The West Wing Election
I've started getting interested in The West Wing again. The Bartlett administration is coming to an end and so the focus of the show has switched to the 2006 Presidential Election. It looks like campaign will come down to Republican Senator Vinick from California (played by Alan Alda) vs. Texas Democrat Rep. Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits).
Although the show's creators claim that they don't even know who will win the election, I'm sure they'll have the Democrat win, if for no other reason than that it will allow them to keep lots of their current characters on the canvas.
After crunching the numbers in a real Presidential election, I found it fascinating to read some fans' take on this mythical election. They seem to think that Santos could realistically win, even if he lost California, because he'd pick up Texas & Florida.
This spurred me into action. I went to the trusty Electoral College Calculater at WSJ's Opinion Journal and plugged in some numbers. Starting from the 2004 results, switching Texas and California and adding Florida to the Dems' column would still result in a 280-258 Republican victory. In fact, assuming California is lost, for Santos to win he would have to take all of the Kerry states, plus Texas, Florida and either Nevada & Arizona or Arizona & New Mexico.
There's certainly a case to be made that, as an hispanic, that's a reasonable scenario. However, Sen. Vinick is portrayed as something of a moderate, likeable guy. Given that Bush nearly won (or did win) Wisconsin, I think Vinick could take the state. Also, as a west coaster, he'd be far more competitive in Oregon & Washington. And I won't even get into the fact that only one sitting member of the House of Representatives (James Garfield) has ever been elected President.
I've no doubt that the 2006 election will be a nail biter, but I just have a hard time believing that Santos really has the numbers.
Posted by at February 20, 2005 06:55 PM
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|# March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM Converted_Comment|
OK, but Vinick is a sitting Senator, right? The track record for sitting Senators in Presidential races is not good either.....
|# April 9th, 2006 5:53 PM johnu|
|Only Warren Harding and John Kennedy went directly from the Senate to the Oval Office. That makes a grand total of 3 out of 43 who have made the leap directly from the Legislative Branch to run the Executive. Makes you wonder why either of the major parties continues to nominate legislators. |