Comment: Political / Campaign Reality, Facts, Numbers, Examples

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Political / Campaign Reality, Facts, Numbers, Examples

Under the current system, the big cities in battleground states do not receive all the attention—much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami certainly do not receive all the attention when presidential candidates have campaigned in the closely divided battleground states of Ohio and Florida. Moreover, Cleveland and Miami manifestly do not control the statewide outcomes in Ohio and Florida, as evidenced by the outcome of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections in those states. The Democrats carried both Cleveland and Miami in 2000 and 2004, but the Republicans carried both states. In fact, Senator John Kerry won the five biggest cities in Ohio in 2004, but he did not win the state.

An indication of the way that a nationwide presidential campaign would be run comes from the way that national advertisers conduct nationwide sales campaigns. National advertisers (e.g., Ford, Coca-Cola) seek out customers in small, medium-sized, and large towns as well as rural areas in every state. National advertisers do not advertise exclusively in big cities. Instead, they go after every potential customer, regardless of where the customer is located. In particular, national advertisers do not write off a particular state merely because a competitor already has an 8% lead in sales in that state (whereas presidential candidates routinely do this because of the current state-by-state winner-take-all system). Furthermore, a national advertiser with an 8% edge in a particular state does not stop trying to make additional sales because they are already No. 1 in sales in that state (whereas presidential candidates routinely do this under the current system).