party, you may have been tempted to argue that Al Gore “really” won.  I’m not going to have that argument right now, but even assuming you’re correct, what does that tell you?  That after the greatest economic boom in decades, the Democratic vice president fought hard to a statistical tie with the Republican governor of Texas.  Sure, he wasn’t the most charismatic candidate either, but neither was George Bush.  Getting a third term in the White House just seems to be really difficult.  And Barack Obama is not going to finish with a ground-shaking economic boom.

Add to that the Democratic bench.  Hillary Clinton is a formidable politician, but she will be nearly 70 years old in 2016.  No one else except Biden (who is older than she) has anything like the national name recognition that multiple people on the GOP bench enjoy.  But if one or both of those two decide to run (and I think it’s nearly certain that they will), they’ll probably get the nomination just because they will suck all the oxygen away from the other candidates–both the money and the publicity will follow them.  And though they’re both formidable challengers, I think their age is going to hurt them.  I think it would have hurt Reagan if he’d been running against more formidable opponents, but Carter was badly damaged, and Walter Mondale was a nice man who made a very good Senate candidate in Minnesota.

Democrats who think they’re a shoo-in seem to be unaccountably banking on the GOP nominating some tongue-tied wingnut who will spend the campaign discussing the scientific evidence that women can’t get pregnant from rape.  But as Joe Scarborough argued in 2012, this is wishful thinking . . . in his words, “The GOP doesn’t nominate crazy”.  In 2012, out of an incredibly weak field filled with tongue-tied wingnuts, they nominated the moderate with the best public policy chops and solid debating skills.  In 2016, they will have a much more attractive bevy of candidates from which to choose someone electable.

So I think that the chances that the GOP takes the White House are probably pretty high–maybe around 75%.  This is not a Nate-Silver-style I-ran-9,000-regressions-and-here’s-what-I-got.  It’s just my gut estimate of the odds.  When Nate starts running his projections, I will revise accordingly.

Now, if the GOP takes the White House, I think the chances that they also take the House approach 100%.  They have a big structural advantage here, and the president will pull a bunch of Republicans in on his coattails.  As far as I can tell, everyone agrees with this, so I won’t belabor it.

The Senate is the biggest wildcard.  2016 is going to be a bit of a challenge for the GOP, since they’ll be defending the wave class of 2010.  But some of those folks generally cited as liabilities, like Pat Toomey, actually seem to be doing okay.  (In large part because they’ve tacked left on key issues, which should be a lesson to the Tea Party about the limits of primary challenges.  But that’s a blog post for another day.)  They’ll be helped by the fact that the president will have coattails in the Senate as well.

Moreover, the 2014 election, as I understand it, actually looks pretty good for the GOP–Democrats are defending a lot more vulnerable seats than Republicans, and the president’s party tends to suffer during midterms.  If the GOP can get to 48 or 49 seats, I think it’s quite likely that they’ll get to 50 in 2016.

Note that I don’t think they’ll establish permanent control; I think the odds are for a fragile majority of 50 or 51 seats, which they’re vulnerable to losing if anyone dies or resigns.  If they do get control, I expect they’ll lose it in 2018 midterms . . . which is why I suspect they might not “go nuclear”.

Anyway, that’s my reasoning.  Entirely provisional, and I’m open to corrections.  But that’s why I wouldn’t get rid of the filibuster if I were Harry Reid.  Even if you think the chances that you lose the Senate and the White House are 50% it’s not a good gamble.  For that matter, even if you keep the Senate and lose the White House, it’s not a good bet.  Eventually you’ll lose the Senate, because control of that august institution seems to be pretty unstable.  And in the meantime, since you don’t have the White House, you can’t actually do much with your new, filibuster-less power.

286 thoughts on “Why I Think the GOP Will Have Control in 2017

  1. I think the nuance that Megan’s capable recounting of the history of modern presidential elections misses is that none of them involved anyone of President Obama’s caliber.

    “Voters just get tired after eight years”? Really? Tired of what, watching the country in general and their own daily lives along with it dramatically improve day after day? Tired of watching President Obama deliver stirring speech after stirring speech, imbuing us all with hope for the future and a magnificent light to illuminate our empty lives? Tired of seeing the world reshaped in fundamental ways into a fairer, more prosperous and peaceful place? Tired of seeing President Obama’s masterful foreign policy steadily reduce the dangers of nuclear war and other conflicts around the globe?

    As VP Biden may well have said, President Obama is literally the greatest leader humanity has seen in at least a couple of thousand years. Does it really make sense to judge his or his party’s future prospects based on the examples of lesser men? Isn’t it at all possible that historical examples might no longer apply in a world reshaped by President Obama’s compassionate genius? Isn’t it far more likely that the American people will punish the evil Republicans who, by resolutely undermining our country’s every move towards progress through machinations shady & devious, have made themselves solely responsible for every bad thing still persisting in our march toward the new progressive golden age?

    Wouldn’t that kind of clear-eyed evaluation of current political realities provide a better “gut estimate” of the likely fortunes of our two political parties?

    • Anyhow, actual elections are a crude holdover from a racist and patriarchal era. Sharing the white man’s vote to women and people of color does nothing to redress past injustices and, in cruel irony, makes them implicit in the instruments of their own oppression.

      Bold executive action would give us a panel of true experts who could determine the people’s choice with scholarly rigor, nuance, and sensitivity to embedded historical privilege. By doing away with the 1950s charade of ballot boxes and counting “votes,” for the first time my vote would truly matter.

    • I was equally shocked to learn that Megan believes there will even be any future presidential elections. Popular demand will, um, er, demand that all elections for offices not occupied by Obama Democrats be postponed indefinitely. Coming in 2016. Mark my words.

    • ““Voters just get tired after eight years”? Really? Tired of what, watching the country in general and their own daily lives along with it dramatically improve day after day? Tired of watching President Obama deliver stirring speech after stirring speech, imbuing us all with hope for the future and a magnificent light to illuminate our empty lives? Tired of seeing the world reshaped in fundamental ways into a fairer, more prosperous and peaceful place? Tired of seeing President Obama’s masterful foreign policy steadily reduce the dangers of nuclear war and other conflicts around the globe?”

      County improving ????? You are nuts. This country is on a downward spiral into a economic blackhole. Real unemployment is around 23% and Obama will have added more debt than all US Presidents combined by the time he leaves office.

    • Sounds like someone has adopted the rhetoric of the Obama Administration war room.

      To assert that under Obama people are “watching the country in general and their own daily lives along with it dramatically improve day after day,” completely ignores the 22 million people who are unemployed or underemployed over Obama. His administration is a disaster.

    • I’d like to know what’s so progressive about a failing system of public education, an eroding manufacturing base, declining employment and wages, youth with no prospects, skills or work ethic, the alarmingly rapid expansion of the nanny state with its attendant encroachments on our liberties, the dizzying explosion of public and private debt, the utter destruction of private savings and an entire generation of asset poor boomers and gen xers who will be utterly dependent on the state in retirement.

    • Is this parody or are you high?

      Obama is the worst president this nation has ever had! The country is in shambles, and Zero’s signature “legacy” ObamaCare is the greatest train-wreck in history!

      The only problem with the GOP is the leadership is doing it’s damnedest to become “democrat lite” Might as well not even have two parties as far to the left as the GOP is going!

      America is ripe for a 3rd party, a party of honest people that actually look out for America, rather than themselves. Both parties are so corrupt that neither deserves to “live”!

      Most of the country is decidedly Conservative, and it’s about time for another Ronald Reagan to emerge. And, I think SHE will.

      The GOP has been tossing up losers for a long time, in the presidential sweepstakes. If 2014 works out, 2016 will be a completely different deal. Unless the GOP finally commits suicide by “democrat lite” then it’ll be something brand new.

    • The only lives that have improved under Obama (calibre 0.0) are those of cronies, banksters and hedge funds . The economy continues to flounder, the deficit is funded by the federal reserve (a la zimbabwe) . Who wouldnt be delighted and want more ?

    • Good Lord, man. You don’t just drink the Kool-Aid, you bathe in it and inject it intravenously. What planet are you living on ? “A magnificent light blah blah blah” That’s sure not the feeling I get when I hear the SCOAMF speak.

    • Mike, it was satire. However, on the Internet, it is sometimes hard to determine truth from satire with the /sarc tag.

    • Surely you jest. You can’t possibly believe what you wrote.

      “Masterful foreign policy”, “lives getting better”, “world more fair”

      How about…Benghazi…worst economic recovery ever…and IRS, NSA, Justice Department, Solyndra and Obamacare fiascos?

      If you truly believe what you wrote, you are either insane or you’re actually Nancy Pelosi (and that would make you an idiot)

    • Excellent analysis, blighter, but you overlook one obvious fact:

      Obama’s policies are likely to change the tone of the Republican party itself. This is likely to happen in three ways:
      1) Even the most obtuse Republican Senators (and yes, I know, when I say “Obtuse Republican” I repeat myself) cannot help but notice the popularity and success of the ACA, immigration bill, and stimulus. While current Republican politicians are invariably stupid, they are also amoral and crafty, and will adjust their policies to embrace a more progressive philosophy. In many cases, they may even tack to the left of the Democratic Party
      2) Conservatives can count on being primaried by more principled, and by induction more progressive candidates. This younger, wiser wave of “Obama Republicans” will be more competitive against Democrats. Again, the result will be a revamped, more purely progressive counterpoint to the DNC.
      3) Obama and the Democratic Party have once again put principles in front of party with immigration policy. As many Democratic pundits have pointed out, the vast majority of newly minted citizens will vote Republican.

      As well, Obama is a tough act to follow. Any Democratic Nominee — Even a Clinton — will seem small and insignificant next to the insurmountable record that Obama has chalked up.

      This lends some (unfortunate) credibility to Megan’s prediction.

    • Obama’s policies are likely to change the tone of the Republican party itself. This is likely to happen in three ways:
      1) Even the most obtuse Republican Senators (and yes, I know, when I say “Obtuse Republican” I repeat myself) cannot help but notice the popularity and success of the ACA, immigration bill, and stimulus. While current Republican politicians are invariably stupid, they are also amoral and crafty, and will adjust their policies to embrace a more progressive philosophy. In many cases, they may even tack to the left of the Democratic Party
      2) Conservatives can count on being primaried by more principled, and by induction more progressive candidates. This younger, wiser wave of “Obama Republicans” will be more competitive against Democrats. Again, the result will be a revamped, more purely progressive counterpoint to the DNC.
      3) Obama and the Democratic Party have once again put principles in front of party with immigration policy. As many Democratic pundits have pointed out, the vast majority of newly minted citizens will vote Republican.

      As well, Obama is a tough act to follow. Any Democratic Nominee — Even a Clinton — will seem small and insignificant next to the insurmountable record that Obama has chalked up.

      This lends some (unfortunate) credibility to Megan’s prediction.

      i don’t see ant tact to the left at all. they want to repeal the ACA. don’t want immigration reform and hated stimulus. so what are you talking about. the primaries are coming from the far right. even mcconnell was told by the far right not to run. and what pundits have said newly minted citizens will vote republikan? they all love government programs and see a place for govt. this entire post of yours is some kind of dream. it’s not real.

    • Wow! Looks like the Internet can now connect us to alternate universes. Here in this universe Mr. Obama is the Aseana Airlines pilot of presidential politics. He can pass all the tests and push all the buttons but he just can’t fly the plane.

    • Wow. I don’t know what to say to this. “President Obama is literally the greatest leader humanity has seen in at least a couple of thousand years.”

      You leftists are dangerously delusional.

    • Blighter, you almost made me snort my drink out my nose. Brilliant and hilarious – you have indeed captured the spirit of the age.

    • Speaking of nuance, I think your sarcasm is a little too subtle. This is the internet, after all.

    • I was really enjoying this comment for its sarcastic brilliance until I realized you were being serious and are quite possibly the dumbest and most clueless commentator in the history of the Internet. You probably even watch MSNBC an read Huffington Post.

    • Blighter’s satire underscores a major flaw in the analyses of those – like Megan and Matt Lewis – who are trying to imagine a GOP president in 2016. Obama won twice not because of his unique qualities – but *in spite of* them. There are many times more white Romney voters who would have voted for Hillary than there are black voters who would not turn out unless Obama were on the ticket.

    • FWIW, exit polls in 2008 showed Hillary would have defeated McCain by a substantially greater margin than Obama did. (Admittedly, there is a problem with such polls: nobody had been attacking Hillary for the past few months. The GOP wanted to lure pro-Hillary Democrats and Obama wanted to reconcile them. If she had actually won the nomination and been subject to a barrage of attacks by the GOP, that might have changed things a bit. But probably not too much. It is certainly hard to see her doing nearly as poorly as Obama did in Appalachia, for example.)

    • It is truly amazing how many commenters, on McArdle’s blog no less, fail to realize that Blighter is a master parodist.

      Says something about the level of derangement among the proglodyte sheep that ridiculously over the top statements such as “President Obama is literally the greatest leader humanity has seen in at least a couple of thousand years.” are indistinguishable from their honest beliefs.

    • Wow. I have never seen anyone so utterly taken in by a politician before. But I will ask… if he is so stupendously great, why is his approval rating under 50%?

    • you sound like you’ve overdosed on major kool-aid !!! i’ll bet you would have followed jim jones! what a tool!?!?!

    • I’m genuinely unsure whether this guy is speaking tongue-in-cheek or if he’s actually that much of an Obama fanatic.

    • Oh blighter, please tell me that you keep score of all the people who fail to recognize the satire. I know I would.

    • Blighter I hope this is tongue and cheek comment or else you are most Obamabot I have ever seen on the internet.

      Quite frankly watching President Obama is like watching sand paper just smooth away the American Dream.

      One last thing President Obama is not of the same calibre as Coolidge, Reagan or Jackson. What do those four names have in common they are the only presidents to have a president from their own party suceed them in office by an election.

      This excludes the run of Jefferson Madison and Monroe

    • I almost wet my pants laughing at this absolutely ridiculous post. What planet did you just arrive from? Wow.

    • I agree completely. And McArdle’s entire argument is delusional, beginning with this gem:
      “At the beginning of Obama’s term, people were talking about the kind of Democratic dominance that FDR enjoyed. Didn’t happen. Isn’t going to.”
      Really? News Flash to McArdle. The democrats won the majority of the votes in both houses of Congress in 2012, including the White House. Why do Republicans control the House even though millions of more americans voted for House democrats? Because of gerrymandering. The fact that McArdle would go back to Roosevelt to try to rationalize her dumb prediction, pretending that the same rules that were in place then are in place today, either means she is being deliberately deceptive or is just plain dense. Also, didn’t folks like McArdle try to go back in time to claim that Obama would not win re-election because no president had ever been re-elected president with unemployment so high and that prediction proved to backfire too? This just proves that in spite of many political commenters like McArdle having egg on their faces after their bum 2012 predictions, they still have cluelessly not learned from their amateur mistakes.

      P.S. In regard to 2016 and beyond, what a lot of these clueless commentators fail to realize in that there is a totally new game in town called Organizing For Action. Even though Obama won’t be on the ticket in 2016, his presence will be involved in presidential elections for years to come through Organizing For Acition. OFA launched only 6 months ago, yet as of this date it has almost a quarter million donors and more than 3 million participants. Obama’s organization outfoxed the know nothing thinking heads in 2008 and 2012, and will continue to do so long after Obama has left the White House. This is not about two terms, this is about the future of this country.

    • Pure genius, “blighter”. I have no job to offer you, but if I did, you would have it.

    • What planet are you living on? Lives getting better day by day? We have record numbers on disability, food stamps, welfare and unemployment. Real wealth in the middle class has fallen dramatically under Obama’s policies. Obamacare has led to the term 49ers for companies afraid to hire the 50th employee to escape the Obamacare mandate. We have an intelligence scandal that makes us look like fools to the world. And on top of that, he’s doubled the debt. The analysis is dead on.

    • How do so many people wind up on Megan’s blog not having any idea who blighter is?

  2. Seems way too high. For them to have a 70% chance at holding all three, you’d have to peg their chances in each of the three at 90%. Even being charitable, they probably have something like a 60% shot at the presidency, a 50% shot in the senate, and a 70% chance in the House. That would make the probability of a clean sweep about 25%.

    Keep in mind, what’s happened in presidential elections since WWII or even the Civil War isn’t especially helpful at forecasting the future because there haven’t really been enough elections to form a meaningful sample. Then you throw out results that cloud the picture (dying in office) and the sample is reduced even more.

    • They’re not independent. I think once they get the white house, chances of a clean sweep are very high. Could be wrong about that, but your way is not the correct way to calculate it.

    • @Jane Okay, then you’d have to make the case that the Rs have a 70% of winning the presidency, which seems too high given the map, demographics, possible candidates, and the state of the parties, and then also make the case that there’s a 100% chance that both branches of Congress would come along in unison. Even if there’s a tendency for this to happen, it’s not 100% certain, especially when the Ds have 55 senators currently and will probably go into 2016 with 48-52.

