Let’s be serious for a moment.
(Crossposted at MyDD)
What is John McCain’s path to victory? Does he even have one? If you look at Pollster.com’s state of the race, you’ll see that the numbers currently stand at 260 EVs for Obama, 179 for McCain, and 99 tossup. In order to win the election, a candidate must have at least 270 electoral votes. In other words, out of the 99 tossup EVs, Obama needs 10, while McCain needs 91.
It isn’t completely hopeless for John McCain, though. Let’s examine how he might win this election.
First, let’s lay down a ground rule. We’re trying to figure out how McCain can get to 270–for the sake of this exercise, presume that a tie favors Obama. It’s rather more complicated than that, but since 270 is the measuring stick consistently applied to Obama, we’ll apply it equally to McCain.
Now, there are four states that would singlehandedly win Obama the election. Those are Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio. Thus:
STEP 1: John McCain must win Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio.
There is also one state that would singlehandedly get Obama to 269, which would dash McCain’s chances for 270, namely Colorado. So:
STEP 2: John McCain must win Colorado.
Presuming victories in all of these states, the race would stand at 263 for McCain, 260 for Obama, with 15 up for grabs. McCain still needs to scrounge up 7 EVs–meaning he has to win either New Hampshire or Nevada, or he cannot get to 270. Therefore:
STEP 3: John McCain must win either New Hampshire or Nevada.
Let’s be generous and give McCain the larger of the two states, Nevada. He now has 268 EVs to Obama’s 260–ever so close! Any one of the remaining states will do. Finally:
STEP 4: John McCain must win one of Montana, North Dakota, or New Hampshire.
So as we can see, things aren’t hopeless for John McCain. Why, he has several paths to victory:
- Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire
- Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, Montana
- Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, North Dakota
- Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, New Hampshire, Montana
- Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, New Hampshire, North Dakota
This is obviously great news for John McCain. Especially when you compare it to Obama’s measly list of paths to victory:
- North Carolina
- Colorado, Montana
- Colorado, North Dakota
- Colorado, New Hampshire
- Colorado, Nevada
- Nevada, New Hampshire, Montana
- Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota
- Nevada, Montana, North Dakota
- New Hampshire, Montana, North Dakota
…wait, what was the point I was trying to make again? You kids get off my lawn!