To win in 2020, I think President Donald J. Trump (R-Florida) needs to carry eight states; Texas, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and North Carolina. If Trump loses any of those states, I think he will fail.
Specifically, Trump needs Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and Florida, because of the large number of Electoral College Votes they can deliver. Texas; for example, will have 38 Electoral College votes in 2020, the National Archives estimates.
Meanwhile, Georgia will have 16 Electoral College votes, and Florida will have 29 Electoral College votes. Finally, North Carolina offers 15 Electoral votes.
If Trump loses two of those states, I think it will be game over. Moreover, I cannot see Trump winning without Texas and Florida. Those two states will deliver 67 Electoral College votes in 2020. If Democrats win in either Florida or Texas, Trump will star in The New Celebrity Apprentice for the Fall 2021 TV season.
Why Trump Needs Texas and Florida
The good news for Trump is that historically Texas has been a Republican bastion. However, Florida is unpredictable. Democrats carried Florida in 2008 and 2012 but lost in 2016. Remember, it was the controversial Florida election that gave George W. Bush (R-Texas) victory without a popular majority in 2000.
Thus, Florida will be Trump’s biggest headache in 2020, but Texas could be problematic. The Republican share of the Texas vote is shrinking, Vox notes. In 2012, Senator Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts) beat President Barack Obama (D-Illinois) by a margin of 16%.
However Trump beat Hillary R. Clinton (D-New York) by a margin of 9%. Thus, Republicans lost 7% of their support in Texas in four years. If that trend repeats in 2020, Trump will still win Texas by 2%. However, Democrats could win Texas in 2024, if current trends persist.
Consequently, Trump will need to focus a lot of resources on Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida. The Donald will spend a lot of time and money in those four states.
However, Trump could theoretically lose North Carolina or Georgia and still win reelection. To explain, Trump does not need Georgia or North Carolina, if he carries the rest of the eight states.
The States that Could Reelect Trump
Outside the Big Four, Trump will need to carry Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Hence the Donald needs to sweep the rust belt to return to the White House.
In 2016, it was narrow victories in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wisconsin that put Trump over the top. For instance, Trump carried Wisconsin by 22,748 votes, The New York Times estimates. Meanwhile, Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes, and Pennsylvania by 44,292 votes.
Under these circumstances, Trump’s victory will rest on Republican get-out-the-vote efforts and voter suppression. If either of those efforts falters, the Donald goes home to Mira Largo in January 2021.
The Battle for the Rust Belt
Interestingly, Democrats did well in Wisconsin and Michigan in 2018. For instance, Democrats won the Michigan governor’s race by a margin of 53.3% to 43.7%, and the US Senate seat by 52.3%, Politico estimates. Thus, Michigan appears hostile to Trump in 2020.
Meanwhile, Democrats won the U.S. Senate seat in Wisconsin by a margin of 56% to 45%, and the governorship by 50% to 48% in 2018, NPR estimates. Thus, I think Wisconsin will be competitive in 2020 but Michigan will not.
Ohio could be even worse because that state elected a Democratic Senator and a Republican governor in 2018. Politico estimates Ohio voters elected Mike DeWine (R) Governor by a margin of 50.4% to 46.7%. However, the same voters sent Sherrod Brown (D) to the Senate with a vote of 53.4% to 46.6%.
Thus the Rust Belt will be a brutal battlefield in 2020. I do not think Trump will win without a high turnout of white males in the Rust Belt next year.