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Photo: JoeBiden.com via Getty Images

Doug Sosnik, who was the White House political director during President Clinton's successful re-election race, writes for Axios that during President Trump’s first term, the country completed a political realignment that began in 1992.

Why it matters: With this realignment, the electoral college map is changing for the first time since 1992. So Trump is running on different terrain than in 2016.

The realignment:

  • Changing demographics: The fastest-growing demographic groups — nonwhites and millennials (now the largest voting bloc) — are D-friendly.
  • Women are increasingly abandoning the Republican Party.
  • More-educated voters are increasingly Democratic.
  • Suburbs, which constitute an increasing share of the U.S. population, are moving D.
What to watch

Rust Belt's traditional battlegrounds:

  • Trump’s chance of winning Michigan, which he carried by 11,000 votes in 2016, has been significantly reduced by the impact of COVID-19 in the state, which has suffered the fourth most deaths in the country.
  • Pennsylvania has almost been as hard hit as Michigan (fifth most deaths).
  • Of the three Rust Belt states, Trump is best positioned in Wisconsin, where his job approval has remained higher than the national average.

West and South emerge as new Democratic base:

  • Seven western states — California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington — are firmly in the Democratic column.
  • Six states in the South and Southwest — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia — are in various stages of becoming blue states.
  • Outside of Virginia, which has already become a blue state, Arizona is the state most likely to transition to a Democratic base state as early as November.

Biden’s most likely paths to 270 electoral college votes:

  1. Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona: Biden wins all three states — his best option, given the political environment. (Map)
  2. Michigan and Pennsylvania + two congressional districts — Nebraska-02 and Maine-02. (Map)
  3. The Rust Belt: Biden wins Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. (Map)
  4. Michigan and the Sunbelt: Biden carries Michigan, Arizona and North Carolina. (Map)
  5. Florida +1: Biden carries Florida, getting him to 261 electoral votes. A win in any of the other battleground states would put him well past 270. (Map)

The bottom line: Biden's best strategy:

  1. Make putting Michigan out of reach for Trump the top priority.
  2. Lock up Pennsylvania.
  3. Prioritize winning Arizona, Maine-02 and Nebraska-02.
  4. Focus remaining resources on Wisconsin, North Carolina and Florida.

Go deeper: Read Doug Sosnik's full analysis, "The Post-Political-Realignment Electoral College Map."

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Aug 21, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Biden emphasizes climate change during his biggest moment

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden emphasized climate change in his speech accepting the Democratic nomination Thursday night, as the days leading up to it offered fresh evidence of the problem's scale and tensions within his coalition.

Why it matters: It was a statement of priority in the most important speech of Biden's campaign to unseat President Trump, and the address mentioned the topic repeatedly.

Dave Lawler, author of World
59 mins ago - World

How Biden might tackle the Iran deal

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four more years of President Trump would almost certainly kill the Iran nuclear deal — but the election of Joe Biden wouldn’t necessarily save it.

The big picture: Rescuing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is near the top of Biden's foreign policy priority list. He says he'd re-enter the deal once Iran returns to compliance, and use it as the basis on which to negotiate a broader and longer-lasting deal with Iran.

Kamala Harris, the new left's insider

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images     

Progressive leaders see Sen. Kamala Harris, if she's elected vice president, as their conduit to a post-Biden Democratic Party where the power will be in younger, more diverse and more liberal hands.

  • Why it matters: The party's rising left sees Harris as the best hope for penetrating Joe Biden's older, largely white inner circle.

If Biden wins, Harris will become the first woman, first Black American and first Indian American to serve as a U.S. vice president — and would instantly be seen as the first in line for the presidency should Biden decide against seeking a second term.