Regular readers of the Corner will know that I’m far from being a McCainiac (although I have not a moment of doubt that he is now the best candidate for president this November), nevertheless, a glance back to 2000 helps put some of the current chatter about GOP disaffection with its candidate into some sort of perspective. A reader kindly pointed me to this useful site showing GOP primary results from 2000. As you may remember, John McCain had withdrawn from the race in March that year, leaving Bush the presumptive nominee. Under the circumstances, these results from some of the later primaries caught my eye, and in particular:
North Carolina (May 2): Bush 78.6% (vs McCain’s 74% in 2008)Indiana (May 2) : Bush 81.1% (vs McCain’s 77% in 2008)Nebraska (May 9) : Bush 78%West Virginia (May 9): Bush 79.5%Idaho (May 23) : Bush 73% (19% Keyes!)New Jersey (June 6): Bush: 84% (!6% Keyes!)South Dakota (June 6) : Bush 78%
There’s no doubt that McCain has more of a problem with some elements of the GOP base than did George W. Bush, but let’s not overstate it. As to what McCain should be doing to attract independents and Democrats (as he must), while at the same time being a candidate who enthuses most of a broadly-defined ‘right’, that’s a fascinating question (and one rightly raised by Mark), but it’s the topic of another post.