Robert Garcia Tagorda questions the Bush team’s strategy of talking up its chances in California, noting (correctly) that Arnold Schwarzenegger is hardly offering up his 65% approval rating for a coattail effect. However, a look back at 2000 would be instructive—in that campaign, too, the Bush campaign talked up its chances in California and devoted more than token resources to the state, which forced the Gore campaign to follow suit, diverting ads from the battleground states that Bush was truly focusing on.
One suspects that Kerry will not fall for the same trick again, and—unlike in 2000—his
surrogates supporters ABBers at MoveOn.org and other 527s can devote virtually unlimited resources to counteract any Bush spending in the state without hurting the campaign elsewhere, while the Democratic party organization is more free to devote resources to get-out-the-vote efforts than in the past (mainly because it can’t spend its money on much else, thanks to McCain-Feingold). But, nonetheless, it’s not a completely bad strategy, because there’s absolutely no way Kerry can win the White House if he loses California.