No matter which political party you may associate your self with, it is clear John McCain has a very serious problem. Real Clear Politics has Senator Obama ahead of Senator McCain by 3 points nationwide, 45.2 to 42.2. While these polls give us a clear sense of where the country is and may be, unfortunately we do not vote as a nation for the President of the United States. In our Republic according to the Constitution we vote as individual states. Therefore we have 50 independent elections that happen on November 4th 2008. In order to win the Presidency a candidate must win a majority of the state’s electoral votes (270) known as the Electoral College.
Although Senator McCain did win the Republican primary, the base of the party which is built mostly from conservatives are quite unhappy with McCain as the Nominee. “I think holding their nose they’re going to have to take him”. John McCain’s mother Roberta said while speaking of Conservative voters. The recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) rated John McCain with a dismal 27 percent. In 2006 the American Conservative Union rated McCain’s voting record at 65%. It is clear that Senator McCain is no hero with Conservatives however in a Democratic year it seems he is doing quite well in the polls.
No matter how well a candidate polls among moderate swing voters it is vitally important that the party base become energized. We have seen this strategy used successfully in the 2000 and 2004 elections of President George W. Bush. While McCain may not be as Conservative as his would be predecessor, it is not essential for his success.
The selection of a Vice Presidential candidate can be sometimes more pivotal than the Candidate themselves. History teaches us that a candidate’s selection of an energizing running mate can some times make the difference in a close election. We see for Example with the nomination of General Dwight D. Eisenhower by the Republican Party over Senator Taft who represented the Conservative base in 1952. While Eisenhower was viewed by many at the time to be a more moderate Republican, he chose Conservative anti-communist Richard Nixon to be his running mate to help him energize the base of the party. Another example can be found more recently with the nomination of George H.W. Bush by the Republican Party in 1988. While Bush was also viewed by many at the time to be a more moderate candidate, he chose a strong Conservative Dan Quayle to be his running mate to help energize the base of the party.
Today it is obvious that Senator McCain needs help consolidating the base of his party with the help of a Conservative Republican on the ticket with him. There are several good choices available to Senator McCain, however due to reasons that will be given the most logical choice for the McCain camp would be Governor Mitt Romney Republican of Massachusetts.
Governor Romney was also a contender in the Presidential race for the White House, however dropped out shortly after major defeats to Senator McCain on Super Tuesday. Romney is the best choice for McCain’s number two, mainly because he solves several problems that Senator McCain has.
The first major problem McCain is dealing with is consolidating the Conservative base of the Republican Party. Romney who came in as the first pick during CPAC’s straw poll with 44% would be an obvious choice to help not only to consolidate the base but also to energize them.
McCain being a Senator for more than 25 years, Romney would contrast McCain with a certain freshness and Washington outsider appeal. McCain also lacks a great amount of executive experience, which Romney having been a Governor would bring that aspect to the ticket.
The GOP with McCain on the ticket is having serious problems with battle ground states, namely Colorado and Nevada. These are states McCain did very poorly in during the Presidential primary; by contrast Romney did extremely well. In Colorado Romney outperformed McCain by 60% to 19%. In Nevada McCain was bested by Romney 51% to 12%.
Romney helps puts other states that have not traditionally been Republican on the map for the GOP this year. For example Michigan where Romney also beat McCain is the land of his birth and where his father was Governor. In Massachusetts, where Romney also beat McCain and where he was Governor, he has great appeal and political networks that could be used to turn the state red in November.
McCain who is having trouble with fundraising when compared to Senator Obama would benefit from someone like Romney who is independently wealthy and could fund the entire campaign with one check.
Overall the best choice and best chance for the GOP to retain control of the White House in November would be to have Governor Romney as McCain’s Vice Presidential running mate. As the conventions draw near, the choice for both candidates will be revealed soon.
As for Senator Obama I believe the best choice for him would be Governor Bill Richardson (D) New Mexico. Besides the fact that he is my favorite Democrat that ran this year, he brings to the ticket, I believe many different winning elements; however that is a topic for a different paper.