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Sorry, Mark Halperin — Jeb Bush winning California isn't going to happen

Jeb Bush
Jeb Bush
World Affairs Council

The last time the Republican Party won a presidential election without a member of the Bush family on the ticket was 1972, so I find the yearning for Jeb Bush expressed by Mark Halperin in his debut Bloomberg Politics column entirely understandable. But this is insane:

Finally, the most macro significant question for any Republican putting him or herself forward to beat Clinton is this: What states can you win that Romney lost? For Bush, the easy answer includes Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Virginia. If he runs a strong campaign, Bush could also compete in California [LOL] and possibly New Jersey and Michigan.

Never say never. It is conceivable, albeit extraordinarily unlikely, that the 2016 Republican nominee will carry the state of California. But Barack Obama got just over 60 percent of the vote in the Golden State. The only states where he did better were Maryland, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

As for New Jersey, Romney only got 40 percent there. Michigan was much closer, but Obama did better there than he did in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, or Minnesota — to say nothing of Florida or Virginia. The only scenario in which these states are in play is a scenario in which the Republican is scoring a sweeping victory. Weird stuff does happen — Obama won North Carolina in 2008 — but that kind of weird stuff never matters.

To see how absurd the California thing is, though, just dial the Wayback Machine back to the last time a Republican won it in 1988. Even then, Mike Dukakis ran ahead of his national numbers in California. Indeed, Walter Mondale ran ahead of his national numbers in 1984.

What's particularly odd about this line of argument is that anyone looking to make an electability case in favor of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush could always point to the actual swing state of Florida. Would Bush actually have an advantage over other contenders in the Sunshine State? I have no idea. But that argument has the kind of basic sheen of plausibility that you're looking for.

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