That brings us down to the only actually relevant States on the board. They are Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. All but Ohio were won by razor thin margins in 2016. All but Minnesota were won by Trump. All but Minnesota were flipped from Democrat to Republican from 2012 (and 2008) to 2016. The only other State to flip was Iowa.
Every other State in the Union voted the same way in 2012 and 2016. Every one of them. So, we accept the votes each party will receive from them as given at the beginning of the game, and then ignore them all. That means that when the game begins, the score is:
Now, Game ON! I’ll look at all of the States, except Minnesota, which the Dems should retain.
Trump’s stated strategy in 2016, which will likely continue in 2020, was to rally the low- to middle-class white voters, who have voted at steadily decreasing percentages for years, while de-motivating the votes from historically Democrat strongholds, urban centers, where African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities have voted at steadily increasing rates for the last 30 years. He appears to have achieved his objectives to win. Can this be undone by the Democrats?
Other issues. According to a Pew analysis of Census and other data, African Americans apparently voted at about a 7% lower rate than in the prior elections, the first drop in decades. Also, the constant reports of a Clinton landslide victory, and national polls showing her with a commanding lead, may have resulted in complacency among her voters. In these States it may have cost her dearly.
The odd State is Ohio (18). This, like Florida, is a bell-weather state. The winner has carried Ohio since 1964. Of course, it went to Obama in both of his elections, and Bush in both of his, but the odd thing about 2016 was that Trump won Ohio by a surprising 8.1% or nearly 500,000 votes. It has historically been much closer. Dems will need to work very hard if they are to get this State back on their ledger. But do they have to?
The remaining States were very tight victories for Trump, and could either be flipped or retained by the Republicans:
Florida (29 Electoral Votes). The huge plum. Over 26% Hispanic, across a wide ethnic spectrum, and over 19% African American, it is one of the most diverse States in the Union. Like Ohio, the winner has won Florida for decades, but we have all watched how hard it has been to call this State.
Pennsylvania (20). Like Michigan, Pennsylvania is historically a Democrat State, and Obama won it both times. Trump won by 0.7% or only 44,292 votes of nearly 6,000,000 cast.
Michigan (16). Historically a Democrat strong hold, won by Obama both times, Trump won by 0.3%, or less than 11,000 votes of 5.2 million cast.
Minnesota (10). Hillary won by 1.5% or 44,593 votes, and the Dems should win it again, but that is a very tight margin. Given the upheaval there, it could be ripe for a Republican flip.
Wisconsin (10). Though Obama won this State both times, it is historically a close State. Trump won by 0.7% or only 22,748 votes. The Dems need a strong turnout in Milwaukee and Madison to win this rural State. So, let’s look at each State and what happened between the recent past and 2016 to see if we can learn anything. There are probably better analyses out there, so, if you are in or near these States, search away. No matter which side you are on, this election depends on it.