Considering that Trump won each of these states in 2016 except for Virginia and Minnesota (which he lost by just 1.5 points but now trails by 12 points), a substantial electoral defeat is quite possible. “One of the big questions when we look at national polls is whether or not they’re an accurate representation of what is going on at the state level,” writes CNN’s Harry Enten. “One of the easiest ways to check is to compare state poll results to the past presidential vote in a given state. … When we average out these state polls, they suggest that Biden’s running about 6 points ahead of Hillary Clinton’s final margin.”
This is what they call “expanding the map.” As Biden’s paths to victory multiply, Trump is forced to defend everywhere, spending money in places he had not expected. Moreover, with Republican Senate incumbents at risk in Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina (not to mention in Maine and Colorado, where Trump will likely lose) the fate of the Senate seems to be closely linked to Biden. Should Biden win, he could well have the Senate majority also.
In the Senate races, as many as nine seats could be in play, thanks to a combination of weak Republican incumbents who inexplicably wrapped their arms around Trump (e.g., Martha McSally in Arizona, who in some polls trails Mark Kelly by double digits); strong recruitment by Democrats (e.g., Gov. Steve Bullock in Montana, state Sen. Cal Cunningham in North Carolina); and a strong presidential nominee at the top of the ticket. The full list of flippable states rated “toss-up” or “lean Republican” includes Alabama, Georgia, Arizona, Maine, Colorado, North Carolina, Montana, Iowa and Kansas, according to a Cook Political report.
Given that, it is hard to comprehend why Republicans are going to wait around for a couple of weeks before considering the House’s Heroes Act, which includes vital state and local funding, without which states will suffer from even more layoffs. You would think at least a few of these Republicans would want to do things that are overwhelmingly popular (e.g. fund testing/tracking, keep first responders employed, give out more direct checks to voters). Instead, they choose to ignore warnings from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell and to stand by Trump.
There is no telling how much worse things will get for Trump. The death toll from the pandemic will soar past 100,000 sooner than many models forecast. The economy is not about to come roaring back. And each time Trump says something inane (e.g., boasting about taking hydroxychloroquine, defending his Cabinet members using government employees as butlers), he loses another batch of suburban or older voters. At some point you wonder if Republicans will leap from the sinking ship in an effort to save themselves in November. Probably not until it is too late.
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