What if Romney or McCain were Running in the 2016 GOP Primaries? Mitt Romney unleashed a blistering condemnation of Donald Trump, the GOP front-runner, on Thursday, followed quickly by John McCain’s piling on. They speak from positions as elected Republicans, but also as the previous two Republican Presidential nominees, both of who were defeated in the general election by President Obama. It raises an interesting question: how would their nomination runs stack up in comparison to the 2016 GOP primaries?
So far, 15 states held their GOP nominating contests, with the 16th going today. CHART 1 compares the state-by-state vote totals between 2008, 2012 and 2016. Those comparisons show that the votes cast in all but 2 (Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia) of the second 15 contests in 2016 exceed the totals from either 2008 or 2012.
When the total votes from all 15 states are compared, as shown in CHART 2, the magnitude of 2016’s turn out is revealed. So far, 7.3 million more votes were cast in 2016 than in 2012 (up 57.7%), and 7.49 million more than in 2008 (up 59.6%). So how would Romney or McCain be doing if they ran in 2016 with the same vote totals from their winning 2012 and 2008 campaigns?
CHART 3 compares the winning candidate’s vote totals from each of the second 15 nominating contests. The data shows that with the same votes, the winner in 2016 would have won in 2008 and 2012 in 11 of the 15 states. When the first 15 contests are added in, the 2016 contest winners would have taken 23 of the first 30 contests compared against 2012 and 2008 winners combined.
TABLE 1 shows the raw vote totals for the second 15 GOP contests, and breaks out those won by Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008 in blue. Head to head, Romney would have lost all but three of the second 15 states. When the first 15 states are added in, Romney would have lost 25 of the first 30 GOP contests (Vermont, Kentucky, Puerto Rico, District of Columbia, and North Caroline). He would have likely dropped out by now.
When McCain’s totals are put to the test, he fares even worse. He would have been defeated in all but three contests out of the first 30 (Vermont, District of Columbia, and Kentucky), and also would have likely dropped out.
So what does this tell us?
- First, it indicates that the 2016 GOP turnout is very high, up over 57% so far compared to the last two nominating contests. The GOP will need millions more votes in the general election to win than Romney got in 2012. So far, those voters are turning out.
- Second, its now clear that both Romney and McCain would have been soundly defeated if they had run in 2016 and received their winning votes from 2012 and 2008 respectively. As a result, their moral positions as beaten GOP candidates is heavily blunted.
- Republican voters soundly defeated establishment candidates. They are speaking, but the GOP establishment refuses to listen. The Trump and Cruz campaigns, along with their voters and the establishment must come together this fall in order to defeat whomever the democrat candidate is.
- The opposite voting pattern is occurring in the Democrat Race, and the front runner has serious legal problems.
Data from USElectionAtlas.Org