I wanted to stick with the Nerdy Time theme to readily identify this column for my readers but I could have just as well called it ‘Twas The Math Before The First Debate because that is what I intend to cover today. Specifically I want to take a look at where I think the Electoral College votes stand as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump prepare to face off in the first of three scheduled 2016 Presidential Debates. Let’s explore.
We have reached the point where the only thing that matters in this presidential contest is who can reach 270 electoral votes. Everything else is a superfluous distraction. My very conservative math shows Hillary Clinton holds a huge advantage.
I am giving Clinton 255 electoral votes (15 short of the magic 270) and Trump 170 as we enter Monday night’s event. Let me explain how I arrived at those numbers.
I gave Clinton the District of Columbia and the 18 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin) which have gone Democratic in the last six consecutive presidential elections. The only state I added to her total was Virginia. I feel that Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine can carry his home state for the ticket.
I gave Trump the following 21 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
That leaves 10 states: Arizona (11), Colorado (9), Florida (29), Iowa (6), Missouri (10), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (15) and Ohio (18) for a total of 113 electoral votes “on the table”. In order to win the presidency Trump would have to win 100 or over 88% of the votes in play; that is highly unlikely.
Clinton in contrast could close out the election by taking Florida, North Carolina or Ohio. That makes all of them must wins for Trump. If the election were today baring early surprises I would be willing to call the contest for Hillary if she took any one of those three states.
Please note I’m not being a liberal cheerleader. I have conceded Georgia, South Carolina and Utah to Trump. Making them appear to be battlegrounds is great for ratings but I’m not looking for them to go blue on November 8th.
The bottom line is that as of this moment Clinton has many more paths to victory than Trump. In that respect (and perhaps no other) 2016 resembles 2012.
Before I let you go I must relay a thought I have about the debates. I expect Hillary to be the bait that gets Trump to commit an unforced error. He is a misogynist at heart. That coupled with his ego and limited intelligence will force him to utter something sexist before the debates are over. The Clinton forces know that and if they are as smart as I think they are they will wait for the third session to score that knockout punch. We’ll all have to wait and see. You know I’ll be watching.
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