The Electoral College shapes the battlefield
Good strategic planners "shape the battlefield" in advance of combat. For example: put your forces on the high ground, forcing the enemy to struggle uphill. You can shape the battlefield by placing your forces where they have good cover and concealment, overlooking a barren plain where the enemy has neither cover nor concealment.
The political battlefield American voters will traverse between now and November 8, 2016, already has a certain shape to it, a shape that is contained within the boundaries of the Electoral College. Bear in mind that America does not have a national presidential election. Instead, we have 50 state elections plus the District of Columbia with its three Electoral College votes.
An easy way to visualize the Electoral College battlefield is to go to: www.270towin.com. As the address suggests, it requires 270 votes to win the Electoral College. Winning the popular vote is futile. To become President, the winner must garner a minimum of 270 Electoral College votes.
Based on previous Electoral College results, todays battlefield is already shaped somewhat because, using the "2016 toss-up map," it appears the Democrats start the race with 217 votes, the Republicans with 191 votes, leaving 130 votes in the Independent or toss-up category. At: www.270towin.com, you can easily see the importance of both Florida (29) and Ohio (18) in this presidential race.
At this point, some voters have yet to select a favorite presidential candidate. To help decide, please refer to the non-partisan (and free) www.isidewith.com. There, you will be asked your personal views on a wide variety of issues. After you have indicated where you stand, a computer will totalize your responses and tell you how your views compare with the positions taken by each of presidential candidates. As a result, you may find while Candidate A has been your favorite, your views actually are closer to Candidate B. Although www.isidewith.com will help identify your persona favorite, your personal favorite might not have a prayer of winning the Electoral College.
Finally, if you go to: www.realclearpolitics.com, you will find in the upper right-hand corner of the front page an up-to-the-day compendium of all the major political polls. If you check the nation-wide poll results, you can see head-to-head match-ups between, for example: Clinton vs. Trump, Clinton vs. Cruz, Clinton vs. Rubio, etc. Or. Sanders vs. Trump or Sanders vs. Cruz or Sanders vs. Rubio, etc.
For conservatives, a good rule is: Vote for the conservative candidate who has the best chance of winning the Electoral College. For liberals, a good rule is: Vote for the liberal candidate who has the best chance of winning the Electoral College. If you use that approach, you may find that your personal favorite is not your best voting choice.
As the great football Coach Vince Lombardi famously said, "Winning isnt everything, it is the only thing." And, in this particular presidential cycle, much more than just the White House is at stake. As never before, the future direction of the U.S. Supreme Court hangs in the balance. If you use all the information sources available, your chance of making a winning choice is greatly improved.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the Infantry School, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
©2016. William Hamilton.
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