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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. 

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Jan 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

McConnell slaps back Trump — repeatedly

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell departs the Capitol on Dec. 11. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

It took four years and an election defeat. But someone with real power inside the Republican Party is standing up to — and swatting back — President Trump: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Why it matters: This is a preview of the power struggle that will define the Republican Party in 2021.

Updated 30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Trump received COVID vaccine at White House in January — CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions.
  2. Education: More schools are reopening in the U.S.
  3. Vaccine: J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goals Most states aren't prioritizing prisons for COVID vaccines — Vaccine hesitancy is shrinking.
  4. Economy: Apple says all U.S. stores open for the first time since start of pandemic — What's really going on with the labor market.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.
  6. World: Latin America turns to China and Russia for COVID-19 vaccines.
Dave Lawler, author of World
48 mins ago - World

Latin America turns to China and Russia for COVID-19 vaccines

Several countries in the Americas have received their first vaccine shipments over the past few weeks — not from the regional superpower or from Western pharmaceutical giants, but from China, Russia, and in some cases India.

Why it matters: North and South America have been battered by the pandemic and recorded several of the world’s highest death tolls. Few countries other than the U.S. have the capacity to manufacture vaccines at scale, and most lack the resources to buy their way to the front of the line for imports. That’s led to a scramble for whatever supply is available.