The Blog

Michael Moore's Revenge

As antiwar protests spread in California, the largest state in the Union becomes more and more politically irrelevant.

6:00 AM, Mar 28, 2003 • By BILL WHALEN
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The Golden State's 55 electoral votes in 2004 are tantalizing. Indeed, if Bush's strength is such that he carries California, he'll probably be on his way to a 40-state win. Then again, there's an easy formula for reelection that skirts California: concentrate on the states that Bush narrowly lost in 2000. Begin with Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin--Bush's closest margins of defeat in 2000. That's 39 electoral votes. The second target group, Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Washington, were 7 percent losses (or less) for Bush in 2000. That's another 53 electoral votes. The big selling point for this strategy: flexibility. The president's team could pick a combination of nine states to target and offset the loss of California, instead gambling big on one state.

It's something worth keeping in mind as California continues to strut and preen in their discontent. Nothing said or done in Los Angeles or San Francisco or by any California member of Congress will change the president's attitude toward war. But it might change his attitude as to where he campaigns next year.

Bill Whalen is Research Fellow at the Hoover Instutition, where he follows California and national politics.