Plot your candidate’s path to great victory! How I’m running it right now: start with the year pulldown (north of Lake Ontario) at 2008 and the starting view (south of the Gulf of Mexico) at “2008 swing states.” Now swing the states you think your candidate will swing. For extra fun, if you’re trying to swing the election blue, as I am, give yourself an additional handicap: presume OH & FL as incontrovertibly red. (And don’t get your damn undies twisted about this handicap, either, it’s just a game.) So your job is to swing enough states blue to get to 270.
How I reached the promised land: first I swung Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin all blue. Not so tough there; all of these appear in the map view you can select by toggling “2004 very close.” Per our ground rules here, I gave PA & OH to McCain, and then I did the same with Florida and Michigan: lost causes this year for the Democrats, I’d guess. (NB: how one feels about this isn’t at issue here.) Swing Colorado to McCain (ouch, I know, but let’s be honest), New Mexico to Obama (hopeful, I know, but Richardson will be campaigning nonstop and has pull with the voters there). Now let’s get a little bolder and swing Virginia to Obama, and, hoping as hard as we can, do the same with Nebraska. Give NJ to Obama, the whole state’s sick to death of the GOP.
What’s left? North Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Missouri. If McCain’s anti-immigrant politics impacted Nevada, the state’s income would suffer, and everybody there knows it. Swing Nevada blue. I live in North Carolina, and the western part of the state’s going to vote McCain, but the population surge in Raleigh and in the Triangle (and probably in the Triad for all I know) has been huge and the governor’s a fairly well-liked Democrat. I’m marking it blue.
Now swing New Hampshire, who’s voted Democrat the last four elections in a row. That puts the tally at D-264 and R-263, and leaves Missouri as-yet unswung.
I think I speak for all current and former Iowans when I say that if the 2008 election comes down to Missouri, I’m going to stay drunk for the rest of the decade.