      If I were to grant that the Rs have a 70% shot at the presidency and a 90% chance at each branch of Congress, that would only make the probability of a clean sweep about 55%.

    • Jason, I think you’re being too optimistic for the Democrats.

      I think the likelihood of a Republican president in 2016 is much better than 80%. As Megan (and many others) have noted, we seem to be locked in a system of two terms for a party, and no more. Comments from various Dem-leaning media types aside, I don’t think the Republicans are so damaged that they can’t elect a President, any more than the Democrats were so damaged in 2005.

      I thik the likelihood of the Republicans holding the House is pretty close to 100% – district lines tend to give the Republicans an advantage, unless there’s a major Democratic wave. In the last few decades, major waves (1994, 2006, and 2010) have been driven by massive disapproval of the incumbent in the White House, so I don’t see any massive Democratic wave before 2018 at the earliest.

      The Senate seems dicier. As Megan noted, the Democrats have a lot of vulnerable incumbents in 2014, and it is certainly possible the Republicans can get control, or close to it. However, in 2010 (a major Republican wave year), they only picked up six seats. The ground wasn’t as favorable, but they also damaged themselves by nominating several weak candidates: Christine “I am not a witch” O’Donnell in Delaware and Sharon “Chickens for Checkups” Angle in Nevada, to pick the most salient examples. Incumbents tend to have an advantage, so I’m not sure there’s anything close to a 70% chance of the Republicans picking up the Senate.

      But if you think the odds in the presidential race, or control of the House, are anywhere near even, I don’t think you’ve thought it through very well.

    • @CTObserver

      I think past preference for two terms at a time not withstanding, Hillary could make a decent GHW Bush to Obama’s Reagan from an electoral standpoint. She has more name recognition than any other candidate (GOP or Dem), an extensive resume, lots of money, and would also have a very sympathetic media, in my opinion. She certainly has weaknesses, particularly her ties to the ’90s and the first Clinton administration, which would be almost twenty years old by that point, but I think she is by far the most formidable candidate on the left.

      On the other hand, we’re assuming, perhaps wrongly, that the candidate will be someone with a lot of presence right now, which I don’t think always holds up in the end. Carter, GW Bush, and Clinton were all relative no names before they were elected, so who know who will win the candidacy, either on the left or right?

    • Also, if Hillary wins two terms, it would mean that either a Clinton or a Bush would have held a national office for all but four years from 1980-2024, and national elected office for all but eight. At that point, we might as well just declare ourselves a feudal state and start deciding if Chelsea should run in 2024, and what that means for the Bush daughters in 2032.

    • @xtmar – I agree that Hillary has a pretty impressive resume. However, neither party has much of a history of looking for the most impressive resume for their candidates. If they did, GHW Bush would have been nominated in 1980, John McCain would have been nominated in 2000, The Democrats would have picked Wesley Clark in 2004, and no one would ever have picked Bill Clinton. As you say, there’s a pretty good chance the nominees in 2016 are people who aren’t even being talked about today.

      But, let’s assume that Hillary is nominated in a walk-away. Democrats will love her, and Republicans will hate her. But, she’ll be tied to a pretty unpopular predecessor, and won’t be able to offer anything more inspiring than “more of the same”. I don’t think she wins the middle 20% that way.

      This is an interesting discussion, and largely pointless now, but I really think the dominant influence on Prisidential elections is the tendency to switch the Presidency between the two parties. I don’t think that there’s any permanent realignment coming. For perspective, there were plenty who were claiming durable Republican advantage after 1992 (they had won 5 of the last 6 elections), and after 2000 (no Democrats had gotten a popular vote majority since 1964, and Democrats could only win by nominating a moderate “New Democrat” Southerner).

    • Jason’s point about the small sample is the key. Without a deeper structural analysis of the parties there’s little information in the history of presidential turnovers. If I collected the opinions of 100 (let’s say intelligent) pundits I’d be pretty sure each of their gut estimates would be close to probability one (because holding an opinion is what they get paid for), but choosing one at random wouldn’t be a better strategy at this stage than flipping a coin. Good luck with your gut, especially if that’s all you’ve got.

    • Jason,
      Your stats are completely correct. 90% cubed would be 72%. These are some of the people who didn’t understand Nate Silver so presenting them with math is useless. Nice try though.

    • CTObserver: Maybe Sharron Angle was not the strongest possible GOP candidate against Harry Reid, but she wasn’t the one who talked about “bringing a chicken to a doctor” –Sue Lowden, whom she defeated in the GOP primary, was. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sue_Lowden

      Megan: On the question of how independent the Senate and the presidential races are, the Democrats gained five seats in the Senate in 2000, even as Bush beat Gore. You might say that 2000 doesn’t really count because Gore won the popular vote and came so close to winning the electoral vote as well–but in that case, how can you include it in your “pattern” of “people getting tired of the party in the White House after eight years”?

    • I do enjoy a good math fail from a guy (Mike) saying others are too stupid to understand math, especially two posts after someone had mentioned how he was wrong

  3. “In 2012, out of an incredibly weak field filled with tongue-tied wingnuts, they nominated the moderate with the best public policy chops and solid debating skills.”

    That sentence may have ended reasonably well, but doesn’t the way it began worry you?

    • Of course, Romney wasn’t just debating Obama, but he also had to debate the moderator, who happily jumped in to defend Obama (and told a blatant falsehood while doing so).

    • hillary will win. why? because she will get the lions share of woman. a huge majority of blacks and win just as much of the hispanics. the only thing left is the old white males. demographics are going to be the problem for the GOP . thier policies fow woman and their hatred of minorities has caught up with them and none of you can argue any of this. and megan is a libertarian so i expect nothing less than wht she said. she has a lousy track record.

    • DJI, your assumption seems to be that Hillary will get the kions share of the woman vote because …. she is a woman. That didn’t work for her in 2008 and now she has the poor record as Secretary of State to go with her. Benghazi and the 3 AM phone call will be areal problem for her.

    • she did get the woman’s vote. look it up. she won them hands down. and her record as secretary of state is poor in your mind not the vast majority. but you have to look at it objectively. look the fact remains when the right continues with voter suppression laws, anti abortion laws and privatizing medicare and the hispanic vote against you, well the dems could run a tree and win. policies need to change. you don;’t change people. you have to adjust your policies to fit with peoples idea’s on policy. but it’s 3 years away. so we will see. right now hillary will win.every poll shows that.

    • Although Hillary would almost certainly get more than 50% of the women’s vote, she will not get more than 60-63% because there are a lot of conservative women that will not vote for her. And the democratic brand may be far more toxic to the average person in 2016 than it is now. In which case she may not even win the majority of women’s votes. If there is an economic collapse (which seems likely) before 2016 the democrats will not win the white house, the house of representatives, or the senate. Even if there is no major problems in the next 3 years the republicans will probably win because of the reasons mentioned in the blog post.

    • Al Gore lost. Three independent recounts affirmed this. His behavior since 2000is hardly credible. Worth $4 million when he left office, he is worth $200 million today. His general scam is to fly in by private jet to announce that all the rest of you nobodies will have to start riding bicycles. He is the apotheosis of the over-fed, over-consuming white male. Al Gore LOST, and America is the better off for it.

    • ans so what relevance does this have to anything except you hate al gore. just shut up. so the last GOP candidate was worth 250 million dollars. and what does that mean. the richest president we ever had was washington. by to days dollars he was worth 545 million.

  4. It is funny, the push back you got in the previous blog entry tells you explicitly why Reid is likely to go nuclear (assuming for purposes of argument that he really has the votes to do so). The Democrats have convinced themselves their dominance of the White House and Senate are permanent.

    • Damn, the page must have jumped on me when I hit the reply button- the reply was meant for Jason, and I see Megan has already noted it.

    • Well, certainly most of the MSM believes that. Waves of disgruntled minority voters will continue to sweep in Democrats as far as the eye can see.

      Are the demographics wrong? Or will the enthused minorities / youth of 2008 and 2012 be less interested in the future?

      And doesn’t that tingling feeling of electing the first African American President get replicated by electing the first woman President? (Hillary?) I still remember in 2008 when all the pissed off Hillary voters were going to cost Obama the election. If I remember correctly, they all went out and voted for Obama anyway.

      But you’re right, Reid might very well believe that the Senate is secure for a long time….

  5. Wow, blighter, either that was an extended troll or you have had a bit too much Obamajuice. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Obama has done an admirable job given the cards he has been dealt, but I am beginning to think that he is better at running for office than he is running that office. That said, I think Megan’s error is not her belief that people may tire of Obama but that she thinks that she can use our past to guess about the future. Given the way that the GOP has evolved, i do not think that the history is a proper guide. The current GOP is not like any opposition party of the past. As Aaron Sorkin observed on Newsroom, the extremists of the Democratic Party in the 1960s (the hippies and yippies) never gained complete control of the party. They may have scared middle America but they never drove the parties agenda. The tea party now drives the GOP agenda. I just don’t think that a candidate who is electable in the general can get thru the GOP primaries anymore.

    • To your credit, you partially see through Blighter’s brilliant ploy. Many don’t see through it at all, which is why we love him/her.

    • The sad thing is that you don’t recognize that the Democrat party has been taken over lock stock and barrel by the far left. The old school Democrats from the sixties have all been driven out and replaced by huge-government “progressive” extremists who hate virtually everything America has historically stood for. While the tea party wing of the GOP does have influence, it does not control the party. If it did, Mitt Romney would not have been the nominee and John Boehner would not be Speaker. Obama and his IRS commissioner were pretty effective in limiting their influence.

    • In your defense, it is not intuitively obvious which reply button to press. It’s a pretty theme, but it has a few odd twists.

  6. Putting aside the use of a small sample size, and the fact that you arbitrarily cut off at WWII, and that you write out of history the four actual presidents that disagree with your interpretation of the arbitrarily selected period of history, and the popular vote winner that disagrees with your interpretation of the arbitrarily selected period of history…

    Once you’ve done that, you’re honestly just saying that the Democrats lost in 1952 to DDE, that the GOP lost in 1960 to JFK, and that the GOP lost in 2008. Am I missing something? And Nixon almost won in 1960 also.

    Anyway, if you make the cutoff 1900, the GOP held the Presidency for 12 years, then Wilson for 8, then the GOP for another 12 years, then Democrats for 20! years, then GOP for 8, then Democrats for 8, then GOP for 8, then Dems for 4, then GOP for 12, then Dems for 8, then GOP for 8, then Dems for 8. Now what is it in there that makes you say: oh yes, parties typically only hold the Presidency for at most 8 years?

    Even if you guarantee the house, and assume strong correlation between the Senate and the White House, you’d still need to assume, given that the GOP takes the White House in 2016 they win the House 100% of the time and the Senate 93%. I don’t think you actually believe that the GOP is 93% likely to take the Senate in 2016, by your own writing, even on that conditional probability.

    • Ford to Carter in 1976, Carter to Reagan in 1980 . . . It’s true that after the Civil War, Republicans were extremely dominant in national-level politics until the post-Great-Depression realignment. But the US has never again had any event as polarizing and traumatizing as the civil war. While 2008 might have created an edge at least as big as the Democratic Party got out of the Great Depression, objectively, it didn’t.

      Obviously, small sample size is a problem; I’m just guessing here. If I thought it was an iron law, I’d have placed the probability much higher than 70%.

    • Now what is it in there that makes you say: oh yes, parties typically only hold the Presidency for at most 8 years?

      Nothing, of course she never asserted that.

      What the history of presidential partisanship since 1900 shows is that over those 116 years republicans held the presidency 52% of the time. And that even in the more volatile first 52 years of the 20th century the record was 28years -D vs 24 Years R That since then the parties have alternated on an 8 year cycle except for 1980-1992. And that can be viewed as an R poaching the second half of Carter’s 8 years with Bush the elder’s election of 1988 being just a return to the preexisting cycle.

      So what in that history makes you believe that it will be different next time?

    • The 22nd Amendment changed the ballgame. Four of the five elections in the 20 yr Democrat run were won by FDR, sui generis. Bill Clinton might very well have won a third term, but the 22nd Amendment made that impossible. Drawing the line in 1952, the first Presidency encumbered by the 22nd, you have 8 Rep, 8 Dem, 8 Rep, 4 Dem, 12 Rep, 8 Dem, 8 Rep, 8 Dem(?). I see a lot of eight year stretches in there.

      Since its passage, only one stretch of more than 8 years and that was due to the great popularity of Reagan at the end of his eight who would have almost certainly won a third term if he had run. Obama’s popularity is basically a cult of personality. His policies all rate far lower in polls than does he personally. I do not think people will be clamoring for perpetual trillion dollar deficits, high unemployment and completely dysfunctional foreign policy. While it is certainly no sure thing, based on this historical pattern I would have to give the edge to a Republican in 2016. Of course, there will certainly be a lot of other factors, such as how much electoral fraud the Democrats can get away with.

    • your entire post is crap. the only thig right is the terms. but other that that………you don’t know what you talking about. YOU HAVE NO CANDIDATES THAT CAN WIN A GENERAL ELECTION!!! they have to win the primary and that means a big swing right……..which is NOT where the country is. got it?

    • FDR and Harry S Truman 20 years was different because people had more trust in the presidency than now. People credited FDR with getting us out of the depression and winning WWII. So they elected his successor. But I think that happening with Obama is very unlikely. FDR and Truman had higher approval ratings than Obama will have in the last years of his presidency.

      I believe the Republicans will win in 2016.

      But I am not a Republican and I certainly am not a Democrat.

  7. The House will stay Republican in 2014, but I’m not so sure about 2016. Remember that the GOP did their damnedest after the wins in 2000 and 2002 to gerrymander the congressional districts to favor Republicans, and yet all of that was turned on its head in the 2006 elections. Even three years is time for people to shift on issues, and for demographic changes to happen.

    In 2012, out of an incredibly weak field filled with tongue-tied wingnuts, they nominated the moderate with the best public policy chops and solid debating skills. In 2016, they will have a much more attractive bevy of candidates from which to choose someone electable.

    But that wasn’t because anyone liked Mitt Romney, it was because the alternatives were all very incompetent at the actual campaigning process. We saw the effects of that with the repeated “Not Romney” phenomena, where one of the alternatives would shoot up in popularity only to then deflate because they had little capability to actually use that surge.

    • I don’t understand your last point. You seem to be saying that the Republicans, faced with many candidates who were obviously weak but said most of the things they thought “the base” wanted to hear, rejected the weak candidates and chose the strongest. This is actually the point Megan was trying to make – you can’t assume the Republicans will immolate by picking an inarticulate wingnut who will be unacceptable to the larger electorate.

    • 2006 was a Democratic wave year. It would take a real miracle for 2016 to be the same. Barring a wave, the GOP will hold the House. And given that it’s the easiest of the three by far, if they don’t hold it then it’ll be because they’ve lost the other two as well.

  8. I think the Republicans chance of taking the presidency are less than 1 in 3 in 2016, and diminishing thereafter. The Republicans will hold the house until the end of the decade barring some weird event. The Senate is maybe 50% doable. Yes, these events are independent, but still, change of Presidency and Senate in the R column are probably 40% at best. I’d say even lower.

    First, historical trends are interesting, until they stop. No one had won the Presidency after losing the NH primary. The Bill Clinton came. There are all sorts of other examples of trends stopping.

    The country, particularly the young, has lurched leftward. There’s widespread distrust of capitalism. Gay marriage has gone from something on the fringes 15 years ago to mainstream today. Late term abortions are sacrosanct, even at terms that most European countries find unacceptable. People in general believe that the government should be redistributing more and that there should be more government to assist them. This isn’t just among the poor: look at any wealthy suburban school district and the demands placed by the citizens there (our town needs a tennis and golf club funded by the town, etc).

    Finally, there’s the demographic shift. Romney got a higher portion of the white vote than Reagan. Black voters rarely have their Republican votes out of the low double digits (%). Hispanics have been higher, often up to 40%, but this was distorted by the Cuban population in Florida, which had traditionally been strongly anti-Castro. However, those guys are dying out, and Cubans now swing to the Democratic column. While Republicans can talk about Hispanics are natural Republicans, the facts are that Hispanics come from places with large amounts of government. Small government isn’t a big sell, particularly as Hispanics tend to be poorer and less educated than whites.

    • I think the leftward lurch you see is mostly in your head. If there really were widespread distrust of capitalism, and demand for more redistribution, the Democrats wouldn’t have taken the beating they did in 2010. Your example of “redistribution” (assuming for the sake of discussion it is typical) is really just public amenities – not exactly the opposite of redistribution, but not an example either. Recent public polls have had more people agreeing that “the government tries to do too much” than that “the government should do more”.

