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Friday, June 20, 2008

The geographic argument for Palin

Our argument has always been that Sarah Palin should be on the ticket for two reasons. First and foremost, she is one of the nations toughest and gutsiest leaders; and secondly, she can appeal to broad demographics across the country. However, we now have a third argument, a geographic one, that flies in the face of the "but she's from Alaska!" criticism. Now, to be clear, this site maintains the position that geography should be at best a secondary concern in the selection of a running mate. However, I think it is important to show that even geography is now arguing for Palin.

Yesterday, Barack Obama launched his first TV ad of the general election. It is running in 17 states, mostly traditional battlegrounds. However, he is also targeting three traditionally red states in the Northwest: Alaska, Montana, and North Dakota. If you recall, the Obama campaign recently asserted that they could win the election without winning Ohio or Pennsylvania, and now we know what they were thinking. Obama is planning to to pick off the small, red-leaning states where he won the Democratic caucuses and McCain lost the GOP caucuses to Mitt Romney. Hence, a Northwestern running mate is needed to solidify McCain's hold on these states.

Furthermore, one of the bigger surprises of this campaign has been the fact that McCain could have a slim lead in traditionally blue Michigan. A Northern running mate could definitely help him protect that lead. Another interesting poll shows that McCain could take Minnesota if he selects Bobby Jindal as his running mate. Palin and Jindal are often lumped together as up-and-coming reformers, but Palin is also a Northerner. Hence, it is not a stretch to think that a McCain-Palin ticket would outperform even a McCain-Jindal ticket, putting Minnesota solidly in the Republican column.

It really boils down to this: Governor Palin knows how to speak the language of the Northern U.S. She calls herself a "hockey mom", not a "soccer mom"; and her strong Alaskan accent bears great similarity to Minnesotan, Dakotan, and Michigander accents. I realize that this sounds petty, but petty issues often affect the way people react to a candidate; and Palin can personally relate to Northerners in a way that most other candidates (especially the Southwestern McCain) cannot.

So, while geography has been used to agrue against a Palin nomination, the changing electoral map now makes a strong agument in her favor.


Anonymous said...

You're right to play up the connection that Palin has with the hockey moms of Minnesota. Hockey is big in Alaska, but it is even bigger in Minnesota. Here's a link to an article about hockey in Minnesota:

"In the United States, Minnesota truly is the "State of Hockey." In no other American state is hockey so ingrained in the community and in the minds of its residents."

What I'm driving at is people like to vote for someone who is like them and Alaska has a lot in common with Minnesota.

Anonymous said...

I don't buy the notion that mccain is going to pick someone other than Palin. He's too smart. He knows she's the only way he can easily win. he can still win w/o her but not comfortably. Picking Sarah would guarantee mccain keeps everything that w won in 04. Except maybe new mex and iowa. But he'd add nh, mn.

Rob Harrison said...

Very interesting . . . I'm going to have to bounce this one to my (Michigander born and bred) father-in-law, who's been booming Palin for VP since before McCain clinched the nomination; he'll get a kick out of it.

Incidentally, I don't know if you came back to the comments on this post, but I did say that I'd be happy to be added to your list of endorsements.

Anonymous said...

In view of the significant campaign money-advantage which Team Obama reportedly has over McCain, here's another REAL IMPORTANT reason for Veep Palin (which I haven't really seen emphasized yet in terms of money). That is, Palin is going to generate oodles and oodles of publicity because of all the human interest aspects to her story -- media coverage, interest and reporting worth millions and millions of dollars -- really free to the McCain campaign. This MUST be factored in. I would go so far as saying Palin single-handedly will offset Obama's money advantage!

Also as I previously mentioned, Palin is "loved" by the Club for Growth which is in a position to make very substantial ad-buys (otherwise, according to reports, could be withheld due to its reservations about McCain).

Anonymous said...

Palin clip on the M-Group tonight. Talking about oil.

Anonymous said...

Mac Pick Palin Veep BEFORE Hil Campaigns w/Obama!

In addition to her overwhelming attraction on the oil/energy issue and the female/disaffected Hillary voters, her human interest story will generate millions and millions of dollars worth of publicity and media coverage — essentially free to the McCain campaign — more than offsetting Obama’s reported money advantage.

Anonymous said...

Jack is pushing Palin again.

Anonymous said...

They say McCain reads the blogs, so here goes --

Senator McCain- Don't let the campaign kibbitzers muddle things up.

First and foremost, Sarah Palin shares your values. She killed the bridge to nowhere. Need we say more?

As for the politics, Sarah Palin transcends geography. Her constituency, like yours, goes beyond state lines.

She will get your ticket access to voters all over the country based on who she is and what she stands for. Because she's young, a woman, a mother with young kids, she will grab media attention more than any other potential candidate.

Gov. Palin also has a son in the active duty military. You have very wisely taken your son's service in Iraq off the table as a campaign talking point. That is and should be respected. But others can talk about it and reflect on what it means.

A McCain-Palin administration would be the first in memory which has family members in uniform during wartime from both the President and Vice President. That would be a powerful statement as to the importance of national service, especially in uniform.

Most importantly, any Vice President should be ready to step up and serve in the event she is needed. Frankly, who is really ever ready? Gov. Palin is as ready as anybody, she is a quick learner, and in her public career has exhibited the courage and decisiveness needed for a great leader.

Godspeed to you in your campaign and in making this important decision.

SMatthewStolte said...

Any evidence Sarah can raise money? Obama currently has a fundraising advantage of 3:1.

Anonymous said...

I'm unsure if the Pacific Northwest would go for an Alaskan VP. The two regions are quite distinct, actually. I'd even go so far as to say that many Alaskans feel they have more in common with Hawai'i than with someone from, say, Oregon.

Unknown said...

Sarah Palin does not have an 'Alaskan' accent. Her accent is similar to accents in the northern midwest, but the typical Alaskan speaks like a Washingtonian or Oregonian.