In November 2016 depending upon who you supported, you are very sure of the outcome in the presidential election. Trump supporters were very confident that he was going to win. according to them all you had to do was look at the size of his rallies and the enthusiasm among Republican voters. Democrats on the other hand were extremely confident about Clinton. All you had to do was look at the national polls. After all, Clinton was leading Trump nationally by 3 to 6%.
As it turned out the polls were correct. Hillary Clinton received over 3 million more votes than Trump. So how did Donald Trump become president? That pesky little thing called The electoral college gave us our current president. I won’t go into all of the history of the electoral college or examine whether or not it is fair. The fact of the matter is the electoral college exists. Whether you support the re-election of Trump, or the election of Biden, we have to examine the probability of either candidate being victorious through the lens of the electoral college. Right now it doesn’t look good for Trump and he might be taking the Republican Senate majority with him.
Up until the coronavirus there were four battleground states where the election is going to be decided. Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin looked like the states where the election is going to be decided this year. Without those States the Democrats go into this November with 245 electoral votes, the Republicans go into this November with 215 electoral votes, and 75 votes are undecided. Based on these numbers the electoral college map looks like this.
Republicans were very confident. All they had to do was replicate their strategy in 2016 and winning these states again in 2020 should be a relatively easy task. However, Republicans did not anticipate the Coronavirus. They did not anticipate the stock market declining below the 19,000 mark (DOW Jones) where it was when Trump took office. The Republicans never imagined that we would be looking at 20% unemployment in the summer before the election.
Based on the current sentiment of voters, Trump’s positions in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin look very different today.
According to some polling reported by thestreet.com, Trump is losing in Texas and Ohio. If the Democrats routine California, Illinois, and New York, and pick up Texas or Ohio, there is absolutely no path to victory for Trump. The electoral college would look a lot like this.
An electoral college loss like this would be devastating to the Republican brand. I remember having conversations when Barack Obama won about whether or not Republicans would ever be able to regain control of the White House. In retrospect those musings were extremely optimistic. Losing Texas and or Ohio would give Democrats enough control in the Congress and White House to implement ideas that would be a referendum on Republican ideology going back to Reagan.
If Democrats do win in such an overwhelmingly convincing way, one that repudiates Republican orthodoxy, here are a few things that must be a priority in a post Trump world.
- Mail-in ballots are paramount to opening up participation to the largest number of Americans. Inclusion of all voters is something that Republicans have fought against since this country’s inception
- There must be a robust jobs program inclusive of a national infrastructure program. This will put people to work while taking advantage of historically low interest rates at which money can be borrowed.
- Republicans must finally break the back of the NRA and implement the national gun-control that 90% of Americans have supported for over two decades.
- Citizens united must be addressed by a Law & order Constitutional Amendment that defines money as property and not speech. This will centralized decision-making back in the hands of the people and take it out of the hands of special interests.
- We must create a Marshall plan for the next generation, at least 20 years, that invests in the education of our citizenry. This can be in the form of free or near free college and trade program education. As much as we talked about infrastructure in terms of bridges, waterways, and energy, our intellectual infrastructure must be fortified to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
- Finally and perhaps most importantly, our tax code needs to be rewritten to benefit people at the bottom. We have experimented with trickle down economics since 1981, and while productivity has increased by orders of magnitude, all of the benefits have gone to people at the top. This is unsustainable, and our tax code must be re-written to acknowledge this fact.
If Democrats do win overwhelmingly this November, if the dissatisfaction with the Republican party is such that the majority of Americans give power back to the Democratic party, they must move swiftly and aggressively. Republicans have shown little intellectual honesty about fairness and sharing of power. They have done everything to force their failing ideology on the United States, and one could say the rest of the world. Democrats must capitalize on the momentum of true populism that is sweeping the country, and dare I say the globe.