Good morning everyone and welcome to the darkest month. Hopefully, today’s column will be one of the three last columns I write on the 2020 campaign. Tomorrow’s column will analyze the final poll numbers and Tuesday’s column will explain the campaign results. Unless, of course, Trump wins another four years. Anyway, back to today’s column.
What I want to do is explain the electoral map in a very clear and concise way. In the process, I’m also going to explain why the 2016 pre-election polls were both right and wrong, and give you some guidance as to what to look for over the next couple of days.
To begin, let’s briefly review the electoral map from 2016. Trump won the election with 304 EV’s, Clinton had 227 EV’s. The magic number, of course, is 270 EV’s. The narrative which allegedly explains Trump’s 2016 victory focuses almost exclusively on how and why the pre-election polls missed Trump’s late surge in 6 states that flipped from blue to red: Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Together, these states gave him 99 EV’s.
But for all the talk about the new MAGA movement and how it will propel Trump to victory again, along with the 99 EV’s from states that flipped, Trump also picked up 52 EV’s in red states which he won with either less or barely more than 50% of the votes. In other words, Trump went into this year’s campaign with only 153 safe electoral votes.
Ready? Watch this. Joe and Kammie went into this year’s campaign with 176 absolutely safe EV’s; i.e., jurisdictions which gave Hillary at least 55% of the vote in 2016. They also had 8 other states, plus Maine-CD1, which gave the blue team another 57 EV’s in 2016 even though none of these jurisdictions surpassed 50% of the total vote.
So going into the 2020 campaign, there were 209 EV’s up for grabs, meaning jurisdictions which voted red or blue by just 50% or less. And by the way, for all the talk about Texas flipping from red to blue, Trump picked up 36 EV’s from Texas in 2016, but only received 52% of the statewide vote. The MAGA movement in even the Lone Star State wasn’t such a big deal.
If Trump is re-elected on Tuesday, his winning margin may turn out to be even thinner than the winning numbers he racked up in 2016. On the other hand, if Joe can move Hillary’s numbers in the battleground states up by 3 percent, the result could be a landslide for the blue team.
Back in early October I referred to Trump as the ‘accidental President’ because when I first began looking at the results of the 2016 election, it was clear that he didn’t so much win as the blue team lost.
So the question on Tuesday will come down to this: Is Trump not only an accidental President but an emperor without clothes?