Trump Can Still Win. How?
Diving Into the Data and Messaging
The conventional and likely correct thinking in the world of political scientists is that Biden is headed for a landslide. This is the consensus map from 270ToWin.com. Almost all of their maps collected from experts show Biden currently over 290.
We will discuss accuracy in polling at a different time, but in the meantime:
Why is Biden winning?
I believe it is due to the central question of 2020: Can you really handle four more years of this? Exhaustion with the President is significant. Former President Obama made this case effectively recently:
While Trump may have the advantage in rallies, the excitement on both sides is taking place at early voting stations. In Austin, Texas, 97% of Travis County is registered. Here locally, the average wait time is 1-3 hours. Some folks in Georgia are waiting 11 hours! The Democrats that sat home for Clinton won’t make the same mistake. It’s a safe bet that 2020 is not 2016, and Trump supporters shouldn’t expect a miracle. It is likely a safe bet everyone is playing it safe with polls and predictions that give a false sense of confidence in a Trump resurgence despite some good signs for him. Overall, I would say the safe bet is for Biden given Trump’s constant self-immolation.
But… Trump stopped the bleeding last night.
This was Trump’s best debate and he showed his intelligence. With some discipline, he can be effective. It’s a reminder of how he’s squandered his Presidency through self-indulgence.
Will he be disciplined now and shut up about the Hunter Biden stuff? Like Billy Carter or any other wayward sons or brothers, no one cares and it isn’t effective. This is as thin as the Steele Dossier, and that didn’t matter in 2016.
What is effective? A strong message against “Biden Care” and tax increases.
Then there was this unforced error by Biden that Trump can seize on (and he clearly saw the gift):
This will really hurt him in Texas and Pennsylvania.
So how can this translate into a Trump win given his map is already very tough?
First, we have to understand the 88 million working-class Americans in this country. Few analysts in this country have identified their love for Trump like Mark Blyth. This new podcast is an essential listen on the 2020 race:
As is this video on why Trump won in 2016.
Let’s say Trump effectively changes his messaging to rally his base and to scare squishy Republicans and Independents back towards him on issues of economics. It is the only issue where he does well, as exemplified in polls on last night’s debate:
In my mind, this is what the map would look like.
Despite not voting R in a Presidential election since 1972, Kanye West made the ballot there. He is on the ballot in Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and Vermont.
Iowa and Minnesota are in play, and the irony vote could swing it to Trump.
Let’s give Trump both Texas and Pennsylvania due to the oil comments. We will also give him Ohio and Georgia due to his messaging change.
In my mind, this is Trump’s only path to victory. It requires some pretty big miracles for the Trump campaign. First, Trump has to be disciplined and quiet. He can do it. We saw it during the Kavanagh hearings when he barely tweeted for a month.
Secondly, it means a MASSIVE influx of money to deploy this strategy. He has blown a billion dollars. Trump entered this race with a giant war chest. He had spent four years running a general election campaign, and he essentially exhausted his donor base. Big donors no longer are willing to attach their names to him. He hasn’t even contributed to his own campaign. Democrats were worried that Biden would never catch up to this fundraising and digital marketing advantage.
See if this sounds familiar. Due to bad decision-making and incompetence, Trump is broke. It means he may not have the ability to capitalize on this new lane that opened up by talking to the millions of voters in swing states he needs to close the gap. Once again, he has become his own worst enemy.
I am not predicting this as an outcome, but more as an exercise on how Trump can come back.
If I were making a prediction, I would flip Georgia to Biden. It seems far fetched, but 33% of the electorate is under 35. Suburban white women are tipping the scales. A million new voters have registered to vote. One can never underestimate the power of revenge, either. After Kemp’s 1 point victory over Stacy Abrams two years ago, there is a feeling of resentment over voting roll purges and the removal of voting machines.
That makes the map look more like this with 270 being a win: