Obama is going to win 300+ ev's. Again. By my math the secure electoral vote base for Democrats, the electoral votes you can put in the bank every 4 years, is 247. Thus, the swing states I am including are NV, CO, IA, OH, NH, VA, NC and FL. You add together the rest of the traditionally blue states and you get to 247.
I am positing that Democrats can move enough states from swing to leaning Dem before the 2016 race even begins.
Come below the magic orange swirl for my wildly and perhaps too optimistic theory.
If would put one of the current swing states (NV, CO, IA, OH, NH, VA, NC and FL) into a leaning blue state come 2016 I think NV would be the first one I move. A growing Latino demographic combined with anti-immigrant policies that are unlikely to change over the next 4 years plus the incredible Harry Reid GOTV machine make NV my first choice to become a leaning blue instead of swing.
247 + Nevada's 6 = 253
Next, I suggest we take a look at Colorado. (9 ev's). CO is going for Obama by 3-5 points this time and again I point to demographics. Growing Latino plus a general liberalizing of the inner mountain west. There were some surprising victories in places like Utah and Colorado and we might even see Tester hold on. As high tech jobs move to the inner mountain west form states like CA it is creating a less libertarian streak to these states. I am not suggesting Utah or Montana will become blue states but I am suggesting that they will become bluer and Colorado could be a leading indicator for states like Montana and cities like Salt Lake. So I think Colorado could start out leaning blue in 2016.
253 + Colorado's 9 = 260.
That leaves the Democrats with 12 electoral votes to go. I would love to think Ohio, Virginia or North Carolina are moving toward blue but really I think geography and demographics will keep those three swingy. New Hampshire is too indie to ever be anything other than a swing state. That leaves Iowa and Florida.
It's hard for me put Iowa into a leaning blue position fundamentally but of the two I actually like Florida. If Romney can't win Florida this time then how is it going to get easier in 2016? The state will become more diverse, feel the effects of climate change and understand the value of Federal aid. We also saw that the I4 corridor is basically bluing. I4 is just not as swingy as it was in 2000, 2004. If Florida leans D then it's all over and I think in 4 years it really could become a lean D state.
260 + Florida's 29 = 289
Sure, Republicans could calibrate their hate speech and the conservative base could wise up and realize they will never win an election without the Latino vote and sure pigs could fly out of my butt but I really do think demographics and policies could move the national map into a "leaning blue" position from the start of the 2016 race. Smart Republicans understand this reality and they will need to do something about it.
The media will push back against this notion to preserve the horserace but that won't make it invalid.
And really...whatever Nate Silver says will happen.