I think Goldwater would have had a better chance in 1968 than 2012, but I don’t know if I can envision a scenario where Goldwater could ever win 270 electoral votes. McGovern, I believe, would have an easier time today because what he was in 1972 was really a sneak peek at what the Democratic Party would become in the 1990’s until now.
I will say this about Barry Goldwater — while he certainly scared the crap out of a lot of people in 1964, there were a lot of other factors that played a big role in LBJ’s landslide victory. When people went to the polls in November 1964, they did so less than a year after JFK’s assassination. With everything going on in the world, there was a hunger for political stability and LBJ offered that. Americans didn’t want to have three different Presidents in a span of less than 15 months. Even Goldwater knew that. He went into that 1964 campaign knowing that JFK’s assassination had all but guaranteed that Goldwater was fighting a losing battle.
Don’t get me wrong. LBJ’s effective assumption of the Presidency and his efficiency in working with Congress to get things accomplished from November 22, 1963 until November 3, 1964 also had a lot to do with the landslide. And Goldwater was too extreme for a lot of Americans. But the 1964 election would have been far closer had John F. Kennedy been seeking a second term against Barry Goldwater. Kennedy would have won, but there’s no way he would have won 61% of the popular vote like LBJ did in 1964.
I understand where you’re trying to come from, but it’s not possible to “forget the numbers and facts” and then attempt to hypothesize on a matchup. I’ll go as far as to pretend that Ron Paul had naked pictures of every Republican in the United States and blackmailed them into nominating him since that’s the only possible way that he could win his party’s nomination as President of the United States.
Okay, so now it’s Obama vs. Paul, but the problem is that Paul isn’t a contender in that election, just like he hasn’t been a contender in any of his attempts at winning his party’s nomination. If it was Obama vs. Paul, the result would be similar to Franklin D. Roosevelt vs. Alf Landon in 1936, Richard Nixon vs. George McGovern in 1972, or Ronald Reagan vs. Walter Mondale in 1984. It would be a historic blowout in the Electoral College because Ron Paul connects and appeals to a very small but impressively boisterous and vocal group of Americans.
Dr. Paul has been relatively successful in fundraising — relative, of course, to other fringe candidates who are capable of little fundraising — and that has been his biggest success in the field of Presidential politics. Paul has had little affect on the overall conversation. His runs have not led to any significant influence on the platform of his own political party. Paul has never been seen as a threat by the opposing party. And, most importantly, in three separate races for President of the United States, Ron Paul has never been close to turning his vocal supporters and minor fundraising successes into an effective voting bloc that would make him a contender for either the Presidency or the Republican nomination for the Presidency.
In a hypothetical debate between Barack Obama and Ron Paul, you’d have a confident, engaging, proven debate professional (Obama) against a man whose nickname is “Dr. No”, whose most common argument is being against practically everything, and whose ill-fitting suits and awkward stage presence would undermine his performance. If you don’t think that the physical appearance or stage performance of candidates in a debate matters, please see the 1960 debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. I’m not sure what topics would be focused on because that’s largely up to the debate’s moderators, but I’m sure that Obama’s campaign would spotlight the fact that Ron Paul has built a career on being against things and that few Americans can identify something that Dr. Paul is actually for. Dr. Paul’s campaign would probably be the same campaign he’s been running since 1988 — a campaign that has been patently unsuccessful on a national level each time it’s been rolled out in party primaries, and a campaign that finally, mercifully appears to be over since Dr. Paul is leaving Congress at the end of term.
I tried to forget the numbers and facts in order to plug Ron Paul into the general election against Obama, but now that we’ve put them against each other, I’ll say that Obama would win in the Electoral College by over 500 votes. And now we can put the Ron Paul fantasy to sleep!
I’d vote for LeBron. I’ve never bought into all the LeBron hate; I like him and think he’s a good dude. I’d just demand that he not use the “LBJ” nickname because he’s no Lyndon Johnson. Plus, I’m from Sacramento — I could never vote for Kobe. And Carmelo is such a ballhog that when he signed bills, he’d keep all the commemorative pens himself.
Who would win is a tougher one. I’m so anti-Kobe that I am really biased, but I just think he is far too unlikeable to win and LeBron is more of a winner than Carmelo, so I think it would have to be LeBron. I mean, maybe I’m wrong, but most of the country hates Kobe like I do, too, right? I’ve been rooting against Kobe for so long that even in the Olympics I would have moments where I’d see him on the court and think, “Spain’s kind of a cool country”, before snapping out of it and getting my patriotism on.
Let’s lay out the candidates for everyone who might not know: Richard Nixon vs. Gerald Ford vs. Jimmy Carter vs. Ronald Reagan vs. George H.W. Bush vs. Bill Clinton vs. George W. Bush vs. Barack Obama.
If the election were literally held today, with the current mood of the country, Ronald Reagan would win. Reagan is a Conservative legend (in so many definitions of the word) and if a Reagan-like candidate comes along for Republicans in 2012, President Obama will be in trouble. I think this hypothetical election would come down to who people perceive as the two best, most charismatic Presidents of that time period — the Presidents who made the people feel best about themselves and their country during the last 40 years — and that would be Reagan and Clinton.
Who would I vote for? Clinton. I wouldn’t even think twice — and I worked for Obama from 2007-2008. Clinton is the best President of the past 40 years, and he had the best tools for what we want in a President. Clinton would be a great President in any era of American History. I think we’d be better off today with Clinton in office than any of the other Presidents of the past 40 years.