The number of electoral votes needed to win a presidential election is 270. Electoral votes for Republican presidential candidates have steadily declined since Ronald Reagan's impressive 1984 victory over Walter Mondale. In that blowout election, Reagan carried 49 out of the 50 states and received a record 525 electoral votes out of a possible 538. It's been downhill for Republicans ever since.
Peter Wehner, former deputy director to the president and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, writes in Commentary magazine: "Out of the last six presidential elections, four have gone to the Democratic nominee, at an average yield of 327 electoral votes to 210 for the Republican. During the preceding two decades, from 1968 to 1988, Republicans won five out of six elections, averaging 417 electoral votes to the Democrats' 113." The country's changing demographics play a part. "White voters, who traditionally and reliably favor the GOP, have gone from 89 percent of the electorate in 1976 to 72 percent in 2012." And the numbers continue to decline for the GOP. Democrats now hold sway over what CNN.com dubbed the "blue wall -- the cluster of eastern, Midwest and western states that have traditionally gone Democratic." These blues states, along with the District of Columbia, total 242 electoral votes.
Kathleen Willey, Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones and the rest of those "wronged women" are not the key to electoral success for Republicans. Neither is a complete focus on bashing Hillary Clinton. It might make certain conservative Republicans feel good, but it won't win them the White House in 2016.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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