A Month Before the Election!

October 8 is already here, where does the time go! Time to update the map. The electoral geography shown on the map (below) is built on the same premises as my last prediction on August 29—large turnout, disciplined Clinton campaign, chaotic Trump campaign, media surprises, and close polls. Polls will continue to roller coaster, based on the latest actual or perceived scandals rocking the Clinton or Trump campaigns.

The electoral map the morning after Election Day.
The electoral map the morning after Election Day.

This map does not feature any swing states, and it is largely based on recent voting trends—and not so much on erratic and subjective polls. A key factor is an anticipated voter surge that we have not seen since 2008.

Based on this map, Hillary Clinton should win with 369 electoral votes, versus some 169 for Donald Trump. If this is correct, then Clinton will get almost 100 more electoral votes than the 270 needed to become President and 200 more electoral votes than Trump.

On August 29, I explained why Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, and Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional district would go for Clinton. However, it looks increasingly likely that Missouri and Indiana could go blue also.

MISSOURI. This state could possibly go to Clinton. Why?

Recent statewide votes in Missouri.
Recent statewide votes in Missouri.

INDIANA. This state could also go blue. Why?

Recent statewide votes in Indiana.
Recent statewide votes in Indiana.

Other purported swing states, like Arizona and Georgia, should stay in the Republican column, even with their large minority populations. Democrats have not won statewide in these states in recent years. It is unlikely that the Clinton campaign could convert solid red states, even if the Trump campaign collapses, because of intense conservative propaganda concerning her (and Bill Clinton’s) actual or perceived sins. In essence, Republican sinners are redeemable, whereas Democrats are not.

Of course, a large win for Clinton in November will not end the controversy, and partisan attacks will continue as Republicans look to 2018 and 2020, following the pattern after Obama’s election in 2008. Speaking of 2018, Virginia may have a large part to play in Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate. A Clinton-Kaine win in November will require Virginia Governor McAuiliffe to appoint a successor to Senator Tim Kaine. The odds on favorite seems to be Representative Bobby Scott.

Is Virginia a Swing State?

 As a Virginian, I doubted whether my state was truly a swing state as purported by pundits. The term “swing state” can be a bit fuzzy, so I came up with a definition, which is based on recent statewide election results and trends (2008 to 2015). Based on this rational, the Commonwealth of Virginia seems to be turning blue.

Democrats won two presidential elections (2008 & 2012), three U.S. Senate elections (2008, 2012 & 2014), and the governor, lt. governor, and attorney general races (2013). Republicans last won statewide in 2009. Virginia should be even bluer in 2016 because presidential elections increase voter turnout, which is traditionally good for Democrats. Only 41% of eligible Virginians voted in 2014, but this is expected to surge to more than 70% in the 2016 election.

A Blue Virginia?

A blue (Democratic) Virginia makes things tougher for Republicans. The President of the United States is elected based on an accumulation of state electoral votes, known as the Electoral College (see map). The trouble for Donald Trump is that the reliably Republican states in the South and West add up to only 170 electoral votes compared to 264 votes for dependably Democratic states. The winner needs 270 electoral votes to become president. Trump would need all 8 swing states (104 votes) shown on the map, which is a long shot.

Map of electoral votes as predicted on June 25, 2016
Map of electoral votes as predicted on June 25, 2016

Of Virginia Primaries & Wine

Hillary Clinton garnered 503,358 votes (64% of the vote) in the Democratic primary in March. By comparison, in the Republican primary, Donald Trump won 355,960 votes (34% of the vote). Trump will fly into Virginia frequently during the campaign. Yes, he needs more votes, but he also has Virginia properties, including Trump Winery, featuring the largest vineyard in Virginia. The value of Trump property here appears to be greatly enhanced by his candidacy–some think adding value to the Trump brand is a driving reason for his presidential run.

Trump Winery in all its glory, including VIP guests.
Trump Winery in all its glory, including VIP guests.

 

Raising Kaine

Of course, Virginia’s Senator Tim Kaine is being considered as Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential nominee. Raising Kaine’s profile helps Democrats in Virginia, even if he is not the eventual nominee. Democrat Donald McEachin will likely take the 4th Congressional seat from Republicans due to a court-ordered redraw of Representative Bobby Scott’s 3rd district, which was described as a racial gerrymander drawn by Republicans. I should add that Rep. Bobby Scott is on the short list to replace the senator if Kaine should become Vice President Tim Kaine. Bobby Scott, who is Black, would be a perfect antidote to Tea Party favorite, Senator Tim Scott, from South Carolina.

Senator Tim Kaine stands out (as well as up) in the U.S. Senate.
Senator Tim Kaine stands out (as well as up) in the U.S. Senate.

Virginia Geopolitics 2016

Virginia Democrats will increase their numbers in the U.S. House of Representatives. Other than taking the 4th district, Jane Dittmar could gain the 5th Congressional district for Democrats. Also, first-term Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock is considered vulnerable in Northern Virginia’s 10th district, where the voting history of the district favors Comstock, but urbanization and minority population growth make it a promising target for Democrats.

No—Virginia is not a swing state in 2016—it actually seems to be a newfound and brilliant blue state.