I’m doubling down. In 2016, against virtually all of the polling data and sophisticated analysis, I predicted Donald Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton 280 to 258. To the shock of the world, he ended up winning 304 to 277. Four years later, the world finds itself again facing an American presidential election in which the vast majority of polling data and prognosticators indicate a Joe Biden win by a fairly solid majority.
At last check, the polling aggregator at RealClearPolitics puts Biden ahead nationally 51 percent to 44.3 percent and in top battleground states 48.9 percent to 46 percent, which would give Biden a 335 to 203 electoral victory. The latest betting odds show Biden favored 64.3 percent to 34.8 percent. Other than the outlier polling at the Trafalgar Group, there appears to be no reason any of us should expect to be up past midnight when all of the voting will be over and the victory for Biden will be officially declared across the various news channels.
And yet, no one believes Biden’s win is so assured he isn’t expecting to be awake deep into the morning on November 4.
As I previously wrote, all of the events since the last debate have broken for Trump and against Biden. Moreover, Trump’s barnstorming in all of the battleground states to massive crowds is visually in stark contrast to Biden’s wafer-thin effort to just dozens of cars. Though it may not be enough, Trump has the momentum as Election Day approaches.
Unlike many people analyzing the race, I don’t do it from the Acela Corridor, the West Coast, or a deeply blue or red state. I do it from Ohio, a battleground state that has been the most accurate predictor of presidential victories over the last 100 years. That means I am surrounded by voters who actually struggle with their decision.
As a policy expert in Ohio who wrote a book predicting the rise of someone like Trump, I have spent countless hours digging into the reasons why Trump won in 2016. From the destruction of manufacturing after NAFTA and China’s entry in to the World Trade Organization to the opioid epidemic that destroyed countless families, from the stagnant economy created by Barack Obama and Biden to the economic rebirth and energy renaissance under Trump, from the blame America mentality under Obama to the American exceptionalism of Trump, I’ve been at the epicenter of what the Trump presidency has actually meant on Main Street America.
The fundamental reality is that Ohioans aren’t much different than Michiganders, Pennsylvanians, or Wisconsinites. That is why Trump carried all four states in 2016. The same goes for Minnesotans, too, but it just is taking longer for them to join the trend towards Trumpism. Illinois is only kept blue because of Chicago. Look at the 2016 final map again. Other than Colorado due to liberal California immigrants, Illinois, Minnesota, and New Mexico, the entire country from the West (Left) Coast to the Upper East Coast runs red.
Maybe the 2020 election will be all about Trump, his brashness, and the media-driven narrative that his pandemic response was flawed, in which case he loses, but I suspect it will be about so much more. If it is, then Trump has a good chance to defy the polls and pundits again and win. So I’m predicting another Trump victory, with him winning the same states he won in 2016 and only losing Maine’s Second Congressional District.
That means a 305 to 233 Trump win. I wouldn’t bet my retirement on this result. But I wouldn’t bet against it either. Would you?