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Richard Goodstein is a Democratic campaign strategist, involved in the Hillary Clinton campaign. Of course, in a world where Carter Page is a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor, it’s difficult to know what that means. Is he just some rando volunteer padding his resume, did he actually get a paycheck from the campaign, or was he one of the inner cabal working to subvert the American electoral process? Who knows?
What we do know is that he’s a frequent talking head on the cable news networks, where he can be counted on to change the subject on a dime, and always reliably parrot the Democratic talking points of the day. I mention him because he’s been selling a particular talking point over the last week or so, a point that I have heard repeated by other Democrats, including a group of Congress critters in the wake of the report from the Office of Inspector General.
Much talk before the election was given to how much better another candidate (insert generic Republican here) would have been doing against Hillary Clinton. Such a debate is of course unnecessary now since Donald Trump has won (bigly even). But, the question still has cropped up if someone else would have done better than Trump has done. Such a question of course is impossible to really answer in any kind of objective way. Too many counterfactuals and possibilities exist to be able to account for them. Yet, one possible option to test this hypothesis, has occurred to me, and I decided to put it to the test.
The Hypothesis: Mitt Romney is the quintessential generic Republican candidate. If he ran again in 2016 vs. Clinton and received all the same votes he did in 2012 would this allow him to beat Clinton if she received all the votes she got in 2016?
The experimental design is very simple. I went on a state-by-state basis comparing in each state the vote totals between Romney in 2012 and Clinton in 2016. Who ever had the most votes won the state (I didn’t factor in the Nebraska and Maine splitting because I was just too lazy to be that detailed). There are numerous problems with this kind of straight-up comparison, the biggest being that it assumes that Romney could not in 2016 get more votes than he got in 2012, that there is no overlap in voters between the two candidates, and that no new voters would turn out to vote for either.
Whenever you have Trump or Sanders types running in primaries, you hear the question “What if they decide to run as an independent?” This is usually uttered with a shudder of terror. “They’ll split the vote!” “The other side will win!” “Egad!” This year, of course, is different. The eccentric candidates in the race might […]
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