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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Some top Democrats are already predicting that President Trump will lose the popular vote again in 2020, but might very well win the election by a single electoral vote.

What they're saying: Jim Messina, President Obama's 2012 campaign manager, predicted the race will come down to two or three states, "We could be sitting on Election Day not knowing who will win."

Here’s one scenario, put forth by Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman: 

  • Democrats flip Michigan and Pennsylvania, increase their stronghold in California, and narrow the loss in Texas — helping Dems win the popular vote by nearly 5 million votes. 
  • But Trump narrowly holds onto Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin — which Democrats are gunning for — and keeps the White House. 

"His electoral coalition is stronger in the states that matter (the Midwest, most notably) than it is nationally," said Kyle Kondik of Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball.

  • Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) pushed back on the assertion that Dems are likely to lose Wisconsin again, arguing that's why the DNC is hosting the 2020 convention in Milwaukee.
  • But don't forget Dems' 2016 national convention was in Philadelphia — and they lost Pennsylvania.
  • And, according to a source familiar with Trump's re-election strategy, the campaign wants to collect as much Florida voter information as early as possible, so they can lock up that key state. That's why his kickoff rally was in Orlando.

The other side: "Everyone always speculates about the map and different states. At the DNC we take nothing for granted and our job is to build the infrastructure to ensure our eventual nominee has multiple pathways to 270 electoral votes," said David Bergstein, DNC Director of Battleground State Communications.

By the numbers: In 2016, Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. He won the electoral vote by 74.

Go deeper: Trump's 2020 map from hell

Go deeper

Updated 29 mins ago - World

HRW: Over 100 former Afghan security members dead or missing under Taliban rule

Members of the Taliban movement patrol Kabul's airport in September. Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

The Taliban have "killed or forcibly disappeared" over 100 former members of Afghanistan's security forces since the group took power in August, a Human Rights Watch report published Tuesday found.

Why it matters: Former military members and officials from the ousted government, activists and other Taliban critics are facing peril amid executions driven by revenge — despite Taliban promises of an "amnesty" with no retributions, notes the New York Times, which first reported the news.

4 hours ago - World

Barbados becomes a republic, replacing U.K. queen with president

Combination images of Dame Sandra Mason, president of Barbados, and Britain's Prince Charles at her swearing-in ceremony in Bridgetown, Barbados, late Monday.

Barbados officially became a republic at midnight local time after Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the Caribbean nation's first president in a ceremony attended by the United Kingdom's Prince Charles.

Why it matters: Mason replaced Britain's Queen Elizabeth as head of state Tuesday — removing the country's final remaining colonial tie to the U.K. almost 400 years after the first British ships arrived in Barbados.

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.