Without question, the 2020 election cycle has been one for the history books. Between the impeachment and acquittal of President Trump, the novel coronavirus, and civil unrest in the past eight months have set up an immensely important election this November. With the highest office in the nation at stake, Democrats and Republicans are spending millions of dollars to sway the future of America, in the hopes of reaching the magic number of 270.
Like in 2016, Trump does have an uphill battle ahead of him as former-Vice President Biden has approximately two hundred electoral votes that are virtually impossible for Republicans to flip. Currently, the GOP only has approximately one hundred and twenty electoral votes that are almost certain to be theirs. So, the question must be asked: how can Trump’s campaign close this gap?
On the night of the election in 2016, Trump had to run a very narrow gauntlet, picking up virtually every swing state and then some to get to the White House. Now, however, the gauntlet has narrowed even further as new states are in play and President Trump is now no longer a political outsider. Nonetheless, there are still numerous paths Trump can take to get to 270 and beyond.
The most apparent path surprisingly comes from looking at the 2012 Presidential election results where President Obama was able to defeat then-Governor Romney by 126 electoral votes. Here, Trump would need to pick up three states Romney did not get in order to get to 273 electoral votes: Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. From there, Trump would also have to win every single other state that Romney won, which includes Arizona and North Carolina, in order to barely edge out Biden for a second term.
Although this may seem to be a simple task for the Trump campaign since he won these three states in 2016, this couldn’t possibly be further from the case. According to the RealClearPolitics, Trump seems to be behind Biden in the vast majority of recent polls. In Florida, President Trump is down an average of five points; in Pennsylvania, he’s down six and a half. Ohio is a dead heat.
Sadly, this is not the end of the bad news for Trump. In the two aforementioned states Romney won in 2012, Arizona and North Carolina, Biden is leading Trump in both states by about three points. Arizona is particularly interesting to look at because, during the past six election cycles, Republicans have won the state by a notable margin. However, in the 2018 midterm election, Kyrsten Sinema (D) beat out Martha McSally (R) by two and a half points to win the Senate seat vacated by then-Senator Jeff Flake (R).
Although this narrow route for Trump is possible, the likelihood of this happening perfectly is far from guaranteed. Thus, it must be asked how Trump could recover from losing one of the states mentioned above. For example, Trump losing Florida would be disastrous as Florida is worth 29 electoral votes. However, if he can win all the other major swing states, as well as pick up Michigan and Wisconsin, it would put him right at 270. Furthermore, if he could retain Iowa from his 2016 victory, he would be able to get to 276.
However, if Trump were to lose two swing states, most likely being Florida and Pennsylvania (for a combined 49 electoral votes), it becomes extremely difficult for Trump to have a second term. To recover from this scenario, Trump would have to sweep the Rust Belt as he did in 2016 and two or three states he lost in 2016. The most likely states for this to happen in would be Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, and New Hampshire. For example, if he were to win Nevada and Colorado, he could get to 271. However, this scenario, while being a theoretical possibility, has virtually no chance of happening.
Although President Trump currently trails in the polls, he undoubtedly has some paths that can take him to 270 electoral votes. However, as time ticks down to Election Day, it remains to be seen if Trump will be capable of repeating his journey to 270.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.