To say that this election has been unconventional would not only be a huge “duh” moment, but at this point would even border on the cliche. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have managed to turn the race for what should be the most prestigious office in our country into a trashy reality tv show someone might watch on TLC. However, this is not to suggest that there isn’t anything left in the disappointment that was this election to analyze or that a class A nerd like myself still won’t play fortune-teller and try to predict the outcome of this race. So…here it is
State of the Race:
At the time I am writing this we are roughly two weeks out from election day, and the Real Clear Politics poll average has Clinton up by 6 nation-wide with 48% of the vote to Trump’s 42%. However, this poll is absolutely meaningless and tells us nothing #ThanksElectoralCollege; sorry for even wasting your time by typing that out. Let’s look at the electoral map instead: as it stands at the time of publication, Clinton is projected to win 226 electoral college votes to Trump’s 170. Not a good look for The Donald. There are currently eight states where the margin between Clinton and Trump are close enough to be considered a “toss-up:” Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Nevada, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Arizona. For Clinton to win the Presidency she needs to win just one of these states (or win both Iowa and Nevada.) For Trump to win, he needs to win seven out of eight of these states. Really not looking good for the Donald.
How Trump Could Win:
The truth of the matter is that this race is now Hillary’s to lose, there is no denying that fact. The only problem is, while Trump might be the only Republican that could possibly lose to Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton is probably the only Democrat that could lose to Donald Trump. At the end of the day this race is going to come down to who can get the most voter turnout in the states that matter. Of the state’s that are currently considered too close to call, three of them went for Romney in 2012 (NC, IN, AZ), the remaining five voted blue (FL, OH, NV, MN, IA). Assuming that Trump is able to eak out a victory in North Carolina, Indiana, and Arizona and can keep his current leads in Ohio and Iowa he would have 231 electoral votes. If Trump is able to get to this point, he would next have to win Florida. Clinton is currently leading in the state by 4% in a poll that has a margin of error of 4%, meaning Trump has a chance. If turnout is low in the state, especially among minorities and millennials, Trump could eak out another victory, putting him at 260. This leaves Minnesota and Nevada further complicating things for Trump. Winning only Nevada is not an option, with only 6 electoral votes it would not carry Trump to the magic 270 needed to win. This means that Trump’s only option is Minnesota. As of late September, pre-Trump video and allegations of sexual harassment, Clinton led Trump in Minnesota by 4%. It stands to reason that the gap may have expanded since the last poll. It only gets worse when you consider the electoral history does not look good for the Republicans. For example,the last time Minnesota voted for a Republican in a Presidential campaign was 1972. The good news however is that they have elected three Republican Governors in that same period, so a Republican victory is not unheard of (just in case you were wondering what that whooshing sounds is, it was the Trump campaign grasping at straws.) While the likelihood of Trump winning this state is slim, it is the only way he can get to 270.
How Clinton Could Win:
She needs 6 Electoral Votes, she could literally win one of any state that is not Iowa or Nevada. As long as she is able to get voters out in Minnesota (or again any of the eight toss-up states) the math works against Trump. Pending an October surprise of unprecedented proportions, we will all be saying President Clinton again come January 20th. The only interesting part about Hillary’s path to victory is that she might lose Ohio and Florida, but still when the Presidency. Not only is this unusual in modern presidential politics, it’s simply unheard of. In fact the last President to win the White House, but lose both Ohio and Florida was John Kennedy; the last Republican to do it wore a stove top hat and had a beard. This fact, combined with Clinton’s competitiveness in traditionally red states like Georgia, North Carolina, and Indiana, could be signaling a realignment in American electoral politics.
Hillary will win, with a final score of 333-205. Ohio, and Iowa will go to Trump.
Photo Credit: Forbes Magazine