Every year I hear people say “He/she could win the general, but they could never win the primaries.” The latest was someone who tried to convince me that Chris Christie could be elected President if only that pesky GOP primary system didn’t preclude it. Here’s the reality… NOBODY could win the Presidency in a two party political system without the support of one party or the other. Even if there was no primary process, it isn’t going to happen.
The two parties in America represent roughly 80% of the electorate. Let’s assume there are an even 100 million voters who will cast a ballot for President in the US (there are more, but let’s round off for easy math). Roughly 40 million of those are Republican. The latest Real Clear Politics rolling average has Christie with 3% of the vote in the GOP nominating contest. That means 1.2 million Republicans support him.
Now I should note that the Fox, and PPP polls polled registered voters while ABC News and Bloomberg polled adults. That means the poll indicates Christie’s support not among primary and caucus voters, but among ALL registered voters or all adults (even those who are not registered to vote). Among primary voters Christie’s numbers may be different, but they are likely LOWER, not HIGHER than those totals. So Chirstie’s 3% in the polls is likely closer to 1-2% in the primary. That means Christie’s base of support is actually less that a million people, but we will go with 1.2 as his floor.
Yet somehow we are to believe that a guy who is getting the support of only 1.2 million Republicans has enough appeal among Independents and Democrats that he can get to 50% +1. Let’s do that math.
Assuming no primary, you have to also assume there is no way to winnow the field, so all of the same people would be running, perhaps even more. Because we have not eliminated the two-party system, just the primaries, you would also have to assume the candidates would be affiliated with the same parties.
If Christie could get ALL of the Independents, that takes Christie to 21.2 million votes. He would still need to peel off roughly 60% of Republicans to win, but he has no support among the GOP at a time when they have a herd of candidates to choose from. Since you are competing with the same field of candidates, but NONE of them will be dropping out, the odds of getting that 60% are ZILCH.
So he would need to get a huge number of Democrats to vote for you instead – like 28.8 million of them. Now there have been roughly 20 candidates in the nominating process, including 4-5 major Democrats, and I have heard absolutely NOBODY saying, “Gee, if only Christie were running as a Democrat against Hillary, I would support him.” Yet we are supposed to believe that would happen just because there was no primary. There is no way he gets 29 million Democrats.
Even if you assume he could attract people outside the political process, only 3% of ADULTS support him currently. There is simply no math that adds up to him winning.
Christie would need to get some combination of 48.799 million people still affiliated with two diametrically opposed political parties, 48.799 million people that have currently shown ZERO interest in his candidacy. And we are to believe that would happen simply because we moved to a winner takes all election rather than a narrowing process.
That is NEVER going to happen, no matter how much you like your guy and try to convince yourself America would like him, too, if only there was a different way to express that support.