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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/20/19

Trump Could Win in the Electoral College in 2020

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) July 20, 2019: As everybody knows, Trump is running for re-election in 2020. As everybody knows, enough of his 2016 supporters failed to vote in the 2018 mid-term elections to prevent his party from suffering certain significant setbacks.

Trump is currently reminding his 2016 supporters of those 2018 setbacks by attacking four women of color elected to the House of Representatives in 2018: (1) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York (often referred to as AOC), (2) Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, (3) Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and (4) Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. AOC used the 1990s slang expression "The Squad" to refer to the four of them together in a photo.

On July 14, 2019, Trump tweeted that the four of them should "go back and help the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." Ilhan Omar was born on October 4, 1982, in Mogadishu, Somalia, but she is a naturalized citizen of the United States. The other three women were born in the United States. AOC is of Puerto Rican descent. Ayanna Pressley is African American. Rashida Tlaib is Palestinian.

On July 17, 2019, when Trump mentioned Ilhan Omar at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, the crowd erupted with chants of "send her back."

Subsequently, the world of editorial and op-eds erupted with commentaries about that chant.

Now, George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) features two-minute drills of collectively expressing hate for a symbol of the out-group. In the United States after World War II, communists were the hated out-group. Both Republican and Democratic politicians were anti-communists.

Today in the United States, the communists have faded away as the hated out-group. But Trump advances other out-groups for the two-minute drills of collectively expressing hate.

Conversely, the anti-Trump Americans who write editorials, op-eds, and letters-to-the-editor advance Trump and his supporters as the out-group for the two-minute drills of collectively expressing hate.

Thus, Trump had succeeded in drawing attention away from the various Democrats who are contending to be the Democratic Party's presidential candidate in the 2020 election. No doubt it is to Trump's re-election advantage to force those Democratic contenders to vie with one another to get headlines for themselves and their positions from the news media. But how might they garner favorable headlines for themselves?

After all, they all claim to be anti-Trump. But former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton was clearly anti-Trump in the 2016 presidential election. She won the popular vote decisively. But Trump won the Electoral College vote decisively in 2016. In 2020, the Democratic Party's presidential candidate will win the anti-Trump vote. But Trump may win the Electoral College vote again in 2020.

In the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton did not draw large enthusiastic crowds at her rallies, except for her last rally in Philadelphia when then-President Barack Obama and then-First Lady Michelle Obama appeared with her. In contrast, in the 2016 campaign, Trump regularly drew enthusiastic crowds at his rallies and he emerged victorious in the Electoral College vote.

Now, Nate Cohn of the New York Times advances this disturbing argument in his news analysis piece titled "Trump's Electoral College Edge Could Grow in 2020, Rewarding Polarizing Campaign" (dated July 19, 2019). Cohn argues that Trump's re-election in 2020 looks plausible, even with a bigger loss in the national popular vote.

In 2016, Trump won the Electoral College votes of certain key battleground states such as Wisconsin and Florida because of white non-college-educated voters. Cohn points out that Trump's resilience in the Milwaukee area in Wisconsin and in the Miami-Dade area in Florida is strong, suggesting that he could once again win those states in 2020.

From Cohn's analysis of Wisconsin and Florida, it appears that national polls of Trump's job approval are not reliable indicators of his resilience in states he won in 2016.

I know, I know, you could argue that the system is rigged because of the Electoral College and that the electoral College should be eliminated or seriously modified. But no such reform is going to happen before the 2020 presidential election.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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