(Note: I originally posted this entry on my Yahoo! GeoCities blog on November 4, 2008.)
When this year started, I would have been content with Sen. John McCain as the Republican nominee for President. I have contended for years that the grave injustice of that election year was the GOP nomination of George W. Bush over McCain, not the dimpled or hanging chads or whatever else took place in Florida in the 2000 Presidential election. As 2008 progressed, however, I have seen a McCain who looked more and more like he would be a continuation of the last eight execrable years.
One particular ad that aired earlier this year stood out very much for me: It quoted both Bush and McCain saying "The fundamentals of America's economy are strong," then played back both simulataneously to show that even the tone of voice was the same. In the meantime, the fundamentals of the American economy are not strong; they have changed for the worse over the last few decades. The USA, once a great manufacturing country, now imports far more than it produces. The rich have gotten richer (usually by breaking rules, abusing loopholes or abusing power), the poor are no better off, and the middle class is being killed off. (Note: I'm not blaming this entirely on the Republicans; the point here is that the statement, "The fundamentals of America's economy are strong," is wrong.)
The last three Democratic presidents all came from Southern states (Lyndon Johnson, 1963-1969, Texas; Jimmy Carter, 1977-1981, Georgia; and Bill Clinton, 1993-2001, Arkansas). In the last four elections where the Democratic candidate was from the north (1972, 1984, 1988, 2004), that candidate did not win a single Southern state. An Obama victory would mark the first time that a Democratic candidate from outside the South won the Presidential election since John F. Kennedy (Massachusetts) in 1960. Such a victory would thus prove that the Democrats can win the White House without despite a lack of support in the South (or, for that matter, without resorting to a candidate from that area).
As far as the Electoral College goes, I predict it as follows: Obama 322, McCain 216. The main difference between this election and the 2004 one is that Obama will win several states that John Kerry did not (Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, and Virginia). But otherwise, I figure that the Southern states will remain red, as will most of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain states.
Ohio is a microcosm of the whole country: The north is more urban and Democratic and is suffering from the same manufacturing job losses as the rest of the Rust Belt; the south is more rural and Republican. Also, in each of the last 11 elections, the winner of Ohio's electoral votes has also won the Presidency (the last one to win without carrying Ohio was, once again, JFK).