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Posted by on Feb 7, 2008 in Politics | 4 comments

Update: Obama to debate Clinton at Cleveland State Univ., Feb. 26

Major hattip to Holly in Cincinnati for the news from The Trail:

Obama and Clinton will face off on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Cleveland State University, in a debated hosted by NBC News and WKYC, the NBC affiliate in Cleveland. Although terms haven’t been settled, Obama aides said the candidates would also meet in Texas, which votes the same day as Ohio, March 4.

With probably what will be an enormous amount of luck, Ms. Holly and I would absolutely love to bring TMV a live-blog of the debate from CSU itself. I live just a few miles away and will be working it (getting in somehow, that is). If anyone wants to help us get it for you live, let us know.

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  • DLS

    I noted the news of the Ohio debate more than once yesterday.

    Most people don’t think much about Ohio — that it’s a relic, an older part of the nation that isn’t important any more. It’s kind of how like the naive view the city of Cleveland, which has actually become a nice place to visit and even to live.

    What many people don’t realize is that Ohio is an important state in elections, as the following document (long version) shows. This has been so going back at least as far as 1932 (the start of the New Deal and our modern welfare state and the ascension to domination for decades of modern liberalism, until 1980). Ohio can be heavily contested and the case can be made (illustrated by the debate and the important primary there after Super Tuesday) that if the primaries could be reformed in a way that put heavily blue and heavily red states front-loaded, a state like Ohio might be advantaged by holding its primary later or ideally, last, if there was still no definite winner among the candidates from the major parties.

    The following two pages are particularly useful.

    1. Look at page 38 in the (entire) document (marked “37” on the page itself). This is of interest to everybody, as it shows the 2004 election results and where each of the states lies on a red to blue axis. (The polarity is, unfortunately, the opposite of what it should be; blue or Democratic should have the minus sign. However, it is perfectly understandable as it is. The US public overall is at net 3.44% favoring the GOP, not far from even. DC, which should never be a state, is nearly off-scale.)

    2. Now, look at page 45 in the document (marked “44” on page itself). This shows *** how often Ohio has been the most influential state in presidential elections. ***

    The document is here:

    Bonus thought of the day: for years I have thought about a bi-state combination that could form a formidable state. I conceived of this when on the road one day across Ohio, and was thinking of other large areas and the difference between geography and population: Canada, effectively, is “Chile turned sideways.” Well, there’s a state that could be created in the eastern US that would be a huge new state, and which would constitute a California turned sideways: Combine Ohio and Pennsylvania. (Alternate not winter and summer, but spring and autumn sites for the capital.) Related: Note how influential or “pivotal” Pennysylvania is as well as the #1 Ohio.

  • Thanks, DLS – yes – there were many blog articles all day about the debate but most folks expected it to be a CNN thing and probably in conjunction with the parties. Appears that that’s completely not the case. CSU is a perfect place in many ways but frankly, Russert hasn’t been so kind to either candidate – that’s interesting to me!

  • DLS

    People who are unfamiliar with Ohio don’t realize: a) how large it is; b) how closely it can be contested in elections; c) even though it’s a blue state in people’s eyes, it tends to run somewhat Republican but overall is as close as can be to being the most representative-voting state in the nation relative to the USA as a whole. This even was noticed by one reformer well to the right (at Hoover) who suggested that Ohio rather than Iowa or New Hampshire be among the first to hold its primaries in an election year:

    “How, then, do we fix the presidential nomination process? Try leading off with at least two states that represent the middle of the political spectrum as defined by the previous national election. To do this, divide the fifty states according to popular vote and find the handful of states in which the winning candidate barely lost or won. If applied to last November’s results, these states would be Ohio (the median), Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, and New Mexico. Iowa, however, should be eliminated because of its lack of diversity and being too rural.

    This would leave the parties with more intriguing campaign terrains. Nevada, for example, is a traditionally conservative state whose politics are changing owing to Las Vegas’s population influx. Colorado offers a similar political mosaic. Its capital city, Denver, has a majority minority population. Although a reliably Republican “red” state in presidential years, it elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate last fall. The state is also home to both conservative and liberal activism, ranging from abortion and affirmative action to Ward Churchill, the controversial University of Colorado professor.”

    (It’s true. Colorado’s Front Range is a Bible Belt outpost, Religious Right stronghold but is also home to Boulder, as liberal as a liberal city can be, and other metro area liberals. Don’t forget Gary Hart.)

    If you look at the longer report I posted the link to earlier, you’ll see that Ohio not only is “pivotal” from a theoretical and historical standpoint, but is (as the Hoover writeup indicated) closer to representing the USA as a whole than nearly all other states (in 2006, Nevada was #1 and Colorado was #2; Ohio was #3 for Dem-GOP split relative to USA overall ). Ohio is the state with the second highest probability of having its state vote approach the overall US vote (New Mexico has been #1). From roughly page 50 onward, the states are classified and discussed regarding how likely they are (and to what degree) to lean either GOP or Dem. One kind of reform would be to push those states earlier in the series of primaries, then have the competitive states go afterward; or reverse this. (Or just have all states hold primaries on the same day; there are all kinds of reforms.)

    Cleveland is interesting to me as well because it’s not only nice to visit but is a good psychological as well as logistical “breakpoint” or division point; I typically make the run from Iowa (or earlier, from St. Louis) all the way to Upstate or to the East Coast in one long trip, and Cleveland is approximately halfway from the two ends of my trips and is where the scenery changes from Midwest to Appalachians, then Northeast proper. The city is nice enough I will even detour there if I am crossing the continent on I-80. I’ve already mentioned I like going through the Warehouse district (and the lofts) and on to Lakewood.

  • DLS

    Good luck if you manage to get in to witness the debate. I’m certain you’ll try!

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