As part of my mission to remind as many people as possible why 2016 is the most important election of our lifetime, I put together a list of five things you need to know now about an election that won’t take place for 16 more months.
Of course, I start with the Supreme Court because it’s always about the Supreme Court, especially when Republicans are on a verge of building a partisan Court majority as large as seven seats.
My second point is more optimistic. It comes from a tweet from former Obama administration senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer drawing attention to this quote from a recent article by Dan Balz in which Marco Rubio’s pollster makes his case for Marco Rubio:
Based on estimates of the composition of the 2016 electorate, if the next GOP nominee wins the same share of the white vote as Mitt Romney won in 2012 (59 percent), he or she would need to win 30 percent of the nonwhite vote. Set against recent history, that is a daunting obstacle. Romney won only 17 percent of nonwhite voters in 2012. John McCain won 19 percent in 2008. George W. Bush won 26 percent in 2004.
Since the election comes down to a handful of states, Republicans need to massively outperform their 2012, 2008 and 2004 numbers with minorities or they’ll have no chance of winning Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin… Or else, they’ll be struggling to keep North Carolina, Arizona and Georgia — unless they can pull off a Reagan-like performance with white voters.
Democrats definitely start off with the advantage here, but I would not discount the Republicans, who will do a far better job of outreach than they did in 2012. Mostly because they can’t do any worse.
Rubio’s pollster believes Rubio could pull off this miracle because he’s the voice of younger Republicans whose greatest fear in life is that gay people will pay them to do what they do for a living. This fascinating profile of Jeb’s long grift and intractable politics of the former governor makes the case that El Jeb is even better candidate to sway Latino voters.
I would not discount Jeb. He’s the most flawed frontrunner in recent Republican history, but he’s also canniest candidate in the bunch and will have more money than any primary candidate ever. And Bushes will do anything to win. The taint of his brothers still-steaming pile of a presidency and Jeb’s own bumbling and condescension to his party’s base are a lot to overcome. But there an endless series of variables that could shake the fundamentals of the next election — terrorist attacks, energy crises, a horrible Supreme Court decision, some scandal that sticks.
The ultimate variable is the economy, which matters more than any debate, speech or fundraising total. If it’s growing moderately well, Democrats — as the incumbent party — are in good shape. If not, trouble.
One thing to keep in mind is we’re due for trouble, as The Week‘s Ryan Cooper points out in this post about why the Fed should have done more to support the economy:
Postwar economic expansions have lasted an average of 58 months; this one is currently at 72 months and counting. Wall Street has largely returned to the size and profitability of the pre-crisis years. Another asset bubble is coming, sooner or later.
We’re 16 months out, I know. We can’t control the economy. But we can make sure the electorate resembles America. Because when that happens, Republican lose.
[Image by DonkeyHotey | Flickr]