A Trump president just over the border. Imagine!
As a former U.S. political operative now living in Montreal, I often get asked if Trump has a real chance at winning the presidency. People then follow up by stating « but he is close to Hillary in the polls » or even « he is up by two points in a most recent poll! »
In the recent weeks, both major political parties have held their conventions and the result was Donald Trump seeing a convention bump giving him a brief two to three per cent lead over Hillary Clinton. However, this was short-lived as leads were reversed following the Democratic National Convention.
If Donald Trump is ahead in some polls now or in the future, the factor you should take into account is the electoral college. This is where the Clinton campaign began a well-coordinated organization by establishing a strategic ground game in all 50 states, and specifically within certain ones to win a certain number of electors to bring them to a certain amount the campaign believes it can win with.
A brief overlook at the electoral college: It is made up of 538 electors. The minimum that is needed to be elected president is 270 (assuming it is only two candidates from two parties who win electors.) Each state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives, plus two for its senators.
Given this, projections indicate the Clinton campaign has pulled ahead in traditionally Republican states such as Utah, Colorado, Virginia and Florida, and now it looks like the Trump campaign should worry about losing the long-time solid Republican state of Virginia, whose status has shifted to a toss-up just leaning Republican.
Mr. Trump’s campaign is focusing on a smaller map of swing states that were must-wins in the last few presidential elections for Republicans, but this strategy puts him on a path that forces his campaign to put Pennsylvania as an absolute must-win state. The Trump campaign is trying to position themselves to win the Rust Belt state of Michigan, which is a toss-up state The problem is the state of Pennsylvania has not been won by a Republican presidential candidate since 1988 by George H.W. Bush.
For six presidential elections, Democrats have won a consistent set of 18 states, giving them a base of 242 electoral college votes even before counting any of the biggest swing states. The Trump campaign finds themselves playing defensive in a large majority of the usual swing states and even sees some states that have traditionally voted Republican-leaning Democrat this election. This gives the Clinton campaign a more offensive outlook in most of the usual toss-up states.
Most projections, including the average of each state’s polls, show Hillary Clinton winning the presidency over Donald Trump with 322 electoral votes to his 216, a victory of at least 60 per cent if the election was held today. This puts Hillary Clinton in line for a technical political victory landslide!
Outside a major event changing the political climate and the American electorate, I believe this race is on track to see the biggest electoral college win since the 1992 presidential election when incumbent President George H.W. Bush lost with his 168 electoral votes to Bill Clinton’s 370. We have exactly three more months to watch this unravel…