We haven’t done this in shitload of fortnights, but….

I was exploring the outer fringes of the Internet where one risks staring over the edge and into the abyss (AKA Ann Althouse’s blog), I discovered that our Miss McMegan has taken up  residence with a temporary blog until she fails ever upward to a new home and her book, Wrong Just Like Reinhart And Rogoff – But With Words! comes out. And at said blog, McMegan is being all McMegan-y in the ways that have endeared her to us, lo these many years.

Let me set the scene.

Using the broken decimal-points-are-irrelevant-for-my-purposes calculator in her head, she calculates that Republicans have about a 75 percenty-ish chance of taking the White House in 2016 because:

  • Democrats don’t win back-to-back eight-year terms: “Voters just get tired after eight years.”
  • Hillary and Biden are too old.
  • Per Joe Scarborough, who is the Nate Silver of the morning mommy chat shows, Republicans don’t nominate crazy. Sarah Palin? Shut up. Never happened.
  • Republicans will have “…a much more attractive bevy of candidates from which to choose someone electable” Paul? Cruz? Santorum? Perry? Rubio? Trump? Bush III: The Jebbining?

Okeydoke.

Now let’s turn this over to McMegan commenter David T, who goes and gets all mathy-wonky look-at-the-big-brain-on-David-because-he-knows-about-the-electoral-college on McMegan (printed in entirety):

Look, there are 242 electoral votes in states (and the District of Columbia) that have gone Democratic in six presidential elections in a row. Not one of these states was anything like close in 2012–the closest one, Pennsylvania, went for Obama by 5.38 percent. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/lv?key=0AjYj9mXElO_QdHpla01oWE1jOFZRbnhJZkZpVFNKeVE&toomany=true
There is no reason to think that Hillary will do worse than Obama in Pennsylvania–she might not get quite as large a black turnout in Philadelphia, but she will certainly do better than he did in Appalachia, in either 2008 or 2012. (Remember that she won the Pennsylvania Democratic primary in 2008).

To those 242 electoral votes, I think we have to add New Mexico and Nevada as Democratic-leaning states. New Mexico went for Obama in 2012 by more than ten points, Nevada by 6.68 percent (despite its having one of the worst-hit economies in the nation over the past four years). Moreover the Hispanic vote in Nevada is increasing, and the Republicans sure don’t look like they’re doing anything to increase their percentages with that group. So add New Mexico and Nevada, and we have eleven more electoral votes for Hillary–which brings her to 253.

Florida alone would easily be enough to bring her over 270 electoral votes . And recent polls have shown her substantially defeating every GOP candidate, *including Rubio and Jeb Bush* in Florida. (Not that either Rubio or Jeb Bush is likely to be nominated anyway, given the conservative backlash against their views on immigration.) http://www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute/florida/release-detail?ReleaseID=1910 (Note that this poll was conducted *after* the Benghazi hearings.) With the Hispanic vote rapidly increasing in Florida, the GOP’s position on immigration could hurt more than in any other state. And Hillary’s showing among Jewish and/or elderly voters in Florida is likely to be higher than Obama’s in 2012. (This is one state where attacks on her age are sure to backfire.)

But even if she loses Florida, there are all sorts of other paths to victory for Hillary. Ohio alone would bring her over the top–and is another state where she did better than Obama in the 2008 primary, and would probably do better than Obama among white voters sufficiently to overcome any drop in black turnout. (Incidentally, polls show she is very popular among African Americans, despite the heated primaries of 2008. So especially with Obama campaigning for her in 2016, the drop in African American turnout may not be very substantial.) Or she could lose both Ohio and Florida and still win if she carries Virginia and New Hampshire–*or* Colorado and Iowa and New Hampshire: all five of those states voted for Obama by at least 3.88 percent in 2012, most by considerably more (And Colorado isn’t going to be any less Hispanic in 2016 than it was in 2012.) In short, it seems to me, based on polls, past election results, and demographic trends, it is the Republicans who will have an uphill struggle for the White House in 2016 (absent a total economic collapse of course–I’m not ruling that out, but I don’t think it’s wise for the GOP to count on it). Their chances of controlling both the White House *and* the Senate in 2017 look to me more like 30 percent *at best* than 70 percent (at least if Hillary runs).

As for the age argument–it didn’t hurt Reagan. Dole and McCain lost because the economy was good in 1996 and terrible in 2008, not because of their age. As for the “people want a change of parties after eight years”–not only wasn’t it true in 1988, it also wasn’t true so far as the *popular* vote was concerned in 2000 and, arguably, 1960 (which in any event was a recession year). And in 2016, unlike 2000, the Electoral College will favor the Democrats in case of a close race. Also, unlike 2000 there will be no equivalent of the Nader candidacy–what happened that year has soured the Left on third-party candidacies for at least a generation.

….aaaand here is McMegan’s response to all that high-falutin’ researching and demographic hoo-haw, with the usual McArdle la-di-dah, “such is blogging” kiss-off:

I agree that age didn’t hurt Reagan, but 1) he looked preternaturally young and 2) men in general age better than women. You know that weird thing where women in movies and TV play the mothers of men who are only a few years younger than they are? It’s terrible, but the fact that it works tells you something about how the public perceives age and gender.

Moreover, we now know, as we didn’t before, that Reagan shouldn’t have been elected; he clearly had early Alzheimer’s in his second term. Don’t think no one will mention that.

At some point, we’re just going to end up arguing to argue, because you can always pick things that bolster your case. As I’ve tried to say, I’m far from certain I’m right–it’s a guess. But I will say I think structuralist accounts of the GOP’s demise are overblown. Ten years ago, the Democrats were looking like a permanent minority party to a lot of people . . . which makes me skeptical of similar accounts.

Ah yes, the Megan McArdle “I’m not convinced” parry.

The classics never go out of style…