      On demographics, things may (or may not) be moving in the Democrats’ direction. The trends you cite are real, but there’s another one that is maybe more significant – the aging of the population. With the birth rate low, and life expectancies increasing, the population is getting much older. The only part of the Democratic agenda that older people reliably support is protecting Medicare, but the Republicans support that too.

      In any event, parties adapt as needed to become (or remain) viable. If you’re completely right that the Republicans are toxic at the national level, and lose badly in 2016, they’ll start some soul-searching and realignment to get competitive for 2020. Kind of like the Democrats did in the late 1980s.

    • The “demand for more redistribution” is really just opposition to cuts to existing benefits and services. The American public thinks the government does too much until you poll them on cutting individual items, and then the only item they truly want to cut is foreign aid. People hate the government, but they love what it does for them.

      CTObserver, the Republicans don’t support protecting Medicare. They support replacing it with a premium support program which they will call Medicare. By design and fiscal necessity, it will provide less than the existing program and thus constitute a net entitlement cut. Entitlement cuts don’t sell outside the Beltway and Manhattan.

      The GOP’s fortunes in 2016 hinge on the state of the economy in the year leading up to the election, the quality of the GOP and Dem candidates, and which faction–the Tea Party or the capitalist establishment–controls it after 2014. If economic growth is still anemic or negative, the GOP has an edge. If the GOP runs a moderate governor from a Purple or Blue state (i.e. Scott Walker or someone similar), their chances against Hillary* improve. If the establishment controls the party and, more importantly, its messaging going into the election, the GOP’s odds improve.

      Now, if the GOP in fact does run the table in 2016 as Megan predicts, the fun really begins. Such a sweep will convince the GOP that they have a mandate to finally bulldoze the New Deal and the Great Society. Accordingly, they will pass the Ryan Plan or something similar to it, followed by partial or total privatization of Social Security. (As a side note, this is the exact sort of scenario which should be making Reid think twice about nuking the filibuster.) I think that, regardless of how they voted in 2016, the electorate will overwhelmingly reject this and there will then be a GOP bloodbath in 2018.

      *If Hillary doesn’t run, all bets are off. If it’s not her, it’ll be Biden, and I place his odds as 50/50 at best under even the most charitable circumstances.

    • FUBAR – I agree with your assessment of the mood of the country. I agree that the point of Medicare “premium support” is to reduce Medicare spending by reducing benefits, which the country won’t support. For this reason, most elected Republicans won’t support it either. In defence of the concept, it is an attempt to deal with the obvious fact that Medicare as currently constituted is unsustainable, but the country doesn’t seem ready yet to face the unsustainability.

      I don’t think the Republicans’ chances in 2016 depend so much on the current state of the economy, unless we have huge growth over the next few years, with unemployment below 5% (which I consider very unlikely). After eight years of Obama leadership, Republicans will blame him (and his would-be successor) for every bad thing that has happened over the last eight years. This doesn’t have to convince most voters – only enough to tip the balance. Since no major-party candidate has gotten less than 40% of the two-party vote totals in the last 60 years or so, and since very few have gotten less than 45%, I think it’s fair to say that any Republican nominated will start with 45% of the vote (while any Democrat can count on 45%). It only takes half of the remainder to buy the message that “It’s time for a change” for the Republican to win. Based on the history of the last 60 years, that seems to be enough.

      I doubt that, if the Republicans win the Presidency, the House, and the Senate, that they’ll try anything as ambitiously ideological as you suggest. They certainly didn’t from 2001-2007; although Bush raised the idea of restructuring Social Security, he couldn’t get the Republicans in Congress to support him, so the idea died. But, as a though experiment, if that did happen, would the Democrats and their supporters who currently criticize Republicans for not working hard enough to make Obamacare work then say that Democrats should loyally pitch in to make the new Republican architecture succeed?

    • CTObserver,
      Actually, LBJ and Nixon (72) both got just over 60% of the popular vote, and Reagan in 84 fell just short with 58.8% of the vote.

    • CTO,

      RE: Medicare, most elected Republicans already support it. The Ryan Plan passed the House in 2012 with only 4 GOP members voting against it, and, although it died in the Dem-controlled Senate, only 7 GOP senators didn’t vote for it.

      There’s a meme out there that the current crop of Republicans aren’t really as hardline right-wing as they come off, that it’s largely exaggerated oppositional tactics, and that, if they were (and once they are again) in power, they wouldn’t govern so far to the right. For the remaining old guard like Mitch McConnell, I think this is arguably true. For the rest, though, I don’t think this is true at all.

      I think you (and Megan, for that matter) underestimate how far to the right the GOP has moved. The GWB-era GOP you refer to was the culmination of the Class of 1994. While undoubtedly conservative and at times combative, they still were still sensitive to public opinion. Hence, the failure of Bush’s Social Security plan. They’ve since been superseded by the Class of 2010 who have no such compunctions. I have absolutely no doubt that, should they achieve power, they won’t think twice about passing the Ryan Plan and privatizing Social Security, especially if it’s in a sweep of the sort Megan predicts.

      Were we still within the rough bounds of the post-WWII economic and cultural status quo, I’d find your assessment of the GOP’s chances more believable. But, we’ve just come through the worst downturn since the Great Depression, and I think that’s destabilized things enough to make the old “rules” obsolete or at least far less reliable.

      As to your thought experiment, of course not. The Democrats would go into full metal opposition mode. The difference, I think, between such a scenario and the current GOP opposition to Obamacare is that the intensity of public support for Social Security and Medicare in their current forms is greater than the intensity of public opposition to Obamacare.

    • Obamacare and the very poor economy-currently at a measley 1.8% growth rate, will cost the dems. I agree with Megan but for different reasons.The dem policies have been very destructive and the energy will be on Republican’s side.

    • I do not think Gay Marriage will be the big issue in 2016. I think not to many people vote based on Gay Marriage. But if they do it is probably likely to vote against a person who promotes Gay Marriage than for them. Also, by 2016 people may start to think the redistributing wealth is not working. If we have major economic problems before 2016 people will start to think differently about the role of government. There may be no more money to spend by then.

  9. The biggest obstacle to the GOP is the GOP. Obama with all his wrinkles and warts is not as unpopular as the GOP thinks he is. They suffered the same illness during the 2012 elections. They simply could not come to terms that anyone would vote for “that man”. Megan suffers from the same malady. “Voters just get tired after 8 years.” There is some truth there EXCEPT the GOP has yet to produce a viable candidate than can consistently draw voters from the center and the no one wins the White House with their base alone.

    • Well said. I read somewhere that Obama overwhelmingly won the “person who doesn’t decide who to vote for until they arrive at the polling place” vote. People don’t pay attention, and they think it’s kind of cool having a black guy as President.

      Sigh.

    • The “gods of the copybook headings are coming.” The comments above all assume that the present course will continue for the foreseeable future. What if interest rates spike ? We are seeing a worse meltdown in Europe than we have. China may see serious problems soon. Obamacare may destabilize the whole house of cards, even if not implemented, as seems likely. Until 1965, the country was on a sustainable course, even during a depression that lasted longer that it should have. Now, we are not. The young and the feckless do not feel the hot breath of the coming trouble. Some of us do.

  10. The Democratic hopes to hold the White House rest on demographics, not on the hope of Akin 2.0.

    In order for a Republican to win in 2016, one of two things must happen in the swing states: individual people who voted for Obama must vote for the Republican, or Obama voters must stay home and GOP voters must show up. The GOP was banking on one or both of these being the case in 2012, and neither panned out despite some unfavorable external conditions. 2008 Obama voters didn’t switch to Romney or stay at home in disillusionment to any great extent, and the end result was an election that wasn’t even close.

    While most of the Republicans I know weren’t super-enthused about Romney, they were incredibly motivated to boot Obama out of office. I rather doubt the existence of a large pool of white GOP voters who were happy to skip 2012 but who can be lured to the polls in 2016 by the offerings of Rubio or Cruz or Paul. Nor do I think you will see a substantial drop in turnout on the Dem side in the swing states for any of the potential nominees, especially not on the part of folks who’ve now voted for Obama twice. Meanwhile, the electoral makeup continues to shift to favor Democrats.

    That leaves the idea of flipping current Obama voters to the GOP, which I find to be a fairly laughable prospect. Even if you’ve got a good nominee, he’s still got to overcome a dismal party message that is broadly not resonating with Americans. The GOP is demonstrably uninterested in changing its policies, and that’s not something a nominee can overcome with good charisma. If I voted for Obama twice, why in the world would I decide that the same old GOP platform is suddenly more palatable in 2016, regardless of whose mouth it comes out of?

    All the just-so stories about voters historically getting tired of one-party control do very little to answer the specific questions of electoral composition and party ID lock-in. Barring a radical unforeseen shakeup, I think you have to assume that Hilary or Biden will prevail over any of the presumptive GOP nominees.

    • It is interesting to ponder the mountain the GOP must climb to the White House depending on who the Dem nominee may be. If it is Hillary the mountain is quite formidable. Biden? Much much easier. And then there is the unknown candidate that may materialize over the next two years.

    • Your guess is surely no worse than anyone else’s, but I’d consider reviewing the preemptive epitaphs written on the Democrats’ headstone in 2004, when Kerry failed to take down Dubya. Repubs gloated for just two short years, and the overwhelmingly Dem-voting national press corpses were seriously contemplating seeking asylum in Canada.

      Today’s Repubs are similarly dismayed at the apparently unbeatable Donks, and the lefties are assuming permanent governing majorities. But perhaps what follows this time is different?

    • You wrote:

      2008 Obama voters didn’t switch to Romney or stay at home in disillusionment to any great extent, and the end result was an election that wasn’t even close.

      That isn’t accurate. Obama got 3.6 million fewer votes in 2012 vs 2008. Romney only got a million more than McCain got in 2008. Losing 5% of your voters is a big change, just one Romney couldn’t take advantage enough to win.

      You also wrote:

      If I voted for Obama twice, why in the world would I decide that the same old GOP platform is suddenly more palatable in 2016, regardless of whose mouth it comes out of?

      This same question could be asked about Eisenhower voters in 1960, the electorate of 1992, etc. Many of you are mocking McArdle’s reference to the past and its electoral swings, but in doing so are basically assuming electoral swings are now a thing of the past. You and others seemingly cannot conceive that, for example, white voters can’t vote even more overwhelmingly for Republicans, or that African-Americans and Hispanics might not support Democratic candidates as much as they did the past two elections. However, history teaches the lesson that electoral coalitions eventually break down, and that history shows they break down fairly regularly, on 8-12 year cycles. In any case, I have heard all of these arguments before, only it was Republicans making them in circa 1990 and again in 2004, and I will hear both parties making them again should I live to 80 or so.

    • Yancey, the voters who did stay home were not nearly enough overcome the margin. Even if every one of those “lost voters” had shown up and voted for Romney, Obama still would have won. There’s not a single state in which the “lost” voters could have thrown the state or the election to Romney.

      Look at the three states with the closest margins, which also happen to be the unbeatable combination: Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. In Ohio in 2012, Obama got 120K fewer votes than in 2008, but he beat Romney by 160K votes. In Florida, he lost 45K votes compared to 2008, but he won by 74K. In Virginia, he actually got 10K more votes in 2012 than in 2008.

      You’re right that I don’t think the GOP can increase its white vote share or turnout enough to make the difference. Even Sean Trende readily admits that the “missing” white vote in 2012 wouldn’t have made up the margin. Trende further notes that the policies needed to appeal to Dem white voters are the opposite of those which appeal to GOP white voters. Ultimately, I think a 60-40 split probably does represent the rough apex of national white support for Democrats. If you look at the state-level data, only the Southern states show higher levels of white support. Assuming that the rest of the nation is going to move closer to Mississippi, rather than Mississippi moving the other way, seems to me like a pretty bad bet (and I’m saying that as a Mississippian).

      I will certainly agree that is possible that a theoretical future Republican party can increase its minority vote share. However, I think it’s vanishingly unlikely that the CURRENT Republican party will do so within the next three years — witness the fate of immigration reform. They just aren’t doing what they need to do politically to overcome the structural disadvantages, and that’s going to be really hard for any individual candidate to overcome on his own merits. I can see the GOP doing better in 2020 or 2024, but I don’t think it’s happening in 2016.

    • Todd Akin was not a one-off. The GOP seems to have perfected the fine art of running the least likely to be elected candidate, losing Senate races that should have have been low hanging fruit for them to win. Angle, O’Donnell, Buck and Mourdock and Allen were similar cases of defeat snatched from the jaws of victory in 2010 (a supposed wave year) and 2012. And even where they had some decent candidates they still managed to lose tight races, as in Montana and North Dakota last year.

    • In 2012, Obama did get less votes then he did in 2008. It just wasn’t enough for Republicans.

      There is also the possibility that enough of the voters who stayed home in 2010 aren’t going to come to the polls when Obama isn’t on the ballot.

      Ultimately, we’re talking about a small percentage of voters. Romney lost by four percent, and it doesn’t take a major swing to turn that into a Republican victory.

    • The fact is that black voters came out for Obama in 2008 and in 2012 but in 2016 they may not be as likely to vote. It’s not being racist but it is true that blacks liked Obama and many who usually don’t vote came out and voted for Obama. They may not come out for Hillary or for Cuomo.

  11. So your argument that the Republicans have a 70% chance of taking the WH, Senate, and House in 2016 comes down to the fact that you think the Republicans have a 70% chance of taking the WH. Brilliant! I had no idea analysis was so easy!

    • @jane You can’t simultaneously believe that there’s a 70% chance of the Rs controlling all three branches, while believing that there’s less than a 70% chance of them controlling any one branch. I know I’m picking nits here but when math is being tortured someone has to intervene.

      75% on the presidency, 100% on the house, and something less than 70% on the senate is a coin flip for republican control overall.

    • For the eightieth time, the events are not independent. If GOP controls WH, I think that odds of controlling Senate are quite high; if they don’t, I think they’re quite low.

    • @jane It the senate goes R 75% of the time when the presidency goes R, and there’s a 75% chance that the presidency goes R, that would mean there’s a 56% chance that both go R.

      Keep in mind the winning president’s party gained senate seats in only 5 of the last 9 elections, so it doesn’t seem to be guaranteed that the two move in unison.

    • Jason’s right about the probability relationships. The joint probability of an event can’t be greater than the minimum marginal probability of each component separately, regardless of the correlation.

    • People tend to not support a political party in the White House for 3 straight elections. The GOP has a good chance of recapturing the Senate in 2014 and the Democrats have a good chance of cutting the GOP House lead in half, but not retake it. As for 2016 Presidential Election, it depends on how Obama finishes out his second term because it will reflect on the Democratic nominee, the state of the economy, and his personal approval rating. Demographics have an impact as well. If the white percentage of voters drop again and the minority voting percentage climbs, it will be hard for a GOP to win the White House. 82% of minoriies voted for Obama the Democrat versus 39% of whites for Obama. If Hillary runs she will do better with white voters than Obama because she can appeal to the white working class better, but Hillary is not going to get over 80% of the minority vote-that will drop back to 75% support. If the GOP has a 70% chance of winning the White House, then it is because they have moderated on their social issues like abortion, gay marriage, taxes, and relationship with women/minorities.

  12. For the WH I think it all hinges on the R party’s willingness to nominate Cristie. At this point, I don’t think they are.

  13. My rule of thumb for now is watching to see which party’s primary looks to be most contentious. If Hillary walks to the Donk nomination in a lazy amble (as many wags now assume), she’s probably on a glide path to the White House, since I assume the GOP nomination will be a mud fight due to the lack of a logical national leader.

    But I’m not so sure that Hill will be able to hold together the frayed ends of her party’s coalition in 2016. Not sure who would pose the challenge (Biden? Cuomo? O’Malley? Jerry Brown?). But someone who can fight her successfully through several primaries could force her to take firm-ish positions that inevitably turn off parts of that coalition, causing them to stay home in the general election. Obama kept the party united in 2012 — mostly because he never picked clear winners and losers among the left’s many factions.

    On the GOP side, the same rule would apply. But I also find Sean Trende’s analysis compelling that the GOPeeps have to put forth a more populist candidate to bring back the “missing white voters” who previously supported Reagan and Perot.

    • I think a contentious primary is probably a good thing for the ultimate nominee, as long as it isn’t an incumbent who faces it. I can’t argue that Obama, for example, suffered from almost losing the nomination to Clinton. Nor do I think Romney suffered from the primary battles of 2011-2012.

    • Yancey, good point about this being more of factor for incumbents. The examples I had in mind were contentious primaries that split the parties up to and through the convention: Reagan v. Ford in 1976, Kennedy v. Carter in 1980, Buchanan v. Bush in 1992.

      Hillary gave Obama her full-throated endorsement after a long, bruising primary. The non-Romneys really weren’t a factor after the first several primaries, and all but Ron Paul conceded and endorsed him long before last year’s convention. The latter example doesn’t quite fit what I had in mind, but the former comes a good deal closer.

