Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Is the RNC wasting money in Montana?

Matthew Yglesias thinks the RNC is throwing its money away on Montana:
Montana may or may not be competitive at the moment, but any universe in which Barack Obama wins Montana is a universe in which he's winning the election anyway.
But at this point the RNC is probably looking to minimize losses. Montana has only 3 electoral votes, but losing it would be a real psychological blow, and worse, it would come with a cost to the GOP's national image.

Consider the red states that could flip this year, and the media narrative that would go along with it. Colorado: Demographic change. Virginia: Suburban Washington. North Carolina, Georgia, etc.: Black people. Even Indiana, if it flips you can say, well, it's right next to Illinois.

Montana is a totally different animal. Not many states are as rural or as exotically Western-seeming as Montana. The Democrats who have won statewide office there recently have been greeted with numerous stories in national media saying, wow, aren't these Western Dems something? They're so folksy and Western-seeming and yet they're Democrats!

If the folksy-Westerny-white-rural voters of Montana vote for a Democrat for president, that chips away at the Republican brand. It means dudes in cowboy hats and bolo ties now vote for Democrats, and this complicates the cultural appeals the GOP will want to make going forward.

Keeping Montana is important to the RNC, in other words, because of how losing Montana would look to people who basically only understand Montana as an abstraction of "the West." (That is, nearly everyone outside of Montana.)

3 comments:

Jake said...

But it's a bit like kicking a field goal when you're down by 21 with two minutes left, isn't it? You try to keep down the margin of defeat to minimize ridicule.

Don Hotdog said...

They don't want to see that fat piece of blue up top on the map. Montana's like, twice as big as New Hampshire...

stridewideman said...

I would actually argue that McCain's targeting advisors have just lost their minds. It's the same reason they're spending time and money in PA, when it's clear that that boat has sailed. Maybe it's a perception thing, but that's a hell of a lot of money to spend on what people think you look like....