Presidential Campaign 2016: The Five Key Battleground States

The major surprise: Ohio (18 electoral votes), a state normally perceived to be a must-win for the GOP in presidential races, isn’t one of these five battleground states.

Obama’s auto bailout was of great short-term benefit to the Ohio economy, although I believe it will be counter-productive in the long run. The President and the Democrats are credited with the present healthy economy in Ohio by the electorate in the Buckeye State. The GOP presidential nominee, most likely Jeb Bush, will make a major effort to win Ohio, but it will be a very difficult uphill battle.

Another factor working for the Democrats in their efforts to retain Ohio in their 2016 presidential column is the increasing likelihood that their national convention will be held in Columbus, Ohio. The Republicans, in their efforts to win the state, have already designated Cleveland as their 2016 national convention site.

As my readers know, I am a lover of Brooklyn. Although I am a Republican, I was hopeful that the Democrats would designate Brooklyn and in particular, the Barclays Center as the convention site, because I wanted the entire nation to become aware of the remarkable urban revival that is taking place in Brooklyn.

Unfortunately, due to the tragic murder of the two police officers in Brooklyn this past weekend and the emerging image of Brooklyn resident and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio as a left wing extremist, I believe that the chances of Brooklyn being designated as the convention site have been significantly reduced – and that Hillary Clinton and her supporters will oppose Brooklyn as the convention location, despite the fact that De Blasio served in the Bill Clinton administration.

As Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA, I worked directly with Hillary Clinton, the almost certain 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and actually have a fairly high regard for her. She is a smart, pragmatic person who will win the Democratic nomination and will be the favorite to win the White House. She is emphasizing that she is CENTER-left, and I am sure she does not want a convention where, as the host mayor, Bill De Blasio welcomes the delegates and gives the Democratic Party a left wing extremist face, even for five minutes.

Furthermore, the Democrats have to fear that a Brooklyn convention will be a site for demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, with the potential of violence like the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention. This is another reason why Hillary’s forces on the convention site selection committee will ensure that Brooklyn is not selected as the convention site. The remaining two choices are Columbus, Ohio and Philadelphia, and given the fact that the Democrats have easily carried Pennsylvania in the last six elections, Columbus, Ohio is the more logical choice.

Given the uphill battle that the GOP faces in Ohio, Republicans have to develop an alternative route to win the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the White House. Mitt Romney won 24 states with 206 electoral votes in 2012, and it is a safe bet that the 2016 GOP nominee will win all of these states. In order for the 2016 GOP presidential nominee then to win the necessary 270 electoral votes without Ohio, the most feasible path to victory would be for him or her to carry all the following five states, with 71 electoral votes:

Florida (29), Virginia (13), Wisconsin (10), Minnesota (10), Colorado (9).

Accordingly, these are your five Battleground States for 2016. Again, the GOP nominee has to carry all five to win, while the Democratic nominee has to carry only one.

Now let me engage in futurology and speculate how the status of these states as battleground could affect the selections of running mates by Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, if they are nominated by their respective parties.

Hillary Clinton only has to win one of these five states to win the White House. She has an ideal running mate to win Virginia in former governor and current U.S. Senator Tim Kaine.

In my view, Tim Kaine is a political superstar. He is an excellent campaigner, whose positions are center-left. Kaine has virtually no significant baggage. In fact, I’ll go on the record now and predict that if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic presidential nominee, she will select Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate.

Jeb Bush has different considerations. He will be favored to win his home state of Florida, but he needs a running mate who can help him carry the two Midwestern battleground states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Here, the logical choice is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. In fact, in my next column, I speculate that Walker may already be positioning himself to be Jeb Bush’s running mate.

My readers may feel that in this column, I am taking futurology to an absurd extreme. Futurology, however, is what makes politics fun. Happy Holidays!

Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush. He currently serves on the political science faculty of Monmouth University. Presidential Campaign 2016: The Five Key Battleground States