I'm still trying to contain my laughter about this comment by DJ Drummond on Wizbang Classic:
But states with heavy military populations, are truly wild cards, and if the Democrats' war-hate gamble fails, states like California could flip and make the [Presidential] race a laugher for the Republican. If Petraeus is believed by the average American, the Democrat will not be supported in the election. So they fear him, because the consequences of their decision are more ominous for their personal egos than they ever imagined possible.
We would have to take a very wild leap of the imagination to believe that the Republican Presidential candidate has a chance at taking California in 2008. John Kerry trounced the incumbent George W Bush by a crushing 1.2 million votes in 2004. Al Gore's margin was similar in 2000 and Bill Clinton's was about twice as large in the two prior elections.
There are about 1.4 million people in all branches of the US military combined. I'm unable to find an exact breakdown of military population by state but let's assume a high end estimate that 50% of the military lives in California (it's more likely around 25%). That gives us 700,000 people. Then we would have to consider that voter turnout for any group of voters is typically around 50% or even lower. That would be about 350,000 military votes.
Even if we stretch the argument and assume that every single one of those California military votes goes for the Republican they would still be about 850,000 votes in the hole using the 2004 results as a base. And remember, the Republican was the incumbent in 2004. There won't be any incumbent running in 2008.
Drummond also makes that argument that "if Petraeus is believed by the average American" the Democrats will be in trouble. Well, I am happy to burst that bubble as well. In an earlier post I cited a CBS poll that showed 62% of the public refusing to buy Petraeus' argument that the surge is improving the situation in Iraq. The only people who believe Petraeus are the same narrow-minded and rigid 30% of people who have been buying the neoconservative crapola about Iraq for the last 6 years. The rest of us were unmoved.
Another huge problem for Republicans in California is the fact that 35% of the population is Hispanic. These voters have been deserting the Republicans in droves as explained by this Newsweek article:
In 2004, Bush got about 40 percent of that bloc--a high that largely resulted from an intense courtship by Bush and the now departed strategist Karl Rove. Yet in the 2006 midterms--held after a caustic immigration debate in Congress--GOP candidates got only 30 percent of that vote. Polls this year show Latino support for Republicans at similarly depressed levels. That doesn't bode well for the party, since Hispanic registered voters should hit 11.4 million in '08, compared with 7.5 million in '00, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). Moreover, they live in swing states like Nevada, New Mexico and Florida, where they could determine an outcome. "I am worried," Rove told reporters after leaving the White House in August. "You cannot ignore the aspirations of the fastest-growing minority in America."
While the wingnuts were popping the corks on their champagne bottles after defeating President Bush's immigration reform, Latinos across the country were quietly deciding that maybe the Republican Party didn't want them after all. This will create a particularly difficult problem for Republicans in the state of California next time around, and could also hurt them in the states mentioned above.
A socially liberal candidate like Rudy Giuliani could make the state somewhat more competitive, but I doubt that would be enough to overcome the strong and rising anti-Republican bias in the state. Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger did win the governorship of California but he is a liberal on many issues, has unparalleled star power, and faced particularly weak Democratic opponents.
Trust me on this one. California is not in play in 2008.
Update: In the comments Lee Ward has figures that show total military personnel in California (including reserves) of 212,000. Assuming 50% turnout that's 106,000 votes. That still leaves the Republicans with a 1 million vote deficit to overcome to put California in play. Good luck with that. I'm sure the Latinos will be turning out in droves for you guys.
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