  14. “When Nate starts running his projections, I will revise accordingly.”

    Nate’s projections aren’t that useful until the last week of the election. Up to that point they’re basically Dem-skewing noise (that’s why he gets inside information from Democrat campaigns — quid pro quo). For example, he had Democrats holding the House heading into October 2010.

    • Point 1: false- the first model 538 produced for the 2012 presidential election called 49 states correctly (only calling Florida incorrectly, as it ended up Democratic). If it were just Dem-skewing noise, you’d expect it to show North Carolina, Arizona, Missouri, Indiana, Georgia going blue. And the one Senate election Silver missed, he missed, also by calling it for the GOP. And Silver didn’t change the underlying dynamics of his 2012 presidential model after it debuted, although it did place more weight on polls than on the economy as election day approached.

      Point 2: false – the first 538 model for the 2010 House elections gave the GOP a 2/3rds chance of winning a majority, forecasting that they would pick up 45-50 seats.

      http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/10/g-o-p-has-2-in-3-chance-of-taking-house-model-forecasts/

    • Chet — those would be great points if I’d said anything about “first models.” Both my points were accurate — Nate’s forecasts have skewed Dem until late in the election, when they tighten up because he’s judged on those.

      Also, just about any model could have picked 44 states correctly at any point in the election as there were only a half-dozen or so in play. That’s just the kind of stat that impresses the ignorant.

      http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2012/10/nate-silver-just-isnt-that-good-at.html

      In 2010, out of the 5 close Senate races, Nate Silver missed the mark on 3.

    • And note on #2 that the GOP actually picked up 63 seats, so that doesn’t exactly bolster your argument.

      Nate’s NYT gig is intended to reassure NYT readers, who skew violently Dem.

    • I’m not wasting his time on Nate’s nonsense when he can’t even tell a “prediction” from a “guess.”

  15. Your post and subsequent comments implicitly suggest that this prediction all comes down to who wins the Presidential election. *My* gut instinct tells me that looking at the past 25 or so presidential elections isn’t going to give you enough data to predict what’s going to happen in the next one.

    But I think this xkcd cartoon said it better than I can: http://xkcd.com/1122/

  16. I discount most simple-trend analysis of presidential elections (especially “modern” presidential elections — what makes WWII a better marker than “since 1900″ or “in the last 100 years” or “since the 23rd/24th/26th amendment”?) because there are so few data points to go on. And those data points that do exist don’t exactly tell a story of “voters just get tired after 8 years:”

    1952: Democrats and Republicans all like Ike, both try to get him to represent their party, he chooses the Republicans
    1960: Kennedy wins the popular vote by a fraction of a percentage point
    1988: Bush keeps the White House for the GOP in a landslide
    2000: Bush wins by the narrowest possible margin, loses the popular vote
    2008: Obama wins comfortably

    Looking at the popular vote, which captures the national “mood” (while the EC reflects more of the political calculus), you’ve got one bipartisan winner, two virtual ties, and one comfortable victory for each side. It’s going to take a lot more than that to convince me that these five data points are enough to foretell an incumbent-party loss 3 years out.

  17. Look, there are 242 electoral votes in states (and the District of Columbia) that have gone Democratic in six presidential elections in a row. Not one of these states was anything like close in 2012–the closest one, Pennsylvania, went for Obama by 5.38 percent. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/lv?key=0AjYj9mXElO_QdHpla01oWE1jOFZRbnhJZkZpVFNKeVE&toomany=true
    There is no reason to think that Hillary will do worse than Obama in Pennsylvania–she might not get quite as large a black turnout in Philadelphia, but she will certainly do better than he did in Appalachia, in either 2008 or 2012. (Remember that she won the Pennsylvania Democratic primary in 2008).

    To those 242 electoral votes, I think we have to add New Mexico and Nevada as Democratic-leaning states. New Mexico went for Obama in 2012 by more than ten points, Nevada by 6.68 percent (despite its having one of the worst-hit economies in the nation over the past four years). Moreover the Hispanic vote in Nevada is increasing, and the Republicans sure don’t look like they’re doing anything to increase their percentages with that group. So add New Mexico and Nevada, and we have eleven more electoral votes for Hillary–which brings her to 253.

    Florida alone would easily be enough to bring her over 270 electoral votes . And recent polls have shown her substantially defeating every GOP candidate, *including Rubio and Jeb Bush* in Florida. (Not that either Rubio or Jeb Bush is likely to be nominated anyway, given the conservative backlash against their views on immigration.) http://www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute/florida/release-detail?ReleaseID=1910 (Note that this poll was conducted *after* the Benghazi hearings.) With the Hispanic vote rapidly increasing in Florida, the GOP’s position on immigration could hurt more than in any other state. And Hillary’s showing among Jewish and/or elderly voters in Florida is likely to be higher than Obama’s in 2012. (This is one state where attacks on her age are sure to backfire.)

    But even if she loses Florida, there are all sorts of other paths to victory for Hillary. Ohio alone would bring her over the top–and is another state where she did better than Obama in the 2008 primary, and would probably do better than Obama among white voters sufficiently to overcome any drop in black turnout. (Incidentally, polls show she is very popular among African Americans, despite the heated primaries of 2008. So especially with Obama campaigning for her in 2016, the drop in African American turnout may not be very substantial. ) Or she could lose both Ohio and Florida and still win if she carries Virginia and New Hampshire–*or* Colorado and Iowa and New Hampshire: all five of those states voted for Obama by at least 3.88 percent in 2012, most by considerably more (And Colorado isn’t going to be any less Hispanic in 2016 than it was in 2012.) In short, it seems to me, based on polls, past election results, and demographic trends, it is the Republicans who will have an uphill struggle for the White House in 2016 (absent a total economic collapse of course–I’m not ruling that out, but I don’t think it’s wise for the GOP to count on it). Their chances of controlling both the White House *and* the Senate in 2017 look to me more like 30 percent *at best* than 70 percent (at least if Hillary runs) .

    As for the age argument–it didn’t hurt Reagan. Dole and McCain lost because the economy was good in 1996 and terrible in 2008, not because of their age. As for the “people want a change of parties after eight years”–not only wasn’t it true in 1988, it also wasn’t true so far as the *popular* vote was concerned in 2000 and, arguably, 1960 (which in any event was a recession year). And in 2016, unlike 2000, the Electoral College will favor the Democrats in case of a close race. Also, unlike 2000 there will be no equivalent of the Nader candidacy–what happened that year has soured the Left on third-party candidacies for at least a generation.

    • This is the sort of thinking that led to a book called The Emerging Democratic Majority just before George W. Bush won two terms. Madness to think you can say anything about what any state closer to the center than the District of Columbia will do in a situation three years away with unknown political figures in it.

    • “This is the sort of thinking that led to a book called The Emerging Democratic Majority just before George W. Bush won two terms. Madness to think you can say anything about what any state closer to the center than the District of Columbia will do in a situation three years away with unknown political figures in it.”

      That’s why I emphasize that so many states have gone Democratic six times in a row. That doesn’t mean they can’t change in 2016–especially, as I noted, if there is an economic meltdown. But it does seem to indicate that their allegiance to the Democrats is not all that shallow–especially since none of them were even close in 2012. The situation before 2000 was quite different–a great many of the states that had gone for Clinton in 1992 and 1996 had voted Republican in 1988 and earlier. Even in 1992 and 1996 many of them went for Clinton only by pluralities, not majorities.

    • “That’s why I emphasize that so many states have gone Democratic six times in a row.”

      Look, no one doubts that there are one party states. I live in Chicago, a one party city. Yet eight years before your six elections in a row, the Democratic presidential nominee lost 49 states, including some no Democrat could possibly lose now… unless maybe a cherrypicked historical precedent isn’t as binding on the future as you think.

      Me, I grew up in a period of genuine Republican dominance– Nixon twice, Reagan twice and Bush, with only Carter in between. And even with Clinton, remember, he never passed 50%. The Dems went 44 years, 11 elections, a fifth of the history of the presidency, without significantly breaking 50% (Carter just squeaked past by .1%). So it takes more than two elections won by the same charismatic guy for me to believe that it’s a long term realignment and couldn’t possibly just be one skilled candidate with good timing.

      Meanwhile, the Republicans have 30 governors out there, winning often in very mixed and even blue states. If you want to bet that not a single one of could possibly have the raw talent to make it to the White House over Hillary or Biden, go for it. I try to have a little more humility about the unknowability of the future.

  18. I agree that age didn’t hurt Reagan, but 1) he looked preternaturally young and 2) men in general age better than women. You know that weird thing where women in movies and TV play the mothers of men who are only a few years younger than they are? It’s terrible, but the fact that it works tells you something about how the public perceives age and gender.

    Moreover, we now know, as we didn’t before, that Reagan shouldn’t have been elected; he clearly had early Alzheimer’s in his second term. Don’t think no one will mention that.

    At some point, we’re just going to end up arguing to argue, because you can always pick things that bolster your case. As I’ve tried to say, I’m far from certain I’m right–it’s a guess. But I will say I think structuralist accounts of the GOP’s demise are overblown. Ten years ago, the Democrats were looking like a permanent minority party to a lot of people . . . which makes me skeptical of similar accounts.

    • Hill could get a facelift. And word is that she’s working on a couple of mem-wahz. There was talk of a movie about her.

      But all of this could work against her. Particularly if the advance hype is more exciting than the actual product. And Hillary is a monotonous, bland public speaker in my view.

      Not only did inevitability fail her in 2008, this time it’s not under her control. She’s gone into hiding in the hopes that her absence makes our hearts grow fonder. The hype, OTOH seems to come from other Dems, the broader left, and all the well-connected Acela Corridor journos and pundits.

      President Hillary is far from a done deal

  19. Hillary will be the next president, because she is a woman. It is really as simple as that. Even if the GOP nominates the fat man, there are more women than fat people.

    • (1) it is true that a lot of people thought the Democrats were in terrible trouble after 2004. But really they weren’t–as I noted at the time, just get 1% of the voters in Ohio to change their minds, and Kerry would have won. The Republicans are going to have to change a lot more minds than that for 2016 in a lot more states.

      (2) I still am looking for a map that makes 270 votes for Rand Paul or Paul Ryan or Scott Walker or Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio (if he is still viable after the immigration bill’s likely failure) or any other plausible GOP candidate likely (as opposed to possible, which of course I concede). Obama could have lost Ohio, Virginia, and Florida, and would still have won. I am by no means sure that the GOP will carry any of these states, let alone all of them, in 2016, but if they do, they still have to carry at least one state which Obama won in 2012 by at least 5.36% of the vote. Just which one will it be? Colorado, just possibly, but they are hurting themselves with Hispanic voters there and elsewhere. Pennsylvania has been fool’s gold for the GOP for the last six elections. (Maybe Christie, being from nearby New Jersey, could make it competitive, but I don’t see him getting nominated–and I think even he would be the underdog there.) Wisconsin went for Obama by almost seven points, even with Ryan on the GOP ticket. If Obama were some sort of Democratic Eisenhower–a figure widely beloved by people of both parties–I could see a sharp drop-off in the Democratic vote in four years. But he is not–he is an extremely polarizing figure, and I don’t see why Hillary would have more enemies than he does. (Can you think of a Hillary-hater who is not also an Obama-hater? I can’t.)

      (3) With respect to Hillary’s real and alleged weaknesses, it’s not like people don’t know about them *now*. Age and health? We’re not that distant from the fainting incident. Benghazi? It’s not like the GOP hasn’t been emphasizing it. Yet she keeps doing very well in swing-state polls both for the Democratic nomination and in the general election. (Recent polls show her leading all GOP candidates in both Florida and Iowa, for example.) And for people who say, “didn’t the polls in 2005 also say she was a shoo-in to be nominated”, the answer is No–not by nearly that margin, as noted in http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/07/11/iowa_caucus_2016_hillary_clinton_s_59_point_lead_and_other_poll_portpourri.html Anyway, IMO no candidate other than Obama could have beaten her for either the Democratic nomination (which she almost won anyway) or in the general election in 2008. And I just don’t see anyone in 2016 who could have Obama’s 2008 appeal to Democrats wanting an alternative to her.

      Of course one would be wrong to rely too much on early polls, which are largely tests of name recognition. But when the candidates are well-known in a state–e.g., Hillary vs. Rubio or Jeb Bush in Florida, I don’t think even early polls can be totally ignored. http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/19/3459318/rubios-support-is-steady-but-he.html

      (4) Finally, to return to the eight-years-and-the-party-gets-ousted argument, here’s a good rebuttal: http://plainblogaboutpolitics.blogspot.com/2013/07/patterns.html

  20. I think that the Dems have a 75%+ chance of holding the Presidency. Here’s my reasoning:

    Obama’s goal in 2008 and 2012 was to win the Presidency. His goal for 2016 and beyond is to ensure Chicago machine control of it for the foreseeable future. The Presidency is where the power is; you can simply ignore any law that Congress passes that you don’t like. Your bureaucrats can write and enforce regulations willy-nilly. Eight more years and Team Chicago will have probably nominated over half of the Supreme Court.

    Who is Team Chicao? Biden is not part of Team Chicago and wants the Presidency. Team Chicago will easily dispose of him-his verbal gaffes are like pouring gasoline all over himself, and Team Obama will light a match and give it to the press. It’ll be the Dean Scream all over again.

    Hillary is not part of Team Chicago either. My guess is that a leak of her mishandling something as Sec State will come out, and she will be toast as well. (If Chicago has a sense of humor, it would be something damning about Benghazi.)

    That would clear the field for the Team Chicago nominee. My guess is that it will be Rahm Emmanuel, but it could be someone else from Obama’s inner circle.

    Regardless of who it is, once a member of Team Chicago is nominated, OFA’s excellent big data operation will go to work, perhaps with some assistance from the WH. (Who will know? And if anyone finds out before the election, who can do anything about it?) OFA’s social media and other data driven efforts will get enough voters to the polls to ensure another Democratic Presidential victory, and ultimately the transplantation of Chicago politics to Washington.

    Crazy? Maybe. But if (a) Hillary’s candidacy is at risk because of revelations from her time as SoS and (b) a Chicago insider is her chief rival, then I’d say the theory is holding water.

    • Your theory falls apart because Obama the narcissist will do the absolute bare minimum to help his successor.

  21. Damn I miss Intrade.

    So, if you think there’s a 70% chance the GOP wins the trifecta in 2016, then, in an Intrade market based on thatoutcomee, you’d be willing to pay $7 per share, which would pay out at $10 should the GOP win the trifecta.

    Being a logical thinking person who won a lot of money at Intrade before Americans got kicked out, I’d be selling you those shares, putting $3 of mine against every $7 of yours.

    So, how much do you want to bet? We could do this ourselves, at your stated odds, and the loser would have to send the money to the charity of the winner’s choice.

    Actually, I’d be willing to bet that, seeing as how you’re a giant bullshitter, you’re just talking out your ass and would be way too chicken to put your money where your big mouth is.

    • I see that you haven’t read the multiple places where I wrote that no one’s betting on that 70% figure, and no one should.

      I am curious, though: why do you seem so angry? I’ve said that this is just my best guess. You seem to believe that there is some sort of bad intent, or worse, bad outcome, from my speculation. What would that be?

    • Are you Meagan McCardle? No? Then I wasn’t talking to you. If you are, then your 70% figure is the jumping off point. My opening bid to go short GOP trifecta in 2016. Wannt bet? Make a counter offer. I would put the possibility very low. So, put up a bid to buy some shares. What are the actual odds of the GOP to win the 2016 trifecta?

      I don’t want to argue about your Glibertarian nonsense, because I want you guys to try to nominate Rand Paul to run against the Dem. So, talk up your glib nonsense all you want. As I like to say, keep talking, wingnuts! But I will answer your question.

      Why so angry? You Galtians work for a world in which we, for example, let people who can’t afford health care die. Or am I wrong about your opposition to Reagan’s EMTALA?

      You Galtians, led by Alan “Ayn” Greenspan himself, created the largest asset bubble in the history of the world (one of the Chairman’s “notably rare exceptions”) which, when it collapsed, drove the world economy into chaos, and led to the Little Bush Depression, the largest recession since the Great Depression. Your freshwater BS has decoupled middle class incomes from productivity. You ruin lives, advocate policies that would ruin even more, and you ask why I’m angry?

      You want to bet or not? We might not have Intrade anymore, but I’m sure we can work something out. Put up a bid.

