Forget Virginia. Or Colorado. Or lots of other traditional swing states. Right now, Donald Trump's campaign is in such bad free fall, states that haven't voted for a Democrat in generations are suddenly coming into play as the Republican nominee's path to 270 electoral votes collapses all around him.
Over the past 72 hours, polls have come out in Alaska, Texas and Utah that show Trump narrowly ahead of Hillary Clinton. That comes on top of data that suggests Republican-friendly states likes Arizona and Georgia are already a jump ball between Clinton and Trump.
That's absolutely remarkable when you consider the historic trends in those states. The last time a Democrat won Alaska was 1964, when Lyndon Johnson carried it over Barry Goldwater. Texas hasn't voted for a Democrat for president since Jimmy Carter eked out the state in 1976. In Utah, like Alaska, LBJ is the last Democrat to win.
The possibility now exists for a historic election realignment along the lines of what we saw in 2008 when then-Sen. Barack Obama claimed victories in places like North Carolina, Virginia and Indiana — states where no Democrat since Carter or Johnson had won. Simply put: Trump is not just in danger of losing, he is in danger of causing a fundamental reorganization of the electoral map that could set back Republicans for a number of future elections.
A grain of salt: Trump isn't losing in these states just yet. And, to lose them he would need further erosion among dyed-in-the-wool Republican voters. But that is now at least a possibility, given the campaign he appears to have decided to run in the closing weeks of this campaign.
In the wake of the revelations over the past seven days about his deeply inappropriate and lewd comments about women and a series of allegations that he groped women, Trump has adopted a me-against-the-world approach. He has attacked House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and virtually everyone else in the Republican Party who has expressed doubts about his candidacy. He is currently in the midst of embracing the idea that there is a global conspiracy to keep him from the White House. And, with each passing day, more stories about alleged crude behavior toward women come to light.
That strategy is hardening his support among the people who are already for him — and pushing pretty much everyone else away. The problem for Trump is that the group of people who support him is not now and never has been large enough to get him anywhere close to the 270 electoral votes he needs. The problem for the Republican Party is that a depressed GOP turnout caused by a chunk of voters simply not being able to back a candidate like Trump could spell electoral disaster in places that no one thought would even be competitive six months ago.
As of today, Republicans are not looking at a winnable race at the top of the ticket. They are looking at a salvage mission aimed at limiting the damage Trump's collapse will do to both their down-ballot prospects and their future standing in many of the states around the country.