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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

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 mins ago - Economy & Business

Speculative crypto art market takes off

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Move over, GameStop. The newest speculative game in town is NFTs — digital files that can be owned and traded on a plethora of new online platforms.

Why it matters: Most NFTs include some kind of still or moving image, which makes them similar to many physical art objects. Some of them, including a gif of Nyan Cat flying through the sky with a pop-tart body and rainbow trail, can be worth more than your house.

New coronavirus cases fall by 20%

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus infections continued their sharp decline over the past week, and are now back down to pre-Thanksgiving levels.

The big picture: Given the U.S.’ experience over the past year, it can be hard to trust anything that looks like good news, without fearing that another shoe is about to drop. But the U.S. really is doing something right lately. Cases are way down, vaccinations are way up, and that’s going to save a lot of lives.

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.