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And they're off!


With his win in both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, Donald Trump is clearly the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party for 2024.

Never mind the pathological lying, the corruption, grift, indictments, failure to pay income taxes, misogyny, appeals to racism and xenophobia, Trump as the Republican nominee for president stands about a 50 percent chance of winning in November.  

Now, the same holds true for Joe Biden. The moment a man or woman gets the nod, they have close to even odds of winning given some basic realities.  

Reality number one is that in literally 44 states, there will be no race for president and no campaign. Those 44 states will go as they have for decades for one or the other of the nominees.   California will be reliably blue and Texas reliably red. Same goes for New York (blue) and Florida (red). On and on. Ohio (red), Illinois (blue).  

The six states where virtually 100 percent of the action will take place are Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia.   

Here’s sort of how the numbers look right now.  

Trump is virtually guaranteed 219 electoral votes and Biden is virtually guaranteed 242 electoral votes.  

Assuming this math is true (let’s be honest: if Trump is losing Ohio or Biden is losing New York,  it will be a super early night), then the race will be fought in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. 

Quite frankly, this is a bit generous since Nevada has been reliably blue and Arizona may well flip back to Trump.With that said, there are a lot of demographic realities to contend with (for example, all the battleground states have about 50 percent women and that’s going to prove to be a big problem for the accused (and soon to be convicted, assuming the January 6th trial takes place later this spring).  

By this math, Biden has a lot more paths to 270 than Trump.   

For example, assuming Biden wins Nevada, he will be in a very enviable position. He’ll be only 22 votes away from winning. He could manage this in any number of ways. For example, Biden could secure his victory even if he only wins Wisconsin and Michigan and loses Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona. In the alternative, Biden could lose Michigan (if that happens it might be a harbinger of a bad night for him or a unique issue regarding the large Arab-American population of the state that isn’t happy with Biden’s Middle East policy), but still win if he wins Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Biden could win Pennsylvania and lose Michigan and Wisconsin if he wins either Arizona or Georgia.   

Technically speaking, this is a very powerful position for Biden to start the race.   

Trump on the other hand must win 51 electoral votes. If he runs the table and wins Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, he will still be 18 votes shy of victory, which would necessitate him winning either Pennsylvania and Michigan or Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. If Trump loses Arizona (in addition to Nevada), he will have to run the tables in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan (in this scenario Trump would need to find 35 electoral votes to get to 270). Pennsylvania and Michigan or Pennsylvania and Wisconsin or Wisconsin and Michigan would NOT do the trick.    

I think you get the point. Trump can win this race and Biden can win this race. For all we know, one or the other will win Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and also Arizona and Georgia and sweep the Electoral College easily. 

Public opinion may go all one way or the other, so let’s examine that possibility.  

The economy struggled with inflation the last couple of years but the increase in interest rates seems to have been enough to tamp down price increases and also avoided a recession. The employment picture objectively is the best it has been in nearly five decades. The stock market had a rough 2022 but is now doing very well. Strictly speaking, the economy ought to be Biden’s friend or at least not his enemy.  

Finally, Trump is under indictment and likely to be convicted in connection with the nearly two-month long effort to overturn the results of the 2020 race. Threats, efforts to install fake electors and all the other endeavors I would think would more than likely lead to a conviction.

Are the American people (separate from his angry and rabid base) really going to vote in November for a convicted felon? Hard to imagine but I guess the answer is “we’ll see.”  

And then there’s the supposed “sleeper” issue, which has proved anything but.   

Since June of 2022 when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, every single election bar none where the issue has been on the ballot has gone for the pro-choice position. We’re not just talking about blue states. We are talking Kansas, Ohio and every referendum where the issue has been put to voters.  The American people are absolutely resolute in opposing restrictions on abortion.   

The message to millions of young women, young men, older women and older men that Trump appointed the three Supreme Court associate justices who overturned Roe will be deafening.  

Let’s remember that even in 2022, the Democratic Party outperformed expectations in Pennsylvania (remember Dr. Oz?), Georgia (remember Herschel Walker?) and virtually everywhere else in Senate elections that year (the Democrats actually picked up a Senate seat).   

Imagine when the turnout in November is greater than the midterms. Any “red wave” actually took place in New York and California, not Georgia, Arizona.   

Assuming that the tragic situation in the Middle East is at least calmer in 10 months (it does appear the Israeli war effort, criminal though it is, in Gaza could be winding down), the economy will be Biden’s friend or a neutral issue and the issue of abortion will be Biden’s best friend.   

I predict Biden will either run the table and end up with 313 electors or eke out a victory with 292 electors.  

There is really no telling what will happen but Biden’s cushion and pathways put him in the driver’s seat.

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