    • Ah, well, not being a regular, I see that you are indeed the author. However, being a regular reader of people who understand electoral college politics and political demographics, I found out that I was actually honored with your reply.

      http://tbogg.firedoglake.com/2013/07/12/the-return-of-the-daughter-of-the-bride-of-mcmegan-mcmath/

      See, I’m tired of all the BS. It’s why I really liked Intrade. You can look at your trends, talk about how men age better than women, or how we shouldn’t have elected Reagan (right, like at the time you would have voted for Carter). It’s all bullshit, and I mean that in the philosophical sense of the word.

      http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7929.html

      What I understand is polling, demographics, and politics. You guys could run Cyborg Reagan against the Dem nominee in 2016 and lose. The GOP is becoming such a rump party of backwater Hateville that you’ll be lucky to get the Senate back any time soon, and even with your gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics, you’ll create such a backlash during the GOP Teabagger House of Representatives RAW Hatefest Showdown 2014-2016, that the Dem coattails, especially Hillary’s, will give us a Dem Speaker again.

      So, I’d buy shares of the Dem Trifecta for, oh, say $2.50 a share. Name your price, and I’ll sell you shares of GOP Trifecta.

    • Leftists do seem to skew angry, which as Tyler points out explains a lot from a mood affiliation standpoint. I’ve long suspected this is the reason for Krugman’s schtick — if he were still the pre-Robin Wells guy who said things like “Eurosclerosis” and didn’t frame the GOP was evil incarnate, would he have the following he does?

      That’s one reason I enjoy Reason’s work so much, they rarely seem to write anything that isn’t well-grounded and featuring a dozen links. BTW, Ron Bailey’s recent piece is excellent — the bit on IQ over time is not to be missed.

    • Well, obviously Ms. Galt has precisely nothing to say about eliminating the EMTALA, or anything else of substance, really. Must be one of those hypothetical vs. statistical things. Explains why she’s not willing to put her money where her mouth is.

      Like I said, I sure miss Intrade, where I could piss you guys off, AND take your money.

      As for Tall Dave, and his twin, Tall Dave 2, you’re calling me a troll? What I see going on here is a bunch of wingnut Glibertarians who are too chicken to bet on what they say is a good bet.

      You follow a philosophy that says you should support the repeal of the EMTALA, but you’re too chicken to say so, probably for fear that you’ll lose some of the 1% of the American electorate that voted for you.

      “and didn’t frame the GOP was evil incarnate”

      You mean “as evil incarnate?” Well, gee, I dunno, what would you call a political party that has lied us into a $6 trillion dollar war that killed, maimed, and displaced millions? What would you call a political party that wants to insure that thousands of their fellow Americans should die from lack of health care? What would you call a party that deregulated, put Foxes in charge of hen houses, and ignored warnings about the housing bubble, leading to the Little Bush Depression? What would you call a party that actively hates on immigrants, wants to force women to give birth, wants to treat gay people like second class citizens, and wants to return to Jim Crow?

      And you wonder why I’m mad.

      Any of you wingnuts want to bet on the 2016 trifecta, or global warming, or POTUS 2016, or anything else you think you might actually put your money on instead of just bullshitting, let me know.

  22. Using past Presidential elections as data points is, as many have pointed out, useless. We have no idea what the political landscape will look like in three years, and each switch had its own independent reasons for switching. I’d like to see a more detailed response to DavidT; none of his analysis was based on a “structural collapse” of the Republican party.

    There are two important factors that you ignored in the post: who the candidates actually are, and how each party gets to 270 electoral votes.

    At the moment (acknowledging the predictions are a fool’s game at this stage) the most viable general election Republican candidates would seem to be Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker. Of those four, Walker seems to want to run the most, and can appeal best to the establishment and the base. But it’s those four who have a viable shot.

    For Democrats, obviously, Hillary, a formidable campaigner with tons of experience. If she doesn’t run, Andrew Cuomo is also a formidable campaigner. Brian Schweitzer is popular and populist and could grab the nomination from Cuomo.

    So: which specific states does the Republican flip? Give the Democrats 5/6 New England States (minus NH) , New York, all 3 Pacific states, Hawaii, Maryland, Delaware, D.C., Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, New Mexico, New Jersey unless Christie runs, and Wisconsin unless Walker runs. That’s 237 electoral votes. Note that this list does *not* include Colorado (9), Nevada (6), or Pennsylvania (20).

    Give the Republicans the south minus Florida, Virginia, and NC (and including TX, OK, MO). Add on all the Great Plains states except Montana. Add Alaska, Arizona, and Indiana. That’s 188 electoral votes.

    The Republicans can take Florida, Ohio, Virgina, North Carolina, and Montana and lose. if the Dems hold those 237, take Pennsylvania,Colorado, Nevada, and New Hampshire, that’s the ballgame.

    Do I think this is a *given*? Of course not. But if there are no foreign policy disasters, and the economy slightly improves, then it becomes tricky for any Republican, even Scott Walker, to get to 270. Which Republicans do you think are most likely to be nominated, and what path do they have to get to 270? What outside events do you think will increase this selected Republican’s chances between now and then? Speculation should at least be *informed.*

    • Scott Walker doesn’t have much of a record to run on and he doesn’t even have a college degree. He might be the VP nominee (that is if he wins re-election) but a combination of a terrible record of job growth and no degree is too high a hurdle.

    • Rand Paul might be able to get the youth vote.

      And I would not count out Rick Perry. I heard him in an interview lately and he was awesome, has a huge record to run on, and explained that his problem was in 2012 he had a back operation and was in pain / on pills.

      I was surprised how good he sounded, and his economic record is unbeatable, and he is not a rich wall street guy, which is how the Dems managed to get 5 million poorer white GOP voters to stay home in 2012. That is how they won. “Don’t vote for the dude who looks like your new boss from New York City here to fire you!”

    • perry….ant abortion, can’t debate. and if you believe the pain pills thing…….i have a bridge i want to sell you . he’s a clown.

      pual will do what hos old man did……nothing.

    • Coba, agreed on Perry. Another aspect of his long political career is that he has been constantly underestimated by his rivals and their media flunkies.

      There can be no doubt that he is dipping more than a toe in the water, evidenced by his job-stealing sales pitches for Texas in Donk strongholds of CA, NY, and Chicago. In each of those, he forced the local Dem honchos to respond to him on his own terms. That’s someone with a feel for politics and opportunity.

    • ‘We have no idea what the political landscape will look like
      in three years.’ Really, given current domestic and foreign
      headlines ? Compared to today it will look like Hell;
      In which part of Hell will you be living: Red or Blue ?

  23. as others have pointed out, what is Megan’s electoral college math and which nominee does she imagine will carry it through? Certainly no Southernor like Ted Cruz could hope to pull it off. Rubio is now damaged goods. Christie could, if he loses a great deal of weight, pull it off if he could get nominated but that is highly unlikely.
    You simply can’t go by the past projecting it to the future. Republicans can win 100% of the white vote in Alabama but who cares? America is becoming a minority majority country, no hispanic or black or Asian or gay or woman will say…gosh, I am tired of voting Democratic so I will vote Republican. In 2016 whites will only be 70% of the electorate but even then the raw percentage is unimportant if it is overwhelmingly a regional one.
    Seriously, I want her road map to how Republicans win in the general. And Hillary would be the first woman nominee. It will galvanize the country and will be the last go round for the baby boomers (though technically Rand Paul is a baby boomer).
    Republicans only hope is Hillary doesn’t run for whatever reason and Biden gets the nod. Otherwise Democrats will nominate a Southern conservative Dem. like Warner and win in a romp.

    • ‘I want her road map to how Republicans win in the general.’

      Take a Right turn at Depression Ave. and stop at Obamaville.

    • It is undoubtedly true that if the economy collapses in 2016, the Republicans would be favored. But Megan’s original post doesn’t seem to be based on any such supposition–simply on the notion that people get tired of a party after eight years in the White House. As others have noted, this is far from an invariable law, and even limiting oneself to the post war period, I would say there have been *three* occasions when it was not true with regard to the popular vote–1988, 2000, and yes, 1960. (The conventional idea that JFK got a slight popular plurality is based on counting as pro-JFK the votes for an Alabama Democratic slate which was a mixture of pro- and anti-JFK Democrats, the anti’s voting for Harry Byrd.)

      Of course you might say that it is only the electoral vote that counts, but as I have already mentioned, in 2016 it is very unlikely that the Democrats would win the popular vote but lose the electoral. If the 2012 popular vote had been exactly tied, and if the swing from Obama to Romney had been the same (about 3.9 percent) in each state, the Republicans would have carried Florida, Ohio, and *possibly* Virginia, but would still have lost in the Electoral College. To repeat: to win in 2016, the Republicans will have to win at least one state which Obama carried by 5.36% of the vote or more. (As I explained at http://tinyurl.com/ojeg7p7 there was a similar Democratic Electoral College “cushion” in 2008.)

      I might also note that when there is a great drop-off after eight years, there is usually some *reason* for it–it doesn’t just happen because of the passing of eight years. In 1960, given the recession that year, the fact that there had been a more severe recession in 1957-8, the fact that Democrats clearly outnumbered Republicans (as shown in the congressional elections) and the obvious fact that Nixon totally lacked the heroic image and bipartisan appeal of Eisenhower (and was considerably less charismatic than JFK), the surprising thing is that Nixon did as well as he did. In 1968, it was the war in Vietnam and riots in the streets that defeated Humphrey (who still almost won)–not just the fact that the Democrats had been in the White House for eight years. In 2008, it was of course the economic meltdown. Sure, if there is another meltdown in 2016, the Republicans are likely to win, but that truism is not what Megan’s post was about.

  24. Although he doesn’t predict who will win the Presidency in 2016 (or the Senate in 2014), Sean Trende‘s recent series of articles on demographics and the GOP at RealClearPolitics.com fully supports Megan’s hypothesis.

    It’s really sad, however, that almost any discussion of politics these days means a probability-based argument about which party will prevail in the next election. Politics has become a spectator sport and ceased to be the mechanism that we use to resolve conflicts.

    • sean trende is ridiculous. he knows the GOP ain’t gonna score with hispanics so he makes up some crap about getting the white vote out. they have maximized the white vote. but i hope the right listens to him . it will guarantee democratic vitroies for a generation. and like i said megan is a libertarian who doesn’t know her but from a bag of beans.

  25. I agree with the show me 270 crowd. Barring an economic meltdown, foreign policy fiasco, or major BONA FIDE scandal which STICKS….well, I have a hard time seeing an R get to 270. I think Christie would be most likely, but he will never get out of the primaries for supposedly “costing” Mittens the election post-Sandy.

    • He’s also fat and anti-gay marriage. Sorry, but those don’t work so well with our new electorate who demand toned arms.

  26. I love the commenters saying Hillary has a formidable resume.
    She has an awesome resume if she is never asked what she actually did while in those positions…i.e. “increased sales by 20% while adding new markets in Europe”

    She has no achievements. Being elected or being appointed don’t count.

    Seriously, think about it and tell me if I’m wrong. Althouse had a blog post on this a while back and everyone thought hard on this subject and nobody, I mean nobody, could come up with anything decent beyond “she had a kid,”

    Name her signature legislation as a Senator.
    Name her signature foreign policy achievement.

    In fact some of those look dumb now, like that re-set button.

    She will win though, because the new equation is MSM + Big Data + LIV = WIN.

    “She cares about my issues” trumps “we need massive reforms and more jobs.”

    The women will vote for her too. Because we all know that misty emotional feeling of electing the first whatever is worth 8 years of incompetence. (Though to be fair, we do muddle on pretty good…)

    The MSM has already started with the admonishments that if you think she’s too old, you’re an ageist.

    And again, please anyone name her achievements – top 3.

  27. The hyping of Hillary may once again be her undoing. It’s an awful lot of vaporware that the media and Acela Corridor folks used to push O, and I wonder if the folks won’t have grown tired of the tactic in another three years.

    Eventually she has to come out of hiding and talk to voters. Then you get the bland monotone speechifying. The unseemly cackle she throws down on questions that make her uncomfortable. Never mind the questions about her age and health, as well as Bill’s.

    There’s another assumption where the libs and Dems are convinced they’ll never lose again: That identity-group politics is here to stay. I would say, maybe so, for now. How long “for now” means is uncertain. Eventually, the public grows tired of every simplistic ploy and gambit. The identity-group grievance-mongering doesn’t put food on the table.

    • She also has to talk about Benghazi. That is not going away. They are currently interviewing witnesses. Why wasn’t there more security when requested? Who in the state dept gave the order to scrub the talking points?

    • i have an answer to you. the GOP in the 20′s led the country down a path that completely destroyed the country. hoover was president. FDR won the 32 election and held on for 4 years. truman took the fifth term. that was identity politics. the country moved away from the GOP and in those days it was hard to find somebody who admitted to being a republikan. after 8 years of eisenhower and democratic congress we went back to a democratic president. the only reason eisenhower won was because he was a war hero and he governed in a very liberal way. so yes it can last for generations.

    • Achievements don’t matter to voters. We just re-elected one of the least accomplished people to ever hold the presidency.

    • dji- that narrative might be effective today if Obama had actually improved the economy in his 8 years in office.

  28. 2014 is going to be considerably harder for the Democrats. The IRS and DOJ won’t be able to help this time and there’s a slim chance the MSM will actually get a conscience and cover the issues fairly, one can only hope.

    All things being equal, the Democrats can not win in 2014.

  29. Copying this over from my comment on Daniel Larison’s blog on TAC (where he takes Megan’s piece as a launch for one of his own):

    In 1988 voter fatigue did not do much to keep George HW Bush from the White House. The Democrats ran a doofus, and despite the guy’s attempts to downplay ideology, the Democrats had not yet shed their reputation for loony liberalism nor lived down the fiascos of the Carter years. The GOP is pretty much in exactly that position: likely to run a doofus who will try, but fail, to hide his party’s ideological fruitcakery while doing nothing to assure anyone he won’t be George W Bush Part III.

    In 2020– well, maybe.

    By the way, I do not think it’s slam dunk that the GOP will take control of the Senate after 2014. They are having trouble finding good candidates in a number of key races, and the same forces that saddled them with Todd Akin in 2012 and the lady that wasn’t a witch in 2010 may toss up further losers of that sort.

    (Nice to see you still blogging, Megan!)

  30. The Dems know that voter fraud and manipulation by corrupt bureaucracies plus media collusion will carry the day from here on out.

  31. Have control of what?
    A nation whose bureaucracy has been taught to spy of itself?
    A nation in perpetual war?
    A nation that has forgotten the meaning of peace, or peace time Army?
    A nation that violates every precept upon which it was founded, a nation that spies on its citizens with no oversight?

    Stop fooling yourself Megan, the donkey is no different than the pachyderm, they both are corrupt beyond measure.

  32. I think Megan is right because so many people are convinced that the Republicans, who hold 30 of 50 governorships and dominate the state legislatures, have no national appeal.

    The Dems have shifted so hard toward a few high-population urban centers that it won’t take much in the way of charisma and sentiment shifting sides to reveal how thin their Obama-era dominance was.

    • “I think Megan is right because so many people are convinced that the Republicans, who hold 30 of 50 governorships and dominate the state legislatures, have no national appeal.”

      The problem with reading too much into this is that the GOP dominates the governors and state legislatures and the US House of Representatives mostly because of *one* election–that of 2010. That is when almost all the Republican governors were elected, and when GOP legislatures were elected which drew up redistricting plans making it hard to defeat GOP state legislators–or GOP Congressmen–throughout the decade. (Yes, of course the Democrats did the same thing in states which they controlled, like Illinois. But after 2010 the Republicans got a lot more chances to do redistricting than the Democrats.) In 2012, the Democrats actually did better than Republicans in the popular vote for the US House, and that’s also true of some state legislative chambers where they lost as well. (E.g., Wisconsin: “In the state Senate, Republicans won six of 11 contested races, including two seats that had been held by Democrats. The Republicans now have a 17-15 advantage in the state Senate, which will likely increase to 18-15 after a December special election in an overwhelmingly Republican district. But the Democrats actually outpolled the GOP in these contested state Senate elections, winning 50.5 percent of the 941,000 votes cast.” http://urbanmilwaukee.com/2012/11/20/how-republicans-won-the-legislature/)

      Anyway, suppose that in 2014 some of those GOP governors are defeated? Scott in Florida and Corbett in Pennsylvania are trailing fairly badly in recent polls, and Rick Snyder is also trailing in Michigan.

      Of course if every year is going to be like 2010, the Democrats are doomed. But it is just possible that 2016 will be more like 2012 than 2010. (For one thing, is it really unthinkable that the fact that Hillary Clinton is white will help her more than it hurts her, especially since she seems to be pretty popular among African Americans anyway? Maybe the Democrats of Ohioan and Pennsylvanian Appalachia that overwhelmingly backed her against Obama in the 2008 primaries have irrevocably become Republicans, but I wouldn’t be that sure.)

    • @Denver: Bravo sir. I’m appalled at how many “progressives” have bought into the trappings of permanent power and creeping fascism that are inherent in the Warfare/Welfare State.

      It’s odd how desperate they are to cling to any thin reed of justification for insisting that yes, Barack Obama and George W. Bush are two radically different men.

