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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At The Atlantic, Derek Thompson explains why “Why the 2020 election won’t be a 2016 sequel” and cites five key reasons, including: “1. In 2016, the pollsters totally whiffed on the Great Lakes states. In 2020, they’ve changed their methods….2. In 2016, a ton of undecided voters broke late for Trump. In 2020, most of those voters have already decided….3. In 2016, we had the mother of all October surprises. In 2020, we have the most stable race in decades….4. In 2016, district-level polls indicated a last-minute Democratic collapse. In 2020, they indicate Democratic strength….5. In 2016, there wasn’t a global pandemic. In 2020, there is a global pandemic.” Thompson concludes, “Biden holds a solid and steady lead over the incumbent president, while the pandemic is becoming more, not less, of a story as the country heads into the final days of voting…The most important difference between 2016 and 2020 isn’t about polling methodology or the opposing candidate. It’s this: Four years ago, Trump ran on the vague promise of success, and this year he’s running on a clear record of failure. Judging by the polls, Americans have noticed.”

At The Cook Political Report, Amy Walter has a bit of comfort for Democratic nail-biters on this election eve: “To win the election, Trump will need to win every state we currently have in the Toss Up column: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Iowa, Ohio, Maine’s 2nd CD, as well as the newest addition, Texas. Even then, Trump would be 22 electoral votes short of 270. He would need to win at least two of the seven states currently sitting in Lean Democrat: Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, PennsylvaniaNevada and New Hampshire. Trump carried all but Minnesota, Nevada and New Hampshire in 2016….At this point, Ohio and Maine’s 2nd District are probably the most promising for Trump, followed by Texas and Iowa. If he were to win all of those, he’d be at 188 electoral votes, still 82 votes shy of 270. Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina are pure Toss Ups with Biden ahead by anywhere from 1 to 2 points in those states….In Pennsylvania, the conventional wisdom, as well as the Trump campaign, see a tightening race. The FiveThirtyEight polling average puts Biden ahead by 5 points. But, congressional district polling paints a different — and more difficult — picture for the president. These polls find Biden expanding Clinton’s margins in suburban Philadelphia, but also find Trump failing to put up the same kind of numbers he did in 2016 in central, western and northeastern Pennsylvania.”

“Without discounting the possibility of an upset,” Ronald Brownstein writes, “Tuesday’s results are likely to demonstrate that the Democrats’ coalition of transformation is now larger—even much larger—than the Republicans’ coalition of restoration…With Trump solidifying the GOP’s transformation into a “white-identity party … a nationalist party, not unlike parties you see in Europe, … you see the Democratic Party becoming the party of literally everyone else,” as the longtime Republican political consultant Michael Madrid, a co-founder of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, told me….Even in the unlikely (but not inconceivable) event that Trump squeezes out another Electoral College victory, it seems almost certain that Biden will win the national popular vote. If he does, Democrats will have won the most votes in seven of the past eight presidential elections. No party has managed that since the formation of the modern party system in 1828. Likewise, the 47 current Democratic senators won 14 million more votes in their most recent elections than the 53 current Republicans, according to calculations by the Brookings Institution’s Molly Reynolds. With Democrats poised for Senate gains in midsize and larger states—such as Colorado, Arizona, and possibly North Carolina and Georgia—that imbalance will widen next week. Democrats don’t have the power in Washington to show for it right now, but in this century they have a much stronger claim than Republicans to be the nation’s majority party.”

Alan I Abramowitz shares  his “Final Forecast: Results from Two Methods of Predicting the 2020 Presidential Election” for the presidential election at Sabato’s Crystal Ball. Abramowitz, author of The Great Alignment: Race, Party Transformation, and the Rise of Donald Trump, writes: “Two different methods of forecasting the 2020 presidential election, one based on an aggregate level model of the national electoral vote and one based on individual state polling data, yield almost identical predictions of the outcome. The aggregate level model, first published in early August, predicts a Biden margin of 345-193 in the electoral vote. A forecast based on simply combining the results of recent state polls predicts a Biden margin of 350-188. Both predictions are extremely close to the latest forecast from the much more complex FiveThirtyEight model.”

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