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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/27/20

Four States Will Determine The 2020 Presidential Elections

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Amidst the political noises and the daily punditry about the upcoming 2020 United States presidential elections, and its possible outcome, there is one and only one metric that will determine the result. And it's not the charisma or lack thereof of the candidates, when it comes to voter appeal, or who has the best message. Nope. Even though all that's important, the result of the 2020 elections will be about the number four - four states to be precise. These states all flipped to the Republican column in 2016 when President Trump won them by the slimmest of slim margins - 1 percentage point or less.

The four states are: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida. Many analysts point to Wisconsin as the single state upon which the election could turn. I would go so far as to say that Democrats have to win back that state in order to make the path to 270 electoral college votes easier and far more difficult for Donald Trump. Just in case you think I'm off my rocker, consider this: Because of the tribe mentality and hyper-partisanship in US politics today, a situation aggravated by the election of Donald Trump in 2016, we're now looking at the smallest electoral map in decades as the United States is rendered even further apart in two tribal camps - one Red and Republican and the other Blue and Democratic.

Also consider that in the 2016 presidential elections, Donald Trump lost the national popular vote to Hillary Clinton by about three million people but won 304 Electoral College votes and the presidency. Based on the Trump Administration's unbelievable incompetence in its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the president's penchant for shooting himself in the foot, his chances of winning the popular vote are as challenging now as they were back in 2016. This, and the fact that this is not 2016, and Trump is now the incumbent, leaves open the huge question as to if he can produce the electoral college majority needed to win re-election.

As I said, the numbers will determine the electoral outcome. Fact is the electoral college map's paths to victory have become smaller and smaller over the years as elections have become less competitive. Nowadays, it's very difficult to chart multiple paths to victory because of the "safe" Red and Blue states. The reason is simple: only 4, 8, or 12 states now matter in presidential elections that have enacted so-called first past the pole elections and "winner-take-all" laws.

These laws in effect now award 100% of a state's electoral votes to the candidate winning the most popular votes in each state. So, presidential candidates have no reason to campaign in, or pay attention to, voters in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. In New York State, for example - a safe and reliable Blue state - Republican and Democratic presidential candidates never campaign there or spend money to mount outreach and field operations. Republicans know they cannot win this state, and Democrats know they cannot lose it.

Consider again: In 2012, 100% of the general-election campaign events, and virtually all campaign expenditures, were concentrated in the 12 closely divided "battleground" states where Mitt Romney's support was 45%-51%. Because of state winner-take-all laws, neither Romney nor Barack Obama had any realistic chance of winning electoral votes outside those 12 states. Thus, 38 states were totally ignored, including almost all small states, medium-sized states, rural states, western states, southern states, and northeastern states. Two-thirds of the general-election campaign events (176 of 253) were concentrated in just 4 states Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Iowa.

In the 2016 presidential contest between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, almost all (94%) general-election campaign events were in the 12 battleground states where Trump's support was in the narrow range of 43%-51%Two hundred and seventy three (273) or two-thirds of total campaign events (399) were in only 6 states: Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan. In the 2020 presidential campaign the contest, spending and campaign events will be concentrated in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida.

REPUBLICAN PARTY CHALLENGE

Let me say here that daily polls are daily snapshots in time. But over time they will tell a picture and project the possible outcomes. Right now, Democrat Joe Biden is giving incumbent Republican President Donald Trump a shellacking. It may be too late for Trump to close a widening electoral lead and gap given the polling that show Democrats and Biden up more than 50% in key swing states. And, more ominous, Trump is losing suburban women in catastrophic numbers. The fear and jitters for the Trump campaign and Republican Party is that an unpopular incumbent president will take the party down with him.

Trump is as much as the GOP hard-core responsible for the many racist, anti-poor, anti-people policies that now define the Republican Party. His handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is just the latest in a long list of noxious behavior from now boring name calling, pettiness, boastfulness and silly posturing that has turned off all but the most die-hard Republicans. His personality cult and strutting generalissimo antics have also dawn delirious laughter from many observers. Elected Republicans and the party are now all in with Trump who has remade the party in his own image and likeness. It's now the Party Of Trump (POT).

While the Democratic Party still has to learn how to engage its base and deliver for it, there have been enormous strides. Indeed, the difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties is quite simple: The Republican Party is now a cult, driven by the POTUS's quixotic antics, while the Democratic Party is a coalition and far less, in this time, a party based solely on ideology. This is an important difference when it comes to supporting Joe Biden - he's no wannabe petty, tin-horn dictator. I'm sure you can name one person who fits that description to a T. Amidst the political noises and the daily punditry about the upcoming 2020 United States presidential elections, and its possible outcome, there is one and only one metric that will determine the result. And it's not the charisma or lack thereof of the candidates, when it comes to voter appeal, or who has the best message. Nope. Even though all that's important, the result of the 2020 elections will be about the number four - four states to be precise. These states all flipped to the Republican column in 2016 when President Trump won them by the slimmest of slim margins - 1 percentage point or less.

The four states are: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida. Many analysts point to Wisconsin as the single state upon which the election could turn. I would go so far as to say that Democrats have to win back that state in order to make the path to 270 electoral college votes easier and far more difficult for Donald Trump. Just in case you think I'm off my rocker, consider this: Because of the tribe mentality and hyper-partisanship in US politics today, a situation aggravated by the election of Donald Trump in 2016, we're now looking at the smallest electoral map in decades as the United States is rendered even further apart in two tribal camps - one Red and Republican and the other Blue and Democratic.

Also consider that in the 2016 presidential elections, Donald Trump lost the national popular vote to Hillary Clinton by about three million people but won 304 Electoral College votes and the presidency. Based on the Trump Administration's unbelievable incompetence in its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the president's penchant for shooting himself in the foot, his chances of winning the popular vote are as challenging now as they were back in 2016. This, and the fact that this is not 2016, and Trump is now the incumbent, leaves open the huge question as to if he can produce the electoral college majority needed to win re-election.

As I said, the numbers will determine the electoral outcome. Fact is the electoral college map's paths to victory have become smaller and smaller over the years as elections have become less competitive. Nowadays, it's very difficult to chart multiple paths to victory because of the "safe" Red and Blue states. The reason is simple: only 4, 8, or 12 states now matter in presidential elections that have enacted so-called first past the pole elections and "winner-take-all" laws.

These laws in effect now award 100% of a state's electoral votes to the candidate winning the most popular votes in each state. So, presidential candidates have no reason to campaign in, or pay attention to, voters in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. In New York State, for example - a safe and reliable Blue state - Republican and Democratic presidential candidates never campaign there or spend money to mount outreach and field operations. Republicans know they cannot win this state, and Democrats know they cannot lose it.

Consider again: In 2012, 100% of the general-election campaign events, and virtually all campaign expenditures, were concentrated in the 12 closely divided "battleground" states where Mitt Romney's support was 45%-51%. Because of state winner-take-all laws, neither Romney nor Barack Obama had any realistic chance of winning electoral votes outside those 12 states. Thus, 38 states were totally ignored, including almost all small states, medium-sized states, rural states, western states, southern states, and northeastern states. Two-thirds of the general-election campaign events (176 of 253) were concentrated in just 4 states Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Iowa.

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MICHAEL DERK ROBERTS Small Business Consultant, Editor, and Social Media & Communications Expert, New York Over the past 20 years I've been a top SMALL BUSINESS CONSULTANT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST in Brooklyn, New York, running (more...)
 

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