    • The Democrats are controlled by a Statist faction that wants increasing power in the central government. They’ve been deceived by the whole “Blue Team Good/Red Team Bad” scam that the Ruling Class has played on them.

      I don’t know what the Proggies would do to themselves if they found out that George W. and Barack were actually playing for the same team.

    • There was a lot of special pleading in The Emerging Democratic Majority about how this or that victory was merely a fluke or the result of some chicanery or whatever, too. The easiest excuse on earth is “But they only kicked our butts because of special circumstances!” Their victories are flukes, yours are the natural order of things. That’s a recipe for a lot more flukes.

  33. Megan aimed at the low-hanging fruit. The question is not whether the GOP will sweep everything in 2017. The harder question is advocating why it will matter one damn bit.

    Except for the social conservatives who push for restrictions on abortion, both parties are rent-seekers who have no time for policies based on the philosophies they were founded on.

  34. Do any who predict a GOP presidential victory in 2016 take into account having to win without carrying Florida and Virginia?These two once reliable GOP bastions, have a large pro-immigrant population and have trended Democrat recently. Even the Cuban-American population, once the most reliable GOP voters went for Obama 49-47% in 2012. Ask George Allen about Maccaca.

    It’s true that Hillary and Biden at 70-years-old are too old, and Hillary has never proven to be a particularly skilled winning candidate. Neither is a Ronald Reagan. But Hillary being a woman is a big selling point if the GOP runs a candidate tainted by its recent anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-everyone different rump Tea Party faction.

    Three and a half years from now is a long time, and Obama is a lousy President. But a rising economy powered by America’s energy bonanza will mask Obama’s inept economic policies, despite his best efforts to block energy pipelines to appease his Luddite green supporters.

    Without Obama’s polarizing presence at the top of the ticket and a fawning press coverage, any reasonable Democratic candidate has a better than 50% shot at winning because of our changing demographics, as the electorate becomes 1.5% less white with every election cycle. Remember how Romney’s 53% became 47% in real votes.

    God bless you Dick Cheney. You gave us energy independence, but Obama will get the credit because all the GOP wants to talk about is how much they hate everybody else. It’s like the joke when the Long Ranger surrounded by hostile Indians tells Tonto: “I think we’re in trouble” and Tonto replies: “What do you mean we, Kemo Sabe?”

  35. After this Amnesty fiasco, the Republicans will lose much of their base, as they did in 2012

    Romney lost because millions of conservative Republicans stayed home. The establishment in the Republican Party is dead set against the Party’s base v

  36. If the house passes immigration reform you can hang up the GOP having any one of the above for 20 years.

  37. Maybe it is my age which makes me intolerant of other viewpoints and impatient with
    all opposition to my plans to save the world, but then, Hillary is my age, so can’t be.

    One does not need great intellect or experience to predict the political future, one needs
    to accept at gut level that tomorrow will be not just different, but worse; The question is
    how much worse, and hence how much of the political establishment loses the support of the people: Just Democrats, Republicans too, or the whole Circular…Firing Squad ?

    @ Jane Galt: Let me make one thing perfectly clear on this point:
    In a steady-state system, your analysis/prediction would likely be correct, but it is,
    as many more qualified than myself have pointed out, a system on the edge of a cliff
    and ‘If This Goes On’ the world will go over the edge, probably before the next President
    is elected.

  38. Don’t you think that by going nuclear the GOP will be pi$$ed and rightly so? The GOP could have done this numerous times in the past but refrained so it would never come back to haunt them. If Reid did pull something like this underhandedly…the GOP will shut down both chambers. Take it to the bank!

  39. George Herbert Walker Bush served in Congress, was a candidate for the US Senate, Ambassador to the United Nations (1971-73), Chairman of the Republican National Committee (1973-74), Chief of the U. S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China (1974-76), Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1976-77), and Vice-President of the United States under Reagan. An impressive looking resume–yet as critics often pointed out in 1988, what had he actually *accomplished* in any of these positions? He didn’t get any legislation of note through Congress, he lost to Bentsen in 1970, it’s not clear what he actually accomplished for the US at the UN (he was unsuccessful in trying to block Taiwan’s expulsion or anti-Israel resolutions in the General Assembly) or for the GOP in 1973-74 (not its happiest years) or for the CIA or US-Chinese relations. Again, as Vice-President, what did he actually do that helped shape the course of Reagan Administration policies?

    In short, the exact same argument–”just an impressive looking resume without actual achievements”–which is being used by some people here against Hillary was used against him. But he did win in 1988, notwithstanding the fact that after the Democrats took the Senate in 1986, many people thought that the pattern of “no more than eight years in power for the party holding the White House” would re-assert itself…

    • Count up the years in actual government vs. Hillary. He also held a larger variety of positions, and had been a Navy pilot.

      Hillary…again, any achievements?

      Reset with Russia did not work.

      Egypt’s both sides are angry with us.

      Intervening in Libya did not end so well, but we’ll say a draw on that one.

      No treaties. Nothing else…running under sniper fire I suppose.

      I really don’t want to go back to Bush in Congress to see what legislation he did, but again, Hillary has nothing.

      Bush was the VP as well. Much closer than Sec. of State for 2-3 years when mistakes were made.

    • And this is why if Perry runs, he can simply trot out TX’s economic numbers until the cows come home, and what’s Hillary going to say? “I thought Assad was a reformer?”

  40. “In 2012, out of an incredibly weak field filled with tongue-tied wingnuts, they nominated the moderate with the best public policy chops and solid debating skills.”

    Absolutely true. Romney was the most impressive candidate for President I’ve seen in my lifetime.

    And he lost. To Obama, the least impressive major-party nominee for President I’ve seen in my lifetime, even as an incumbent.

    I wonder if Ozzy Mandias isn’t on to something.

    • A lot of people, maybe including you, forget that becoming president requires winning 50 state elections, which requires superb political skills. Skills which Romney never, ever, demonstrated in any way. He may have made a fine president by he was the absolute worst candidate in my lifetime, and that includes McGovern, Carter and Dukakis.

  41. I’ve made similar arguments. With presidential elections, it’s also worth noting that anyone running to get their party a third term in the White House tends to do worse than in the previous election, even in the rare cases they end up winning (FDR in 1940, George HW Bush in 1988.)

    I don’t know if the odds are that impressive that the party will keep the Senate, though. Republicans have a lot of ground to make up, and in 2016, the party will defend seats in states like Illinois, New Hampshire and Wisconsin, where they could be vulnerable.

    An interesting trend is that Democratic incumbents rarely lose Senate bids. Since 2004, Tom Daschle, Blanche Lincoln and Russ Feingold were the only Democrats to run for reelection and lose their seat, In the same time, Republicans Rick Santorum, Jim Talent, Conrad Burns, Mike Dewine, Lincoln Chafee, George Allen, Norm Coleman, John Sununu, Gordon Smith and Scott Brown were defeated in the General Election. Richard Lugar also lost a primary to a man who lost the General Election.

    And there’s another difference between the parties. There have been five elections in the last two cycles which primary voters selected atrocious candidates who lost in places Republicans were favored.(Delaware in 2010, Colorado in 2010, Nevada in 2010, Indiana in 2012, Missouri in 2012.) In the same time, there’s only been one election which Democrats lost due to a poor candidate. Dean Heller of Nevada would likely not have won reelection by 1.2% against someone who wasn’t investigated for ethics violations.

  42. Hillary wants the Presidency so badly, she can taste it. And, Bill, well, so many secretaries and so little time.

  43. On Rand Paul: I agree that he might have more appeal for younger voters (at least younger white ones) than some of the other GOP candidates. But it seems to me that he is precisely the worst candidate the GOP could have for Florida. Obama in 2012 did considerably worse with Jewish voters there than Democrats have in the past; Hillary would win them back, and more (her campaign would emphasize the “anti-Israel” paleos who backed both Rand Paul and his father). The Democrats would appeal to elderly voters by depicting him as a heartless young opponent of Social Security (which he, like Perry, once called a “Ponzi scheme”) and Medicare. (“The fundamental reason why Medicare is failing is why the Soviet Union failed — socialism doesn’t work”–yes, Rand Paul said that.) He would not do well among Hispanics, either–whatever reasons he gave for voting against the immigration bill, the fact that he voted against it is what will count with Florida Hispanics (who are increasingly non-Cuban). What’s more, if Charlie Crist is elected governor as a Democrat in 2014, we could see a Clinton-Crist ticket. That would be hard for any Republican (certainly any non-Floridian Republican) to beat in Florida, but especially Rand Paul. And without Florida, it is really hard for me to see a Republican winning in 2016. (They would almost have to win Pennsylvania–but that’s another state with a lot of elderly white voters who might give Hillary better percentages than they did Obama.)

    I still think that Christie is the strongest GOP candidate. I am amazed that he can get such high ratings from Democrats while taking positions which are mostly quite conservative–not just “conservative for New Jersey” but conservative, period. But I just don’t see him winning the nomination–there is too much antagonism at him for being too friendly to Obama in 2012.

    • christie believe it or not has the backing of some wealthy new jersey democratic donors. why? i have no idea. why do the dems in jersey support him? i don’t know. he raised their property taxes to give the rich a tax cut. he’s against unions and he talks like a bully. but people in jersey like that tough guy image. but he still, at this point , does not win jersey against clinton. so there’s that. and no i don’t think he can get the nomination. he commited the sin of working with the president.

    • I suspect he has support because the state’s finances are in such bad shape, some Dems know they need to get back to reality. Thus he has backing.

  44. Here is why I don’t see a 70-% chance for a Republican taking the White House in 2016. Obama won big in 2012 in spite of a weak economy. Republicans will have to flip Ohio and Florida and a few other states (Virginia, Iowa, Wisconsin and Colorado seem to be most obvious targets). These are all swing states and if Republicans nominate a conservative as they are hell-bent on doing in 2016, I don’t see them flipping. All of the potential Republican candidates have problems (Marco Rubio, Rand Paul) or are too conservative to be elected (Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz). The two candidates that do have a better shot are Chris Christie and Scott Walker. But Christie has to make it through a GOP primary without tacking to the right and Walker is not that known (at least not yet). Then there is Hillary Clinton. She is still a polarizing figure but less so that in the past, and she will drive Democratic turnout up (she will also capture a small number of working class voters who stayed home in 2012). It will be very difficult for any Republican to attack her without turning off voters (Christie would be the best for this; that is why he is the best chance Republicans have got). I would say Republicans have got a 50%-50% shot which is not bad considering the state of the party right now. If immigration reform (not necessarily the Senate bill) fails, their chances will decrease.

  45. Interesting how Megan notes that the only candidate from a sitting party to win an election followed the iconic conservative Ronald Reagan, virtually riding-in on his coattails, yet also does not seem to find fault in the Republicans methods of nominating candidates in the aftermath. Given the last two GOP/pundit/low- information-primary-voter, nominees it would seem apparent that there is a problem somewhere in right-side information-relay system.

    Especially when one ponders the noted, “moderate with the best public policy chops and solid debating skills,” who STILL managed to lose to a monumentally divisive, totally unqualified incumbent community organizer that had ushered in the universally hated Obama-care and a new 8+% unemployment reality, all in the midst of an unfolding Benghazi scandal.

    The establishment pundits (unwittingly?) embrace the Democrat designed strategy– “That moderate old white guy that the Democrats really wanted us to nominate lost last time so let’s nominate another.–theory of choosing candidates.

    All that said, I optimistically do believe the Republicans could win all three branches in 2016, (and I realize that the last two cycles, the party did not have the candidates available and willing to run, that it now has). IF and only IF, the right aisle establishment media gives up the hyping of these milquetoast muffins and advocates for strong Reaganesque conservatives–new blood, somewhere along the lines of Allen West, Ted Cruz, Mia Love.
    JM$.02

    • “new blood, somewhere along the lines of Allen West, Ted Cruz, Mia Love.”

      Uh, in case you didn’t notice, (1) Allen West lost a congressional district Mitt Romney carried, (2) Mia Love lost a congressional district Romney *overwhelmingly* carried, and (3) even Ted Cruz got a slightly lower percent of the vote in Texas (56.45%) than Mitt Romney did (57.17%).

      Maybe they would make stronger candidates than Romney–but the 2012 elections sure don’t seem to indicate that.

    • This reply does not refute my point that the right-side pundrity along with beltway republicans, play into the Lefts hands by foisting old wishy-wash white establishment moderates (that will never get elected in this day and age) on the low-information voters, while demonizing the young articulate conservatives of color, thereby costing those good men and women elections even in districts where they had previously won…remember it was the GOP/right wing punditry/establisment that redistricted West, demonized Bachman, and Love, and called Cruz a “wacko-bird.”

  46. I dont think its too much of an understatement to say how potentially damaging the Fed exiting the bond market will be for the Dems going into 2016. The Fed will have to exit sometime in the next 18 months. When they do we are set up for a very nasty recession that could in many ways mimic the 2008 crash. As such, IMO its a forgone conclusion that the GOP captures at least the White House. Almost regardless of who the candidate ends up being.

    • your right about the fed. but the public no longer trust the GOP on the economy. thats in the polling. if they had pushed through a real jobs bill that may have changed it. but they haven’t. and dems are social creatures and all the social attacks by the right will drive voters away from them. they have painted themselves into a corner. that leaves maybe the house in their hands because of gerrymandering but the dems broke through that in 2008 & 2008. so they may be in real trouble here. and the president won reelcetion with unemployment over 7.7 %. the dynamics have changed.

  47. The mention of Mondale gave me a good laugh. My wife ran press advance for his campaign. She was a few feet from him when he promised to raise taxes.

    She always talks how the guy standing next to her, a guy from Texas, turned to her and said “That’s it. It’s over. Would have been nice to work in the White House, but it’s back to Texas.”

  48. This is crazy. Democrats are so corrupt, so intense, and so well-organized that we may never have a Republican president again.

  49. Predictions about elections based on past elections is pretty much the same as predicting the weather for election day in New York City. Who can tell what events or events will take place between now and then, the candidates who will run, and other unknowable factors, many of which have been noted by previous responders. My thought as to important factors in 2016 would be how will the GOP be able to rid itself of its rabid idealogical bent, characterized by the Tea Party wing in the House that keeps torturing Speaker Boehner. These GOP shock troops will demand idealogical purity–their version–from whichever candidate manages to survive primary battles where all must act like idiots for fear of antagonizing the base.

  50. I think you’re missing out on the IRS implications. The IRS has essentially announced that its targeting Republican groups and prominent individuals while leaving Democrats alone. There are now serious real financial penalties for being a Republican, and real incentives for becoming a Democrat. Current Republican politicians aren’t combating this, either because they don’t understand what’s happening or they lack the power to protect their people. Now we’re seeing indications that the EPA is also targeting Republicans.

    This is a game changer. A fundamental game changer. I’m small potatoes and I’m worried about my exposure. I can’t imagine how people with actual money feel. Now that word is getting out that registering Republican brings hostile IRS attention, people will have to rethink their positions.

    • Exactly. People here, especially those who don’t really like the GOP and are just speculating on the horse race, don’t get that many, many on the right now feel the deck is completely stacked. Democracy only exists if it has the consent of the governed.

      I am pretty much just waiting to see if when the money runs out that perhaps some people will wake up. But most likely not. The MSM hates the GOP – OMG Texas just passed an abortion law that is about as strict as most Europe has…OMG…American Taliban. Its just this stuff and all the goodies how the Dems win. .

      Oh, and the DOJ was funding protests down in FL and Obamacare is handing out 700 million to NGO’s to help market it…do you think that’s going to right wing ones? No. Its just using the state to fund Democratic footsoldiers.

  51. Megan – major systemic changes override the trends you’re basing your reasoning on. You could have made money buying General Motors every time it dropped below a certain price and selling it every time it rose above a certain price. If you got the prices right and the stock was in a normal pattern that would have worked … until GM was about to go bankrupt – then, when it dropped below your magic number and you bought shares, it would have kept dropping like a stone because something destroyed the equilibrium (impending bankrupcy).

    Worse yet, what if you’d been investing in Tower Records with the same strategy?People stopped buying what they were selling and the semi-predictable fluctuations became irrelevant.

    Earth to Megan: there is a long-term demographic trend away from what the GOP is selling. They still have buyers, but not enough to win the White House, and it’s worse now than it was when you wrote the first article. It’ll be worse still tomorrow. In the time it took me to type this silly post, probably a dozen fat white racists have died and two dozen citizens of minority heritage have turned 18.

    The GOP will almost certainly control the House until the next census. The GOP is unlikely to ever win the WH again unless it completely reinvents itself and – like you with your 70% to 75% tweak – it’s doubling down rather than reinventing. The Senate is the only thing worth speculating about.

    One further point: the tactics of the GOP House will sharply increase the size of the GOP 2016 WH loss.

