Most routes to vic­tory blocked for Trump

Pakistan Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

DES MOINES, Iowa—The race for pres­i­dent reaches its fi­nal mile next week amid Oc­to­ber sur­prises, but on the road to the 270 elec­toral votes needed to win the White House, Hil­lary Clin­ton still has sev­eral ways to find her way to Wash­ing­ton.

The jour­ney Donald Trump must take is per­ilous, at best.

Even as some na­tional pref­er­ence polls tighten, and vot­ers wres­tle with news the FBI has found new emails that may — or may not — be re­lated to Clin­ton’s use of a pri­vate server as sec­re­tary of state, the bil­lion­aire Re­pub­li­can needs a dra­matic fi­nal­stretch re­bound in states where the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee ap­pears to have the up­per hand.

The lat­est As­so­ci­ated Press anal­y­sis of the Elec­toral Col­lege map rates states worth 278 elec­toral votes as safely Demo­cratic or lean­ing Clin­ton’s way. That anal­y­sis is based on pref­er­ence polling, re­cent elec­toral his­tory, de­mo­graphic trends and cam­paign pri­or­i­ties such as ad­ver­tis­ing, travel and on­the-ground staff.

In short, that means Clin­ton doesn’t need to win a state now rated as a toss-up to win the White House.

Trump needs to win them all — and then go on to pick off some states that are now in Clin­ton’s column.

Im­pos­si­ble, it’s not. The ef­fects of the FBI Direc­tor James Comey’s Fri­day let­ter to Congress, in­form­ing law­mak­ers of de­vel­op­ments pos­si­bly re­lated to the Clin­ton email case, may not be known un­til Elec­tion Day it­self.

Trump leapt on the news this week­end, but so, too, did Clin­ton, cast­ing Comey’s de­ci­sion to act so close to Nov. 8 as “deeply trou­bling” as she sought to rally Demo­cratic vot­ers.

So, then, what is the path for Trump to chin him­self to 270 votes? He’ll have to start by car­ry­ing the re­li­ably Re­pub­li­can states in the West, the Great Plains and in South that make up the GOP’s Elec­toral Col­lege base.

From there, he’d need a run of vic­to­ries in states now viewed as a toss-up.

Among them, North Carolina has re­ceived as much at­ten­tion from both cam­paigns as any — tra­di­tional bat­tle­grounds Florida and Ohio in­cluded. For good rea­son: GOP nom­i­nee Mitt Rom­ney won the state in 2012, af­ter Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s his­toric win there in 2008.

But af­ter trail­ing in mail bal­lots, Democrats surged ahead of Repub­li­cans in bal­lots cast af­ter the start of in-per­son early vot­ing last week. Mean­while, a new NBC News/Wall Street Jour­nal poll gives Clin­ton a 6-point edge in the state.

A win in North Carolina, and Florida and Ohio, too, still isn’t enough to get Trump to 270. He also needs to win states now lean­ing Clin­ton’s way.

In Ne­vada, Trump’s hard­line po­si­tion on im­mi­gra­tion has turned off many in the state’s large His­panic pop­u­la­tion — giv­ing Clin­ton an ad­van­tage. Like­wise, tens of thou­sands more Democrats than Repub­li­cans had voted early in the state as of last week.

In New Hamp­shire, the state’s pol­i­tics are dis­pro­por­tion­ately in­flu­enced by women: the state’s gov­er­nor, two sen­a­tors and a ma­jor­ity of its state Se­nate are women. Trump has long strug­gled with col­lege-ed­u­cated women, a sit­u­a­tion made worse by a string of re­cent al­le­ga­tions of un­wanted sex­ual ad­vances or sex­ual as­sault in­volv­ing the Re­pub­li­can.

“At this point, it’s be­com­ing in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult for Trump to win the state of New Hamp­shire. He’s run­ning out of time,” said Ryan Wil­liams, a GOP con­sul­tant in the state, echo­ing oth­ers. “He’s go­ing to lose.”

All of these sce­nar­ios also as­sume Trump car­ries each of the states his party’s nom­i­nees have won for decades — a fire­wall in which cracks are start­ing to ap­pear.

In Ari­zona, where Re­pub­li­can nom­i­nees have won all but once since 1952, Clin­ton has be­gun a late-game $2-mil­lion ad­ver­tis­ing blitz and tapped into a ro­bust state Demo­cratic or­ga­ni­za­tion. She has pulled even with Trump in some sur­veys, and slightly ahead in oth­ers, while early vot­ing fa­vors Democrats, as does the state’s large and grow­ing His­panic pop­u­la­tion.—AP

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