Sep 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The Biden blowout scenario

Joe Biden speaks at an outdoor Black Economic Summit in Charlotte yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Joe Biden or President Trump could win the election narrowly — but only one in a popular and electoral vote blowout. 

Why it matters: A Biden blowout would mean a Democratic Senate, a bigger Democratic House and a huge political and policy shift nationwide.

  • The reason this scenario is worth reflecting on is both the consequences, and because campaign advisers in both camps see it as a possibility. 

Polls show the path for Biden is quite plausible: He is winning in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and essentially even in Florida — all Trump states in 2016.

  • And remember: Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million last time to a much more unpopular Democrat, Hillary Clinton. 

Biden, thanks in part to changing demographics, is running close or better in red states Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Iowa and North Carolina.

  • In 2018, Democrats saw record turnout, especially among women. The early requests for ballots in key states suggest the enthusiasm persists at record levels. 
  • Democrats are raising money like rich Republicans — and, in fact, have a lot more than Trump and his allies, even though they are out of power.

Between the lines: The N.Y. Times' Nate Cohn puts it this way: "[A] Biden landslide is just as real a possibility as a Trump victory."

  • "If Mr. Biden outperformed today’s polls by just two points, he would be declared the winner early on election night and have a good shot at the largest electoral vote landslide since 1988."

The bottom line: Trump has few paths to the presidency if he loses Florida or in the upper Midwest. His team believes Minnesota is a state he lost that he could now win, but polls suggest otherwise. 

  • So, once again, his best and maybe only chance is to lose the popular vote and replicate razor-thin wins in the same states as last time. 
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