A Trump-Kaine presidency is now on the table.
It ain’t over ’till the lady in the pantsuits wins. Or looses.
Imagine Debbie Downer and Chicken Little have an offspring. It would be me. Or at least, that’s how I’ve felt over the last few weeks as the only person in the Free World who seems to have noticed that the gap between Trump and Clinton is closing, and in fact, was never really that large to begin with. It only appeared large because a fluctuation occurred at about the same time everyone was hoping for a fluctuation, so it became more real than it should have been. The race has been close for some time, remains close, and is narrowing.
This morning, the newscaster for NPR introduced a story on the race with “With Hillary Clinton’s lead narrowing …” or words to that effect. The story was about President Obama’s remarks. You think you’re wining, then you miss a couple of free flows, get a penalty or two you weren’t expecting, next thing you know, you wake up the next morning, and you’re the Minnesota Vikings. Or words to that effect.
Let’s look at some tracking polls. Tracking polls may be inaccurate with respect to magnitude (how high or low the candidates are, in relation to each other, but scaled in absolute terms) but they are supposed to be helpful in detecting short term changes. So, for example, if you have good reason to think two candidates are at, say, 60 – 40 in the split among voters, and a tracking poll then tells you that that first candidate has likely lost about 5%, that means that you should take seriously the possibly that it is no longer 60 – 40, but maybe closer to 50 – 50, without assuming how much closer. That is what tracking polls can give you.
The Los Angeles Times has a well respected tracking poll. This is a picture of it:
Here’s the ABC tracking poll.
This shows the race narrowing to a near dead heat.
In both of these polls, ignore the absolute value. What these tracking polls are telling you is this: Ten days ago, you were jumping up and down happy because Clinton was so far ahead and her lead was expanding. Today, you need to stop jumping up and down and you have to put your nose the grindstone and work on making sure she wins, because, simply put, Trump has a chance.
A third tracking poll, the IBD/TIPP poll, is considered to be highly accurate (has never been wrong in a presidential race) and has put Clinton and Trump in a near dead head for a long time now. IBD/TIPP shows Clinton’s lead expanding a bit.
So, with two tracking polls showing what looks like an emerging reversal of fortune for the Clinton campaign, and one maintaining as an indicator that things are close, those who wish to not have a Trump Presidency should be concerned about two things.
The first thing to be concerned about is your own personal connection to and understanding of reality. A lot of Americans really like Trump, and you didn’t think that was possible and still don’t understand why. Fail to grasp that at your peril.
The second thing, of course, is an actual Trump presidency.
This is the point where most un-realists, those who simply wish Clinton to win so hard that their eyes have become scaled over, make this argument: “But the Electoral College, bla bla bla.”
So, let’s look at the Electoral College. I recently projected a very close race in the Electoral College, that some said was a crazy outlier. But when I looked at the other projections, I found that mine was similar to many others, with only one difference: I projected win/loss for all states, while the others left a lot of states as unknown. In other words, for states where we know the likely outcome, the race is close.
But how close?
Here is a list of the selected sampling of pundit forecasts listed at 270 to to win.
This represents the range of what people are thinking.
Note that in all cases, a) Clinton has more than 270 electoral votes, BUT, in several cases she is within one state of losing that. Note also that Trump is in every case below 270. But, also notice that in all cases (not shown in this table, but visible on direct inspection) there are plenty of unattributed states for either candidate to draw from.
This is the map that is of most concern:
This is the map 270 provides to represent “contested states.” It is not unreasonable. New Hampshiere, North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Wisconsin, and Iowa are reasonably thought of as contested. In this scenario, neither candidate has enough to win.
Let’s take this map and give Trump the states he is very likely to win if the wind is blowing softly in his direction. We get this:
Still, neither candidate wins.
I personally have a hard time believing Wisconsin will not be blue. New Hampshire has been trending more and more Blue, so maybe it will be Blue as well. Le’ts assume that Maine goes blue as well. If that all happens, Clinton wins by 3 electoral votes.
But it is also not unreasonable to guess that New Hampshire goes for Trump, or that, say New Mexico ends up going for Trump. In that case, Clinton is just below the 270 mark. If Trump then wins North Carlina and Florida, then hello President Trump.
Indeed, in the Election Year From Hell, we may very well expect this nightmare scenario:
If this happens, the vote on November 8th is thrown out and Congress decides who will be president. The House will decide who will be President, and they will pick Trump. The Senate will decide who is Vice President, and they will pick Kaine.
On Election night, I’ll be watching New Hampshire and North Carolina very closely.