May 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Doug Sosnik on Biden's best path to 270

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

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,690,951 — Total deaths: 355,575 — Total recoveries — 2,350,071Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,699,073 — Total deaths: 100,396 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: CDC issues guidelines for reopening officesFauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine.
  4. States: California hospitals strained by patients in MexicoTexas Supreme Court blocks mail-in expansion to state voters.
  5. Business: MGM plans to reopen major Las Vegas resorts in June — African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs says.
  6. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  7. World: EU proposes a massive pandemic rescue package.
  8. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  9. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  10. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The European Union is considering an $826 billion coronavirus rescue package to fund recovery efforts for all member states, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday.

By the numbers: More than 5.6 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 2.3 million have recovered from the virus. Over 355,500 people have died globally. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 15.1 million tests).

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: Over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Nearly 354,000 Americans have recovered and over 15.1 million tests have been conducted. California became the fourth state with at least 100,000 reported cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, along with Illinois, New Jersey and New York.