Doug Sosnik on Biden’s best path to 270 Electoral College Votes
Doug Sosnik, who was the White House political director during President Clinton’s successful re-election race, writes for Axios that during President Trump’s first term, the country completed a political realignment that began in 1992.
Why it matters: With this realignment, the electoral college map is changing for the first time since 1992. So Trump is running on different terrain than in 2016.
- Changing demographics: The fastest-growing demographic groups — nonwhites and millennials (now the largest voting bloc) — are D-friendly.
- Women are increasingly abandoning the Republican Party.
- More-educated voters are increasingly Democratic.
- Suburbs, which constitute an increasing share of the U.S. population, are moving D.
What to watch
Rust Belt’s traditional battlegrounds:
- Trump’s chance of winning Michigan, which he carried by 11,000 votes in 2016, has been significantly reduced by the impact of COVID-19 in the state, which has suffered the fourth most deaths in the country.
- Pennsylvania has almost been as hard hit as Michigan (fifth most deaths).
- Of the three Rust Belt states, Trump is best positioned in Wisconsin, where his job approval has remained higher than the national average.
West and South emerge as new Democratic base:
- Seven western states — California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington — are firmly in the Democratic column.
- Six states in the South and Southwest — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia — are in various stages of becoming blue states.
- Outside of Virginia, which has already become a blue state, Arizona is the state most likely to transition to a Democratic base state as early as November.
Biden’s most likely paths to 270 electoral college votes:
- Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona: Biden wins all three states — his best option, given the political environment. (Map)
- Michigan and Pennsylvania + two congressional districts — Nebraska-02 and Maine-02. (Map)
- The Rust Belt: Biden wins Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. (Map)
- Michigan and the Sunbelt: Biden carries Michigan, Arizona and North Carolina. (Map)
- Florida +1: Biden carries Florida, getting him to 261 electoral votes. A win in any of the other battleground states would put him well past 270. (Map)
The bottom line: Biden’s best strategy:
- Make putting Michigan out of reach for Trump the top priority.
- Lock up Pennsylvania.
- Prioritize winning Arizona, Maine-02 and Nebraska-02.
- Focus remaining resources on Wisconsin, North Carolina and Florida.
Go deeper: Read Doug Sosnik’s full analysis, “The Post-Political-Realignment Electoral College Map.”
Very interesting analysis. If Trump does not win Florida, he is pretty much sunk right then and there. Whereas there is no single swing state that Biden must truly have, Trump has to get Florida.
One key variable that is missing in this piece: the three head-to-head debates in the autumn. Simply put, Trump will eat Biden alive, a la throwing meat to a shark. It will be just as bad if not worse than when Kamela Harris pummeled him in the primary (his stock went up, uncoincidentally, once Harris withdrew from the race). The national debates promise to make the election a little closer and more interesting.
Susan Anthony says
Note: The National Popular Vote bill is 73% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by changing state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.
It requires enacting states with 270 electoral votes to award their electoral votes to the winner of the most national popular votes.
All voters would be valued equally in presidential elections, no matter where they live.