  52. Maybe a 75% chance the GOP holds all three branches. But a 100% chance they screw over their base (again) and use the opportunity to push crap like illegal alien amnesty, higher spending, more corporate welfare, etc. And probably more Anthony Kennedys, John Roberts, David Souters, and Sandra Day O’Connors in the courts to boot.

    Odds that actual spending will increase with a GOP stranglehold? 0%.
    Odds that meaningful entitlement reform will occur? 0%.
    Odds that meaningful tax reform will occur? 0%.
    Odds that any socially conservative legislation that isn’t more than a fig leaf will pass? 0%.

    The only thing the GOP base might get is a more coherent foreign policy (not counting immigration) – but it’s not like it’s a high hurdle after the Obumbles administration…

  53. The difference between George W Bush and Barack Obama is that under Bush things had a semblance of being in control until the bottom fell out.

  54. In 2018, a bunch of weak Democrat Senators who snuck by on Obama’s coattails and bad opponents are going to be up for re-election (i.e. Clair McCaskil). Absent a TEA Party like surge for the Democrats in 2018, the Republicans will be likely picking up Senate seats in 2018. They’ve also got at least a 50% chance of getting to about 52 seats in 2014, and that’s IF ObamaCare doesn’t completely implode next year. The Democrats won a net of +9 Senate seats in the Obama 2008 wave, and kept a couple of seats they should have as well (Pryor in Ark, Landrieu in LA). They’ll be giving most of those seats back next year.

    If Reid and the Democrats “go nuclear” next week, they’d better enjoy the next 18 months. because after that the Republicans will be n charge, and at that point Democrat Senators will have about as much influence as Democrat house members do now.

    • “In 2018, a bunch of weak Democrat Senators who snuck by on Obama’s coattails and bad opponents are going to be up for re-election (i.e. Clair McCaskil).” “Obama’s coattails” had almost nothing to do with the GOP’s poor showing in the Senate in 2012. Romney ran ahead of most GOP Senate candidates–and not just Mourdock and Akin. http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/341462/romney-and-senate-candidates-ramesh-ponnuru A number of the GOP candidates who lost, incidentally, were “weak” only in retrospect–before the election they were generally expected to win. Tommy Thompson was a proven vote-getter in Wisconsin, etc.

      My own view: before Schweitzer announced he wouldn’t run in MT I thought the GOP had a substantially less than even chance of winning the Senate in 2014. I now think there is a real chance that they can get 51 seats. But even if they do, I would expect them to lose at least one seat and probably more in 2016, unless it is truly a GOP landslide year. (Yes, Democrats benefitted from weak GOP opponents in Nevada, Delaware, and Colorado in 2010. But all three states went for Obama by substantial margins in 2012, and the increasing Hispanic vote will help the Democrats in Colorado and especially Nevada in 2016. As for Delaware, Mike Castle would probably have won in 2010 but he is not going to be running in 2016, when he will be 77. So I can see very few Democratic senators who survived 2010 who are really vulnerable in 2016, and a number of Republicans who might be.) So my guess is that in 2017 the Democrats will have at least 50 seats in the Senate (whether this is enough for a majority depends on who wins the presidency, of course) and more likely 51-53.

      But of course having the GOP able to pass bills with 51 votes means nothing as long as Obama can veto them. And even assuming a GOP House, Senate and White House in 2017(which I continue to view as unlikely absent an economic meltdown) the filibuster would not do the Democrats much good anyway–the GOP could repeal Obamacare, for example, by saying the repeal is a tax measure and therefore not subject to being filibustered. If the parliamentarian disagrees, they can fire him, as they did Robert Dove in 2001 (whom Robert Byrd had earlier fired in 1987). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Dove

  55. And if it should come to pass nothing will change, we’ll have a righter wing dominated political class watching everything we do rather than a lefter wing one. Americans, isn’t it past time we took back our governance from these assholes?

  56. This all depends on who the Republicans nominate. Clinton is very popular in her own party, and the media will cover her lovingly like they do Obama, but she doesn’t have much charisma, and she’s not that well liked outside of the Democratic party. Rick Perry has some charisma, and maybe people will forget how much he sounds like George W. Bush and vote for him. The Republicans have several other talented and charismatic people too. We’ll see.

    • ” she’s not that well liked outside of the Democratic party” She does reasonably well among independents in most recent polls (i.e., polls taken after the Benghazi hearings.) http://www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=1900 shows “9. Is your opinion of Hillary Clinton favorable, unfavorable or haven’t you heard enough about her?” being answered 18-77 unfavorable among Republicans, 91-4 favorable among Democrats, and 46-42 favorable among independents. Given that on the whole self-described independents are more Republican- than Democratic-leaning (Romney carried them in 2012) that is not a bad showing. And as Obama showed, it is possible for a Democrat to win, while losing independents–provided he or she doesn’t lose them too heavily.

    • Name recognition and the fact she would be the 1st woman president. Awesome credentials. Actually they are because apparently voters now don’t worry about performance, they just want someone who “relates to my concerns.”

  57. Totally agree on the House and Senate. Voter suppression in full effect will help the GOP in the 2016 general Presidential Eelection in battleground states. That said, Hillary is the second most popular politician in the country, who will have thr first, her husband, campaigning for her daily. Benghazi won’t be a pimple on her butt as much as the far right has tried to make it so. Naturally after campaigning and debating her approval rating won’t be where it is now. That said, a GOP candidate needs to siphon or suppress enough of the female, gay, young and minority vote to get her under 50% and 270 EV. Possible, not probable. True, the GOP candidate won’t say the nutty things you mentioned. However, he’d better be ready to condemn the nutty things his party mates say in far more stringent terms than Romney did with the Akins and the Mourdocks of the world did in 2012. Does Rubio have that in him? Unless Jeb runs, Rubio will be the nominee. He’s incredibly milquetoast, a political neophyte, will be eviscerated by Hillary in the debates and completely unable to stand up to those he needs to in his own party. What does this all mean for you and me? You guessed it. Eight more years of gridlock.

  58. There have been 12 presidential elections since 1900 that did not feature an incumbent president (08, 20, 24, 28, 32, 52, 60, 68, 76, 88, 00, 08). Counting 2000 as a win for the incumbent party, the incumbent party won 5 of them. Given the small sample size, it seems pretty clear that the incumbent party can do well without their president on the ticket.

  59. Simply hilarious.

    Hey Megan, what are the chances of a Romney electoral landslide in 2012?

    GOP has completely lost it’s mind. Most Americans can’t abide your party, or any of it’s loony, hateful and disgusting figures.

    Keep blowing sunshine up your posterior then. It’s good for a laugh.

  60. So, do we have to start boning up on cattle futures and how to miraculously makes hundreds of thousands off them as a neophyte?

    Or how about those docs that mysteriously disappeared until suddenly they were found.

    And Sandy Berger…what was he smuggling out in his pants?

    Boy, its going to be a fun election – all because the Democrats have NO NEW FACES and NO ONE with executive experience who can run. Thus they have to run an old 90′s candidate that the boomer lefties will love.

    Maybe this time she can get healthcare reform done? LOL!

    • What Berger has to do with it I haven’t the foggiest. But I look forward to Vince Foster, Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Monica Lewinsky, imaginary Chelsea Stanford roommates your ilk will allege Bill Clinton seduced, Whitwewatergate, new Dick Morris fabrications, etc…from the day Hillary announces her candidacy until 1/20/25.

  61. Oh, and so far, not a single commenter among 196 comments has answered the question of what are Hillary’s accomplishments. No one can name any.

    One commenter did say that GHW Bush didn’t have any either, and I can sort of agree with that as I suppose being a Navy pilot in WW Ii is basically the same as ducking sniper fire in Sarajevo. I’m also not up on GHW’s 1970′s career. Maybe he did nothing at the helm of the CIA, a major party. or being our man in Beijing.

    Again, actual accomplishments…does anyone have any for her?

    I don’t even mean this as a partisan attack – I was personally a bit flabbergasted when I started thinking about that question.

    Wait…didn’t she get millions and millions for a Woodstock museum. Aw, now that is monumental…literally.

    • Coba, the premise of your question is flawed. You make the mistake of presuming that a record of specific accomplishments is determinative in getting elected.

  62. Already looking forward to the next election huh?
    Trying so hard to forget the 2012 one I see :)

  63. The 1990′s–that “long national nightmare of peace and prosperity”–really do not look that bad in retrospect to a lot of people. That is perhaps why Bill Clinton gets a 71-25 favorability rating, according to a recent Fox News poll. http://www.pollingreport.com/clinton1.htm

    I doubt that 71 percent of the American people are “boomer lefties” or that Fox News polls are all that “skewed” in favor of Democrats. And to some extent, Bill Clinton’s popularity does rub off on Hillary.

    I never said that that makes her election in 2016 inevitable. If the economy is bad enough that year, of course the GOP can win. But if the Republicans think they can defeat her by raking up Whitewater again, I don’t think they are being realistic.

  64. If the GOP is stupid enough to nominate the Crown Prince John Ellis Bush in 2016, and they may be given their given their Stalinist top down nominating process, and the outsized power neoconservative party apparatchiks and large financial donors have in choosing the candidate, then they will NOT be in control of much of anything come 2017.

  65. “In 2012, out of an incredibly weak field filled with tongue-tied wingnuts, they nominated the moderate with the best public policy chops and solid debating skills.”

    How’d that work out?

  66. It’s good reasoning. I think it fails to take into account some of our unprecedented current circumstances, though.

    The way in which information flows and is controlled is much different than the way it was in your historical model. Also, voters use somewhat more varied criteria in choosing a POTUS than they have in previous decades.

    For example: Voters these days are actively encouraged by their candidates to embrace hair-brained, stupid priorities. And because voters are more than happy to oblige, Democrats will win in 2016.

  67. In 2012, Republicans did not nominate “the moderate” or the candidate with the best grasp of policy issues. To say that you have to ignore the candidacies of Jon Huntsman and Tim Palewnty. Romney won not because he was a moderate with policy chops and debating skills, but because he veered far enough to the Right on key social issues to make him acceptable to Republican primary voters. This was a maneuver that clearly damaged him in the general election.

  68. the author is missing the dynamic in play which is that the republican right is
    not conservative but rather radical reactionary and will force whomever is seeking
    the nomination to take positions that will disqualify him or her from winning a national
    election. None of the examples cited in support of the white house changing hands
    is pursausive because the republcian or democratic candidates that succeeded
    were main stream candidates who did not advocate views inimical to those independent voters who are not interested in party affiliation but are interested in
    solutions…Because the republicans in the house and senate have been engaged
    in a continuous attempt to block anything and everything that has Obama attached
    to it to the detrimnent of the national interest whether it is appointment of judges
    or immigration reform or managing the nations’ fiscal affairs. it is far more likely
    that voters will simply make the choice to change the house from republican
    to democrat in order to at least get something accomplished legislatively and
    that means that a democrat will win the white house in spite of the historical
    tendencies outlined above..

  69. I was worried, but then I remembered that Megan MacArdle is wrong about everything!!

    Welcome to the permanent Democratic majority, Megan.

  70. An analysis based purely on history, ignoring circumstance and policy proposals.

    Will the next Republican win in 2016 because he isn’t Obama with the promise to hire lots more government workers, start two more wars, and turn a growing economy into a depression like Reagan did, so he could blame Carter for families needing two incomes in the 80s to live like families with one income lived in the 60s?

  71. Next Ms. McArdle is going to tell us who is going to win the Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy in 2017 and be the wild card teams in the AL and NL in 2016. Could someone, anyone in the public eye, elected or not, outside of the president, who seems to be trying to do his day job, concentrate on helping us get something done…NOW, instead of continually, almost continuously playing this politics prediction game? There are some good politics computer games if Ms. McArdle or anyone else needs a recommendation and wants to spend all their waking hours playing them. Could we for once decide not to kick the can down the road yet another two or four years until the next election when X will take over and the next election after that when Y will. I’m 62 and getting sick of it. I’d like to see my country headed in a prosperous and healthy direction before I die, based on both parties and the American people agreeing on some goals and using their collective intellects to achieve them instead of pushing us further and further apart by making everything constantly refer to elections, thank you, Sen. McConnell, for your unhelpful statement after the 2010 election. I am an election freak. I keep about twelve thousand rows and hundreds of columns of Excel filled with various kinds of election statistics from every state and county in the country from 1864 to the present. That’s the past and it is fascinating hobby to let the statistics tell us how our country has changed politically. But I don’t obsess three and a half years in advance about who is going to win in 2016 and we shouldn’t unless there is nothing else of significance in our country to worry about for the next three and a half years. Would everyone agree that things are so good at the moment that we should spend all our time playing Criswell or Jeane Dixon and being about as accurate as they were? Our political system has become a soap opera cum “reality” show that never ends, whose only purpose, it seems, is to entertain. The media love it. They sell commercials like crazy for these “game shows” they broadcast. I have no quibble with the analysis above because I think that scenario, as well as many others, is possible. There oughta be a law: you make a public prediction (whether you’re Chris van Hollen, Reince Priebus or Megan McArdle) on an election more than three years down the road and you have to pay $50,000 to do so, refunded, if you turn out to be right. Between two and three years early, $25,000. Between one and two years early: $10,000. In the last 365 days before the election, you get to make predictions for free. If you’re ordered by an editor to do so earlier than that, the editor has to pay. That might work to keep us concentrated on more important things, unconstitutional though it surely would be.

  72. Obama has done such terrible damage to our nation let’s pray that the GOP has control in 2017. There will be so much work to do to repair our nation and restore jobs. They will also have a tremendous job clearing out the terrible corruption Obama has spread clear through our national Government. It will be our last chance to save our nation from what Obama has done.

  73. Here is why I respectfully disagree. I think the actions of the GOP legislatures in numerous states will harm most GOP candidates. For example, right to work legislation in Michigan will doom any GOP hopes of defeating Gary Peters (however, there is a good argument that Peters is a DINO).

    Additionally, social and wedge issues are still going to alienate many GOP candidates. Fear of Tea Nuts will still prompt candidates to run on a pretty conservative message. Moderates won’t speak out for fear of losing support “of the base”. Even Mitch McConnell is looking vulnerable in a state that hasn’t backed a Democrat in decades.

    The GOP has gotten some gifts
    in terms of some strong candidates not running but I still don’t think they’ll have the support to take the majority and 2016 is a political eternity away. The WH scandals will have been forgotten and Obama and crew are master campaigners who will use their resources to help the party. I honestly think that the GOP will lose the House and Senate if Clinton runs. I would also not rule out Kerry running again. If he has a successful tenure as SOS he could be a surprise candidate. I don’t think swift boating him will work a second time and in the current environment.

    I don’t see an overwhelmingly strong GOP field either. Too bad there is not a variable 3rd party candidate to make things more interesting.

  74. http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/senate-races/310825-report-schweitzer-not-running-for-senate-in-montana

    IOW, Brian Schweitzer, the popular Democrat ex-governor (term limits) decided either that, despite the polls, he couldn’t win, or else decided that winning and going ot the Senate would suck (i.e. he didn’t want to go be in the minority).

    Right now, the Democrats BEST hope is that the Senate is 50 – 50 after the next election. By far the most likely result is they will be in the minority.

    Any Democrat Senator thinking of “going nuclear” should wander over to the House, and ask one of his / her Democrat colleagues over there what it’s like being in the minority with no filibuster.

  75. It’s really too early to tell. We are at the equivalent of 1985, 1997, or 2005 in the last three cycles. Lewinsky was what cost Al Gore the 2000 election – that broke in Jan 1998. Does no one remember Bush’s calls to bring “dignity” back to the white house? A combination of republican scandals, Katrina, most importantly worsening conditions in Iraq and resultant fatigue and disapproval hurt Bush and thus McCain in 2008, but most of that occurred in late 2005 and later. The economic collapse occurred right before the 2008 election, but really it was the Iraq War and its progression that drove politics for most of that cycle.

    A lot can happen in 5 years. Ask Bush, who was looking at a reasonably successful 2nd term at this point in ’05.

    This post assumes that everything stays the same as it is now. What if the middle east blows up? What if there’s some kind of stronger economic rebound? Conversely, what if there’s another banking crisis or recession?

    That said, given the shifts in population over the past 10 years, the electoral college map favors democrats. Not overwhelmingly, but they’re favored. Republicans have two roads to 270 – the 2004 path, which gets them to 292, or winning one of the purplish-blue states that they’ve lost every year since 1992 like Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. The democrats, on the other hand, can get to 270 in a variety of ways, even if they lose Ohio.

  76. Really cool, well-thought-out article. Nice to see a break from the squeamish prognosticators who predict everything but an actual concrete result. Although i will say if the gop gets through 2016 without losing 2010er senate seats (ayotte, portman? Kirk??) i will be highly surprised…

  77. Democrats are in the stronger position now but that, ultimately, is because of the president. Not because he is a brilliant leader or has a stellar record.

