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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.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
15 mins ago - World

John Kerry and China's long road ahead on climate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Brian Snyder/AFP via Getty Images

Yes, special climate envoy John Kerry's really in China and no, don't look for a huge breakthrough between the world's two largest carbon-emitting nations.

Driving the news: The State Department yesterday announced Kerry's visit this week, confirming plans that began emerging Saturday.

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Axios Re:Cap speaks with Coinbase president and COO Emilie Choi about how she thinks about crypto, why Coinbase eschewed a traditional IPO and if we’re ever going to use bitcoin to buy a cup of coffee.