The Wall Street Journal ran a story today examining what they characterize as the math challenge for Mitt Romney. As we know from our US Civics class – or should know – the actual popular vote for president is relatively irrelevant. What is relevant is how many electoral votes a candidate gets in the Electoral College. The magic number is 270 which equals one-half the number of Congressmen and Senators (with three allotted to the District of Columbia) plus one.
Looking at the starting points for Obama and Romney you get Obama with a base of about 230 electoral votes and Romney with a base of 190 electoral votes. For Obama, this translates into the West Coast, New York, and the Northeast. Meanwhile, Romney can count on Texas, most of the Rockies, the Deep South, and the Plains states.
If Romney carried all the states that George W. Bush won in 2004, he would get 292 electoral votes and have a respectable victory. However, there are nine states that Bush carried that went for Obama in 2008. These swing states are Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada. Romney must get the five largest of these states plus one more if he is to win.
Spot Mr. Romney the five biggest swing states the Democrat won four years ago—Florida, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana—and the Republican still wouldn’t be guaranteed the White House. To win, he would need to also carry at least one other state that went to Mr. Obama four years ago.
That makes Mr. Romney’s path to the White House narrow and perilous, while Mr. Obama has multiple routes to victory, including several that don’t require him to win either Florida or Ohio, the most important battlegrounds of past elections.
Frankly, as a gun owner, American, and taxpayer, the mere thought of a second Obama presidency scares the hell out of me.
I can’t say I’m thrilled with Mitt Romney and he definitely wasn’t my first choice of the Republican candidates and non-candidates. I found his speech at the NRA Annual Meeting’s Leadership Forum to be workmanlike and not exactly inspiring. I think the reaction of those in attendance was similar. Nonetheless, I did vote for Romney last week in the early voting for the North Carolina primary and will be voting for him in November.
In a word, judges. The two big Second Amendment cases, Heller and McDonald, were decided in our favor with 5-4 majorities. If only one of the five were to retire or die and we had a President Obama appointing another Sotomayor or Kagan, our Second Amendment rights could be effectively lost for years to come.
While I, like Sebastian, was disappointed to see Romney put Robert Bork on his justice advisory team, I think that most judges that a President Romney would appoint would be friendlier to the Second Amendment than any judge (or justice) appointed by Obama. I also like that Romney put Alan Gura on his legal advisory team.
I know there are many in the gun rights community who say “a pox on both their houses” and that they plan to sit this one out. I can understand that if you live in California or Texas or Tennessee or Massachusetts or any of the other states that are not in play. However, if you live in a battleground state or one of the states like Pennsylvania or Michigan that could come into play depending on the state of the economy, it is my opinion that you don’t have a choice if you want to protect your gun rights. Any vote not for Romney, whether it is a non-vote or a vote for a third party candidate, is just one less vote that Obama needs to get in order to win that state’s electoral votes.
Six months is a long time and a lot can happen in the meantime. We in the gun rights community cannot relax even for a moment until we hear Chief Justice John Roberts turn to the President-elect on January 20, 2012 and say, “I, Willard Mitt Romney, do solemnly swear…” And then it is our job to keep his feet to the fire on gun rights.