Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Day Two: Apocalypse Now

Good morning, America! How are ya? Guess what? Today is THE day, people! Election day! The day we look the apocalypse in the eye and go, "Fuck you, apocalypse!" Which means either we get to deny said apocalypse by denying Donald Trump the White House or Donald Trump wins the office of President and we're basically telling the apocalypse to bring it on, bitch, because we lost the will to give a fuck. 

But as we stand on the precipice of this great and terrible decision, just exactly how close is Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States of America? Let's do something that Donald Trump and much of his constituents are loathe to do and that's look at some facts. 

To start, Donald Trump has win all the states that Mitt Romney won in 2012. But history reminds us and the alt-right elements of the Republican party refuses to acknowledge, Barack Obama won that race. Which means that Donald Trump has to win MORE states than Mitt Romney.  

But before we get into Trump gaining states, let's look at some states that Trump could lose from the Romney total.

Utah is a bedrock of conservatism and typically goes Republican red. But that conservatism is deeply rooted in a large Mormon population who view Donald Trump with complete disdain. Trump's negatives in Utah are among the lowest in the nation. Still, the comparatively liberal Hillary Clinton may not fly in Utah either. But there is Evan McMullin to consider and if you don't know who he is, that's OK, I don't either. But he's an independent candidate who is BIG in Utah; if he doesn't win the state, he could siphon off enough votes from Trump to give Clinton the win. 

Home state of Senator and former Republican Presidential nominee John McCain, the Republican presence is very strong in Arizona. However, the growth of the Hispanic population in the state is among the highest in the nation and thanks to Trump's negative rhetoric toward Mexican immigrants, they are really eager to vote to keep Trump away from the White House. The Clinton campaign has made a strong presence in the state. Even without a win, Clinton has forced Trump to expend resources in a state that would normally be an easy win for the GOP.

This state will likely stay red on Tuesday night but Clinton's polling numbers have been pretty good here and again, Trump had to spend time and dollars defending a state that should have been firmly in his column.  

North Carolina
While my home state went blue for Obama in 2008, North Carolina tends to vote Republican for President and did so for Romney in 2012. However, the Clinton campaign has invested a lot of time, energy, ad buys and actual presence in the state in the last several weeks with appearances not only by Hillary Clinton herself but also her husband Bill, her running mate Time Kaine, President Obama and Michelle Obama. One thing that's really helping Clinton's numbers in the state is the current mess surrounding HB2 and a great deal of dissatisfaction with Gov. Pat McCrory's handling of the situation which has resulted in a ton of bad publicity for North Carolina and a loss of several million dollars from the state economy. If there is enough disdain over McCrory to lift Democratic challenger Roy Cooper to the Governor's mansion, it would further bolster Clinton's chances to win North Carolina. Still, don't count out the strong evangelical presence in the state that sees HB2 as a positive, McCrory as a hero and Trump as... well, not Hillary.  

The next two states were won by Obama in 2012. However, polls in Ohio have shown Donald Trump with a fairly consistent lead. Ohio's devastated Rust Belt economy is a prime audience for Trump's particular message. 

The other state Obama won in 2012 that is significant to Trump's potential path to success is Florida. Polls in Florida have been all over the place with Trump up, down or tied with Clinton from day to day to day. Recent polling data shows some strong trends towards Hillary Clinton. However, given the volatility of the polls, its fair to say Florida is still up for grabs and it could conceivably fall into Donald's win column. 

The thing is this: every single state listed above will have to go to Trump for him to have any chance to get the 270 electoral votes to win Tuesday night. If even ONE of those states falls to Clinton, then Trump's path to victory is virtually impossible. But even if gets all those states, that equals 253 votes; where does the other 17 come from? 

The easiest and best answer is for Donald Trump to win Pennsylvania whose 20 electoral votes would push him over the top. And like Ohio, Pennsylvania is still feeling the pinch from lost manufacturing jobs. But Pennsylvania hasn't gone red in many, many years and current polling pretty much gives the edge to Clinton. A lot of that success comes from highly populous urban areas, particularly Philadelphia which was the site of the big Clinton campaign event yesterday with her husband and both Obamas.

Still, if Trump is denied Pennsylvania, he could still string together other states. Iowa, Nevada, Maine and New Hampshire would get him to 270 electoral votes. Again, this is assuming he won ALL the states we put forth at the beginning of this post and then goes on to win ALL four of those states. Remember, just 1 state off and Trump's in trouble.  

You could toss in some wild card states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia, Colorado or New Mexico but so far, but the odds do not favor Trump snatching more than 1 or two of these away from Clinton, if any at all.  

So things look good for Hillary Clinton but it's not a 100% lock by any stretch of the imagination. African American vote totals are so far way down compared to 2008 and 2012; black voters were instrumental in bringing Clinton to the Democratic nomination and could be equally important in those states where only one point's difference exists between Clinton and Trump.  

Ultimately, this is all speculation. What counts is the count, the final count of votes and that is happening today. 

Hang on tight, ready or not, here it comes....

One Less Republican

Veteran GOP strategist Steve Schmidt renounced his Republican Party membership. The following is taken from a series of tweets that Schm...