Rich has offered several posts regarding his concerns about the electoral map and the ability for the Democratic candidate to prevail in 2008. I am strongly convinced that a Democratic candidate can win and he or she can do it without winning big states like Florida and Ohio.
Here's the math. Assume that all Kerry states go blue again. Let's also say that the Democrat picks up Iowa, New Mexico, and Nevada, all states where Bush won by less than 3%. In this a very plausible scenario (remember that Gore won Iowa and New Mexico in 2000). The Democratic candidate now needs just one more state to prevail-any state. Depending on the candidate, I think that's entirely possible.
If it's Obama, I'd suggest that Colorado might be in play. Colorado is trending blue and Obama is ahead of Clinton there right now in most polls. Obama also potentially puts some southern states with relatively large African-American populations into play. Crazy as it sounds, I think Virginia (especially with Mark Warner on the ticket as a Senate candidate), Georgia, South Carolina, and Arkansas are possibilities.
If it's Hillary, "home state" Arkansas is a very good bet.
Now that McCain looks likely to be the Republican candidate, Bill Richardson's stock as a Dem VP has gone way up. The Southwest is the key to a Democratic victory and Richardson potentially minimizes McCain's advantage in that part of the country.
Of course, a Hillary/McCain matchup might just make the race way too tempting for Michael Bloomberg. If he gets in and gets any traction, I'd put my money on Hillary. Bloomberg could make a serious play for the white male independents that will be critical for McCain. He'll have much less effect on Hillary's core constituencies.
I also think that there's not been much discussion yet about the branding distinctions between McCain and either Democratic candidate. From that angle, an Obama/McCain race is gold for the Democrats-new, fresh, young guy versus old crotchety curmudgeon. The Kennedy mystique thing is in full play. Even if it's Clinton/McCain-the contrast is still rather stark. McCain's age and demeanor will become an issue in the national campaign and it favors the Democrats.
While I by no means think this is easy, there are plenty of ways to get a Democrat in the White House in 2008.
posted by Kevin Stolarick