Rudy and the Map

On his way out the door for a few days, Marc left readers with the following provocation:

If Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican nomination, he'll put Connecticut and New Jersey in play for the GOP and force the Dems to spend money in the expensive NYC market.

Which Democrat(s) could similarly expand the map, in which states, and why?

I'm inclined to dispute the premise, and agree with the argument Peter Keating made recently for TNR Online. Looking at current state-by-state polls, Keating pointed out that against Hillary Clinton, "Rudy is likely to lose Connecticut, lose Pennsylvania narrowly and run well in Florida and Missouri - just like George W. Bush did last time around." As in 2000 and 2004, he suggested, the next election will be determined by swing voters in the Upper Midwest and the Mountain West; even with a New Yorker like Giuliani in the race, there's almost no way to bring the northeast into play for the GOP.

Sure, Rudy might do better in Connecticut than Bush did, but Bush lost my home state by ten points last time around; he lost New Jersey by seven points, and New York by nineteen points. You'd need an awful lot of socially-liberal, fiscally-conservative, Giuliani-loving "security Moms" to swing right to make those states competitive, particularly in a year when the GOP brand is a lot more tarnished than it was in '04.

It's not that the conventional wisdom about Rudy's unusual general-election impact is entirely wrong: I'm sure he would draw some Rockefeller Republicans into the GOP column, even as he would lose some pro-life, economically-moderate voters to the Democratic column. But in a polarized electorate, these shifts are likely to happen on the margins, not on the kind of grand scale that would be required to make the GOP competitive along the I-95 corridor. Should he take the nomination, how Giuliani expands or contracts the Republican base will indeed determine the election. But it will determine it in states like New Mexico and Florida, Iowa and Ohio, Colorado and Wisconsin - in the purple states, rather than the heart of Blue America.