    President Obama gets minorities and college kids to the polls. That’s it. That’s his brilliance. He’s looks young. He knows who Jay-Z is.

    In 2008, political watchers saw the primary crowds are realized… “wow, minorities and young people will stand in line for hours to watch Obama speak. Hillary Clinton can’t do this.”

    Most African-Americans may share the same viewpoints as Hillary Clinton or John Edwards but they would not have anywhere near the enthusiasm they had voting for Obama in 2008 and 2012.

    That’s why he is president.

    Also why Republicans won all those seats in 2010. The suburban whites showed up to vote Republicans and the minorities did not show up to vote Democrat. Why? Obama wasn’t up for election. I expect the same trend in 2014, provided Republican primary voters don’t nominate the bat-crazy Tea Party candidates, like they did in Delaware and Nevada.

    Unless another well-packaged minority candidate who exudes the “cool” of Obama wins the Democratic nomination in 2016, the minority vote will not reach the levels for the Democratic side that it did in 2008 and 2012. It will be back at the levels that voted for Kerry or Gore or another rich, white guy who pretends to care about minorities and starts dropping his “g’s” when he speaks at an inner-city church.

    This was the brilliance in Obama running in 2007. He knew that he could truly deliver a voting bloc that Democrats, generally, take for granted. Take that out for 2014 (and 2016) and Democrats are toast.

    • It’s worse that that. Obama barely won re-election even using the IRS to suppress conservative groups — and still lost the House again.

      Obama’s marketing machine is as impressive as his governance is terrible.

  78. Not a chance in Hell:
    1. The economy is improving. Unemployment will be down to around 5-6% by 2016. The deficit is half of what it was in 2008, with an unexpected $100+billion surplus just last month. Stock markets are hitting record highs, we’re on pace to be THE global energy supplier by 2020. The dollar is strong because every other major country is in terrible shape. Obama is not an anti-fracker. The energy boom will continue. We may even see trade
    2. Republicans cannot stop talking about rape and abortion. It is a strange obsession with the party. They lost the women vote by 10 points in 2012. Cutting food stamp programs is not popular with women. There are still a lot of households right at the poverty line who depend on food assistance programs. When Hillary runs, the gender divide will be even more extreme. We saw what happened with blacks in 2008. Women will do the same if they get a chance to make history with a woman president. It won’t be a 90 point edge, like with African American voters, but even a 55-40 gender gap would be unbeatable. Hillary is at least worth a 5 point bump. Realistically, it would be more like 60-40.
    3. The Republican primary process will be as ugly as it was last time, with each candidate trying to out-conservative each other. Romney never really recovered from it. He couldn’t tack back to the center. You can expect a repeat in 2016.
    4. The House’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform will continue to alienate Hispanics and Asians, two of the fastest growing minority groups in the country. The officially sanctioned xenophobia that will be on display in the 2016 Republican primaries will extend the gap even further.
    5. The rabid anti-gay bigotry of the Republican party doesn’t just turn away young voters, it’s repulsive to them. It’s a deal-breaker. Young people have voted in large numbers in the last 2 elections, they’ll continue to vote, and continue to support liberal candidates.

    • 1. The economy is not improving. There are only 58.6% employed now, and in 2007 it was about 63%. It has been flat the whole of Obama’s presidency. It is only because people have stopped looking work that the unemployment rate went down.
      2. Even democrats believe in limits to abortions. Men might vote in greater numbers against Hillary, not because she is a woman but because they do not see her as favorably as women do.
      4. No it won’t. Hispanic voters are already citizens and many do not favor giving all illegal aliens citizenship but they do support a path to citizenship.
      5. I do not think voters in 2016 will be voting based on what the candidate believes about Gay Marriage. There will be bigger issues than that.
      The economy seems to be heading for trouble in the next couple of years as well.

  79. He is only going nuclear on the President’s appointments, not on legislation or judicial appointments and not on lifetime appointments. It’s a very narrow reform.

    • The point, however, is that Reid is trying to make a change–however narrow–in the filibuster rules through a majority vote, rather than by 60 votes. So presumably Republicans can make further changes in the rules (perhaps even abolishing the filibuster entirely) by a simple majority if they have over 50 votes, too. (Actually Republicans might eventually do so anyway, of course–but the Reid precedent would make it easier for them to persuade one or two members of their caucus who otherwise might balk.)

      Personally, I don’t think this should be that big a concern for the Democrats–and not just because I rate the chances of the GOP controlling *both* the presidency and both houses of Congress in 2017 as much less than Megan does. The point is, if that happens, the GOP could find other ways of getting things it wanted done without any change in filibuster rules. For example, they can repeal Obamacare by saying it’s a tax measure–after all, that’s how Roberts upheld it!–not subject to the filibuster. (If the parliamentarian disagrees, they can fire him, as they did Robert Dove in 2001; Dove incidentally has been fired by *both* parties…)

      In fact, I don’t see very many cases historically where the legislative filibuster has helped the Democrats. In 2005, the GOP controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress. Yet partial privatization of Social Security was not defeated by a Democratic filibuster–rather, it never came to a vote in either the House or the Senate because the Republicans evidently felt it was too unpopular.

    • 1. Obama wasn’t even in power in 2007, which was a year before the Great Recession. You might as well be talking about 1807. By every economic measure since the Recession hit, you’re wrong. What, do you think the stock market hitting new record highs is a liberal conspiracy? The falling trade deficits? The surge of the dollar? The increase in home sales? The revitalized car industry (that Obama saved)? The energy boom? Bottom line: the economy is improving. The party in power always benefits.
      2. Men not comfortable with a woman running for president are overwhelmingly conservative. The Democratic party REALLY wants her to run. She might depress the male vote by a couple points. That can’t compensate for women’s enthusiasm over the chance to make history. Hillary is your worst match-up. Only Christie does OK against her, and Christie won’t survive the nominating process. Only “severe conservatives” need apply (remember that one?).
      3. Obama ran on immigration reform and won the Hispanic vote 71-27. That bears repeating: BY OVER 40 POINTS. You’re simply delusional if you think Hispanics have anything but disgust for the GOP right now. The House won’t vote on the Senate immigration bill. Hispanics won’t forget. The spread will be at least 40 points again.
      4. Gay rights are huge for young voters, and it won’t go away. The lunatic (i.e., evangelical) fringe of the GOP will keep fighting gay marriage like they’re already doing (Prop 8 supporters). The Supreme Court will have to rule again, when some Southern state (probably Mississippi) doesn’t recognize California’s marriage laws. Young voters, which Obama won 67-30, will continue to be turned off by GOP bigotry.

  80. I certainly won’t try and “flip you” to my side on this — if I were THAT persuasive, what am I doing here?

    Yet I will address some of your points.

    The economy may be improving – compared to…2009? 2011? Are we certain it will be at 5 or 6% by 2016? I hope so but I would respectfully ask to look at the jobs that are created right now. Service industry, waitstaff, low-level work. Jobs are being created but not careers right now. Major difference. Over the last ten years, the stock market has become less of an indicator as more people are too scared to put money onto Wall Street. If you’re underemployed and making 60% of what you made five years ago, you’re probably not putting money in stocks.

    Abortion remains very important for some of us but I know I’m done fighting that pro-life battle. Can’t really legislate this and people will do what they want. All you can do is offer people information and hope they make the right, yes, choice. Akin and Murdock were right-wingers of the most idiotic order. Add in Delaware and Nevada and that’s four Senate seats that should have been pickups.

    Yet the Democrats will also have their ugliness in play for 2016 as well with their primary. All of the young candidates taking their shots at Mama Hillary.

    I can’t speak for 2016 at this point – too many variables – but, for 2014, unless there is a movement that really inspires people on the left combined with apathy on the right (Iraq in 2006, for example), the mid-terms do not bring out minorities nor young people voting in reliable blocs.

    • You brought up good points. I wasn’t convinced, but I’ll address them:
      1. The economy is improving compared to every year prior to the one we’re in (back to 2008). They are not the best jobs in the world (many low-paying part-time service jobs), but they are jobs. And you’re also forgetting 401k’s. Many people, even without much money, have a 401(k). A rising stock market won’t go unnoticed. If we keep adding 150,000+ jobs a month, we should be around 5.5%-6% unemployment. Not good, but not nightmarish either. And there are careers to be had in this job market. The energy and financial sectors are on fire. Graduates with hard science degrees will have their pick of jobs.
      With an improving economy (and smaller government) comes more tax revenue. If the yearly deficit drops to 1-2% of GDP ($140 billion to $300 billion) by 2016, a major issue will be taken off the table. Tea Partiers won’t flock to the polls.

      2. Even congressional GOP members are disgusted with the abortion fight. The opposition party is supposed to oppose, not paralyze. Repubs want Obamacare gone, fine. Where’s their alternative plan? If you go here (http://www.gop.gov/indepth/pledge/healthcare), the information is two years old. The Republican plan can’t even be called “sketchy”, it’s so incomplete.
      They don’t want to spend money improving infrastructure, OK. 10% of our bridges need repair. How’s that going to happen? Building a border fence is fine, but what is the plan to deal with 10+million illegal immigrants? They’re not going to self-deport. People do not have a favorable view of the GOP right now (36% favorable). God help any GOP candidate coming out of Congress. I’m sure you guys will go with some governor in 2016.

      3. If Hillary throws her hat in (and she will), there won’t be a bruising primary fight on the Democrat side. It will be like when Gore ran- his only challenger was Bill Bradley, and that lasted about two seconds. Gore won every primary.
      The Republican field, on the other hand, is wide-open. Chris Christie is your best bet, but he will have to say some outrageous (read: totally unpopular) things to placate the evangelicals and tea partiers. Even then, he may be too liberal to secure the nomination. It will be 2012 all over again, but worse: the white share of the vote will have dropped another couple of points.

      4. The 15 year old’s today will be voting in 2016. If Republicans keep the “traditional marriage” plank of their platform, they might as well write off young voters for a generation. As I am in my early 20′s, I speak from experience on this. Trust me. The young Republicans I know won’t admit they’re Republicans openly. It’s like telling people about an embarrassing medical condition.

      2014 might go OK for you guys, but I’m predicting small Democrat gains, or we maintain the status quo. An improving economy with reduced deficits will suppress the Tea Party vote. Since nearly all Republican positions on issues are unpopular, putting “wedge issues” on the ballot to get Republicans to show up won’t work like it did in 2006. Conversely, look for Democrats to put popular issues on the ballot to get liberals to turn out: pot legalization and gay marriage (in states that don’t allow it).

      In 2016, you will lose the women vote, the minority vote, and the youth vote. I don’t see any path to victory for Republicans. Old white men doesn’t do it anymore.

  81. What if the economy collapses in 2015 or 2016? I mean the sudden return of the collapse that was contained, but not fixed, in 2008-9. This could heavily favor the Democrats, but only if they have the right candidate. I would expect a massive Democrat primary battle over the issue of how to tackle the Depression. Possibly the same on the Republican side.

    • Why would a collapse favor democrats? They certainly haven’t shown they can fix economic problems. In fact democrats are looked at by many as the party of big spending ( I know the Republicans do it to). I think a collapse would not favor the incumbent party.

    • You don’t know that the economy has been in a state of considerable collapse since last summer. This the reason your President wants more talent from the undocumented immigrant ranks to stimulate growth.

  82. Pingback: Morning Bits
  83. I LOVE seeing overconfidence in the Republican Party. Since they can’t see reality, they get overconfident thinking that everyone hates Obama, the economy, women, minorities, taxes, infrastructure, etc. Tell me, just who is going to vote for Republicans? Not women, Hispanics, the young, workers, and people hoping to retire, that’s for sure. Only the low information voter, and the voter that can be swayed with campaign ads that peddle hatred and fear by Koch Brothers spending are left to fight over. There are not enough angry white men left that can elect Republicans who will stab them in the back with economic policies slanted to benefit the rich at the expense of the working class. That game is over. People have caught on. It’s going to get tougher and tougher for supporters of the Republican Party in the years ahead, not easier.

  84. Hi Megan. Nice new digs. Looking forward to your Bloomberg pieces. Anyway, I think you’re wrong on your calculus. Here’s why: I doubt going all the way back to reconstruction days tells us all that much about what’s likely to happen in 2016. Back then, parties (that is, the GOP) used to hold on to the White House for multiple terms (even four or five terms) with regularity. That became much rarer as we moved into the mid 20th century — after the five term domination of FDR/Truman. Nowadays it seems voters are apt to want a change after two consecutive terms with one party, right? Actually, not so fast: in the three most recent times voters have had the opportunity to give the White House to the same party for a third consecutive term (’88, 2000, 2008), they’ve opted to do so — at least in terms of the popular vote — two out of three. Now, sure, we don’t decide the presidency on the popular vote — I understand that. And for all I know maybe we are entering a period when popular/EC vote splits will be more common. But I doubt it. Winning the popular vote and failing in the Electoral College is still a VERY rare occurrence in American presidential politics. So I’m inclined to think winning three in a row is now — after the long post-war period when it didn’t happen at all — once again not particularly noteworthy. And here’s the thing: the GOP is now ad a decided disadvantage in national elections. Don’t get me wrong: decided disadvantage doesn’t mean “hopeless’ — nor does it mean “eternal.” And if the economy is badly listing in 2016, the Republicans probably will win. But that’s what I reckon it will take: a recession. Because if the economy’s growing, that Democratic advantage in national elections looks tough to beat. (I’m making no predictions about the outcome of congressional elections in the wake of a 2016 win by Hillary or Biden or whomever; it’s required to rebutting your thesis if the Dems take the White House).

  85. Um, that last sentence should read “NOT required….” (trying to get out of here and beat traffic!).

  86. Here’s what’s different now. Every president who followed a president from the other party was shaped by the previous presidency. Nixon, though it’s forgotten, embraced the war on poverty and social programs in a way that no republican would now, he changed to respond to the previous administration. Clinton was more conservtive because he responded to the Reagen era. Kennedy (who barely won) embraced the anti-communism and foreign policy of the previous administration, That “become your enemy” strategy is what worked in all the examples above and anyone with eyes can see it’s not being done now, not in the slightest, Republicans are ensuring that they will look like they stepped out of an 8-year-old time capsule.

  87. “In 2012, out of an incredibly weak field filled with tongue-tied wingnuts, they [GOP] nominated the moderate with the best public policy chops and solid debating skills.” Maybe none of those inarticulate wingnuts got the nod, but they had a huge impact on the nomination process and on Romney the candidate. At one point or another during the primaries these wingnuts each had their moment in the sun as “frontrunner”; Gingrich and Santorum, specifically, put Romney on the defensive with big wins in primaries and caucuses. Bottom line: they pushed Mitt to the right, where he was uncomfortable and had a harder time pivoting back to the center and not seeming like a total fraud. Toxic rhetoric like “self-deportation” might have never found its way into Mitt’s mouth had he felt no need to be constantly proving he was just as far right as the other, less electable guys. No reason to think this won’t play out again in 2016.

    More importantly, though, the author here completely ignores demographics. She makes a one-to-one comparison between what happened in 2000 and what she thinks will happen in 2016, with NO reference whatsoever to the demographic changes in the intervening 16 years. That really close Bush-Gore election of 2000 wouldn’t even be particularly close with a 2016 electorate plugged in, which pretty much neuters her “I think the pendulum is gonna switch back in my direction, cuz it usually does” argument.

  88. I think the Senate analysis is way off. McArdle argues that if Republicans come close to taking the Senate in 2014, then they have a good chance of winning it in 2016. But Republicans are more likely to lose seats than gain them in 2016. Even if Republicans win the presidency, there are several Republican incumbents in states that will likely go Democratic or will be toss-ups. Illinois, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and possibly Iowa, Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina all present possible Senate flips for Democrats regardless of how the presidential election turns out. Republicans have few if any pickup opportunities that cycle.

    To control the Senate in 2016, Republicans would probably have to win it in 2014 by enough seats to offset likely losses in 2016. I’d put that probability alone at way less than 70%.

  89. Rather than calculate the odds of each event, why not look back at McCardle’s predictions, political and otherwise. Based on her track record, there’s almost no way this happens, as she usually confuses predictions with “things I wish would happen,” very much like her mentor, Dick Morris.

    • House elections and presidential elections are apples and oranges. Silver’s analysis is much more grounded in statistical probability and historical fact than Meagan’s….sorry.

  90. the woman who wrote these articles is basically comparing apples and oranges while she blows smoke up her own skirt…please read the words of genius nate silver “the white house is not a metronome” and u will find the harsh truth that she is skewering statistics (karl rove, anyone) to match her theory…emotional propaganda is bullshit on election day….just ask mitt romney…..or u can look no further than roosevelts’ four consecutive election wins…when a president like hoover or bush turns his party into a joke, the opposition party can rule for years…how convenient for the author to forget 1932 thru 1952…and if eisenhower had run as the democrat he actually was we would be looking at 1932 thru 1968 (36 years)……

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