Saturday, May 24, 2008

Does McCain Need A Young Catholic Running-Mate?

Does John McCain need to pick a fairly young Catholic as his running-mate? Let’s take the affirmative case.

Barack Obama is vulnerable amongst numerous demographics.

White, working-class males--as Hillary Clinton has recently made clear. McCain has much less vulnerability here.

Seniors. McCain should have no problem there.

Catholics. This one is key. The Rev. Wright controversy and Obama’s lack of experience have many Catholics still unsure of him. McCain has made inroads amongst Catholics. And Catholics have backed Clinton heavily in the primaries.

Hispanics. McCain has a good base here, and many Hispanics are also Catholic and/or Independents. Hispanics are also a key voting demographic in places like New Mexico.

Independents. This one is also key. Many Independents are Catholic and make up significant percents of the electorate in key states like Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Women. But only if McCain can legitimately appeal to them, and not with just a token female running-mate.

Swing States. This is where it all comes together; where the above-mentioned groups often determine which way the state goes.

Let’s look more in depth at Catholics.

Catholics helped propel Clinton to victory in Pennsylvania. Clinton won overwhelmingly amongst Catholic Democrats in Ohio. She won them handily in New Mexicoas well, when Bill Richardson was on the ballot.

In Virginia:

“Catholic voters, partisan or not, have been a swing group in American elections for quite some time, but in Virginia, they have remained fairly conservative. According to exit polls, Virginia Catholics voted for Bush in 2000 by a 24-point margin when overall results in the state had an 8-point margin and in 2004 gave the president a 27-point margin compared to the 9-point margin he earned statewide.

It will be interesting to watch whether their shift towards Webb in 2006 holds or if they return to the Republican party in 2008. “ (Washington Post)
These are “Reagan Democrats”. Potentially, these are McCain Democrats and McCain Independents.

If McCain can gain and maintain seven to ten more points or more of headway amongst a mix of Catholic and independents--something he is well poised to do, this will make him very tough to beat in November.

McCain also needs someone young, but preferably more experienced than Barack Obama, so as to balance out McCain's age but not undercut one of the key arguments against Obama.

I can’t think of anyone who fits both criteria though. A young George Pataki, a Bobby Jindal with more experience, a John Boehner with less baggage. John Hoeven, apparently the long-serving Governor of North Dakota, is a fairly young Catholic who seems similar in policy to McCain, but whom no one has ever heard of. Oh, and he’s got to lose the mustach.

Perhaps another combination of demographics would yield more or more promising results but still bring John McCain as close to victory?

Melissa Hart is a young, Catholic Republican with strong credentials, who has shown strong leadership in the House of Representatives, and was the first woman in history to represent Pennsylvania at the federal level.

Wikipedia has the following to say about Hart:

“Hart herself was described in media accounts as a "rising star" in Republican politics, who had never lost an election and who had demonstrated a unique ability to appeal to non-conservative voters even while maintaining a generally conservative voting record.”

No name recognition, but...???


-The Analyst


Post a Comment

<< Home

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!