Malcolm freely admits his take on US politics is largely that of the East Coast (or what’s left of it, after Sandy came visiting). So David Horsey and the Los Angeles Times may be book-marked, but are not on his regular reading list often enough.
Which is a fault.
So Horsey’s political commentary last weekend only now comes over Malcolm’s horizon. And it is as good a quick-and-easy summary as one could wish:
If you live in Ohio, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are giving you a lot of love. But if you reside in California or Alabama, you may feel neglected and ignored by the candidates for president. Like parents in a big, noisy family, all their attention goes to the troublesome kids, not the compliant, quiet ones.
There has never been much doubt that states such as California, New York, Massachusetts and Washington would give their electoral votes to the president, and no doubt that Romney could depend on states such as Alabama, South Carolina, Texas and South Dakota to be solidly in his camp. All but about 10 states lined up months ago for one candidate or the other. Now it looks as if the number of states still up for grabs has dropped to seven.
As a result, there is really not a national campaign going on. All the effort and money for many weeks has been focused on voters in the swing states. Since, under the U.S. Constitution, the electoral vote, not the popular vote, determines who will sit in the Oval Office, and since the winner in each state takes all of that state’s electoral votes (with Nebraska and Maine being the two outliers where there is a possibility of splitting the vote), a presidential election really amounts to 50 distinct elections.
He presents us with an unpalatable truth:
With as many as 43 of those 50 elections already decided, the real campaign is happening in just the remaining seven. That means any regional concerns folks in California or Alabama might have can be ignored by the contenders, who do all of their pandering in Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Iowa and the few other places that have the potential to pick the winner.
He blames this limited focus on the workings of the electoral college, on polling and on marketing. End of story, except he presents it neatly:
If you are a single female, living in Pasadena, working at a university, driving a Prius, shopping atWhole Foods, watching “The Daily Show,” reading books by Anne Tyler, listening to music by k.d. lang and vacationing in Rome, the Romney campaign does not need to waste time trying to get your vote. If you are a male, living in Tuscaloosa, managing an auto parts store, attending a Foursquare Gospel church twice a week and listening to Toby Keith in your Dodge Ram pickup as you drive into the countryside for a day of deer hunting, the Obama campaign is not likely to spend a cent on you.
All palpably true. Then he dresses it all up in a cartoon pastiche that would fit the New Yorker to a tee:
And very nice too.