“Fears of a Trump Planet” could have been a Public Enemy follow-up album title released during the first half of 2016. But as of today, Donald Trump appears to be fading as fast as his staff is changing. No doubt, Trump continues to resonate with some voters, but he keeps sabotaging his own campaign. The Republican message that Hillary is untrustworthy, and trying to paint her as corrupt, has been overshadowed by Trump being a complete blowhard with no ideas who can’t run a campaign, not to mention a business.
For Hillary Clinton, this has become a one-issue race: Donald Trump is a bad guy. That’s all she really needs to do to win. Sadly, this campaign hasn’t been about substance. The Republican Party ideas and policies haven’t been fully analyzed because Donald Trump’s idiotic rants and Twitter posts are getting all the attention. So, even if Donald Trump does poorly on election day, that won’t be because the voters rejected the Republican Party platform; they just didn’t want a 70-year old Richie Rich running the country. It is unclear what this means for Congress, which is the true race to watch.
Meanwhile, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are looking to break their parties’ records for percentage of the vote. Gary Johnson may capture 5% of the vote (and may exceed 10-15% in the Intermountain West), and Stein 2% (if she doesn’t request all of us give up our WiFi and vaccinations). Polls indicate is it very likely that as many as 10 states will be won with less than 50% of the vote. (For reference, in 2008, 4 states were won with less than 50% of the vote; and in 2012 no states were won with less than 50% of the vote).
A breakdown of the current state of the race is below. The race has become much clearer as Hillary Clinton pulls away in several of the key swing states, like Colorado, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Utah remains an interesting contest because there are efforts to defeat Trump through a third party Republican, while Gary Johnson continues to poll well.
Trump has not polled well in key battleground states that are less diverse like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, as was his original hope. Only Iowa seems to be staying close.
While there is talk of a few heavily red states slipping away from Donald Trump; I just don’t see it yet. The Conservative-Fox News-Rush Limbaugh media machine still keeps many voters in conservative states blissfully ignorant of reality. For instance, I still see Arkansas as safe for Trump, as well as Alabama and Mississippi given recent polling. Yet after being solidly red for years, Arizona and Georgia have a real chance of flipping, and even Kansas might be finally waking up to what’s the matter with it.
Safe Republican – 66 electoral votes
Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska (all other), North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming
Likely Republican – 76 electoral votes
Alaska, Kansas, Montana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah
Leans Republican – 12 electoral votes
Indiana, Nebraska (CD-2)
Toss Up – 37 electoral votes
Arizona, Georgia, Missouri
Leans Democratic – 68 electoral votes
Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio
Likely Democratic – 94 electoral votes
Colorado, Maine (CD-2), Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin
Safe Democratic – 185 electoral votes
California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine (all other), Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington State
On June 27, I determined that Hillary Clinton had 332 electoral votes in her favor compared with 159 at least leaning towards Donald Trump. I had 47 electoral votes as “Toss-ups”.
On August 19, it appears that Hillary Clinton has 347 electoral votes at least leaning in her favor; while Donald Trump has 154. There are 37 electoral votes in the “Toss Up” column. Even if Clinton wins just Safe and Likely contests, she’ll have 279 electoral votes, which is enough to win. That means she could lose Florida, Iowa, and Ohio and still win. How is this possible? Well John Kerry lost Iowa, Ohio, and Florida, but also Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Virginia. Hillary Clinton is up by between 8 and 15 points in those four states.
If the election was held tomorrow, it appears the worst Clinton would do is to not crack 300 electoral votes. At best, she could win over 400 electoral votes and over 30 states.
But she can not get complacent. She can’t have a bad debate performance, or blow an interview. Remember, she hasn’t had too many press conferences lately. And if she does win, a Hillary Clinton presidency might not get a lot done with a Republican-controlled House and Senate. That’s why winning Arizona and Georgia and doing well enough in states like Florida, Ohio, and Virginia are critical. Clinton needs to bring people to the polls who will vote down-ticket for Democrats. Hopefully Republicans won’t turn out in as high numbers, but Democrats must turn out; even Bernie supporters eager to make marijuana legal.
The election still has 2½ months to go. Things will change. But for now another Clinton presidency is becoming more and more likely. Will Congress follow?