With the primary season concluded, the focus now turns to the general election in November. Between now and then, we will be bombarded with endless attack ads, millions of words from assorted pundits, and enough polling data to fill a black hole. But the reality of the election to come is simple mathematics: Win the states that give you the electoral votes needed for victory. The magic number is 270.
In the months ahead, you will also hear the Clinton and Trump campaigns talking about how they plan to run a 50-state campaign. Neither does or will. Both will focus on securing states they are supposed to win and then the main battle will be over several key swing states. There are 11 of those. Here’s a closer look at them:
The Sun Belt States
(72 electoral votes): Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia.
Of these states, two lean Democratic–Colorado and Nevada–and the others tend to lean Republican. But with a candidate as toxic as Donald Trump as the head of the GOP ticket, once safe bets for the Republicans are now in play. Florida, with its large Hispanic population, should be easy for Clinton to win. North Carolina also looks good for Clinton. Virginia remains tough, but seems to be trending towards the Democrats.
The “Blue Wall” States
(74 electoral votes): Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin.
With the exception of Iowa, all of these states have been solidly Democratic or trending heavily to the Democrats in recent national elections. Clinton should do well in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. And should she win those four states, along with most of the others President Obama carried in 2012, the election will be called early on the evening of November 8.
States Trump Will Try To Shift
California, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, New York.
Trump has been saying recently that he thinks he can win in California and New York, both of which have lots of electoral votes (California 55; New York 29). He will not win California. End of story. Because Trump is a lifelong resident of New York, he believes he has a shot there. He doesn’t. He also won’t win New Jersey. Ditto for Connecticut. He might win Maine, but it has so few electoral votes (4), the Clinton camp will gladly let Trump win there as long as they sweep the other Northeastern states.
States Clinton Will Try To Shift
Arizona, Georgia, Texas.
Arizona–with its large Hispanic population–seems an easy state for Clinton. Georgia and Texas are much more difficult to turn blue. Georgia might begin trending Democratic, but Texas seems safely in the GOP camp, even with Trump leading the ticket.
The race is now on. Between now and November 8, expect to hear lots about the states above. The candidates already have them highlighted on their war room maps.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerca.org.