How can Romney win?

Click here to listen to the broadcast of Decision 2012 with Paul Gleiser, Monday, May 29, 2012.

Later tonight (Tuesday, May 29), Mitt Romney will win the much delayed Texas primary and in so doing will officially reach the requisite delegate total for becoming the Republican nominee for president.

What’s that you say, you haven’t seen or heard a single commercial for Mitt Romney all through this protracted primary season? Well, of course you haven’t. He hasn’t run any and he never will.

Neither Romney nor Obama is likely to spend a dime in Texas between now and November. That’s because the battle is not for your vote. The battle is for electoral votes and toward that end, the state of Texas is settled for both Obama and Romney, which is to say Romney is going to win Texas’s 38 electoral votes and Obama knows it. Neither will spend a minute of precious time or a dollar of precious money in Texas.

There are 50 states in the union but the presidential action in 2012 will be concentrated in just twelve of them, from which Romney will need to execute what Karl Rove, the chief strategist for the two George W. Bush campaigns, calls the “3-2-1 Plan.”

The “3-2-1 Plan” works like this.

First, Romney must win the 21 states that John McCain carried in 2008, including winning the one electoral vote out of Nebraska’s five that got peeled off for Obama because of the fact that Nebraska is one of two states, the other being Maine, that can apportion its electoral votes.

Then, he must recapture three historically Republican states of North Carolina, Indiana and Virginia. Of these three, North Carolina and Indiana are moving sharply toward Romney. That allows the Romney campaign to focus on just one of the three, Virginia.

Assuming that Romney can win these three states, he then moves to the two states that have decided every recent presidential election, namely Ohio and Florida. Both states will be hard fought but both are winnable for Romney.

Assuming success on this two state front, Romney must win any one of New Hampshire, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada or New Mexico.

All eyes will be on Wisconsin on June 5. That’s when Republican governor Scott Walker faces a recall election arising from his legislative success against the state’s public employee unions. As goes that recall, so go Wisconsin’s ten electoral votes according to many watchers. As of last week, the polls have Scott Walker up by as many as 12 points against his recall challenger, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett.

Thus, assuming that Wisconsin is the “one state,” the electoral map looks as it does at the top of this post, with Romney winning the electoral college with 276 votes to Obama’s 262.

So, watch what happens in these twelve states. They will determine whether Romney upsets the incumbent or whether President Obama gets another four year term.

Editor’s note: It’s easy to play your own “what if” scenarios with respect to the Electoral College.  Go to the map as we have constructed it here. Then, make changes on a state-by-state basis to play out your own Electoral College scenarios. Thanks to 270towin. com.

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