Trump Re-Election Shoo-In? Think Again

At least before the coronavirus pandemic, even the Democrats were concerned that Trump would be a shoo-in for re-election November 3. There has been no sign that he has picked up any new support beyond his die-hard followers, so we’re not sure where that concern comes from.

Let’s check the numbers.

The 2018 mid-term election gave control of the House to the Democrats with a 36-seat margin, but widened the Senate GOP majority from one to two votes. Then came the fumbled Trump impeachment and against all reason, Senate Republicans stood behind their man, in lockstep, despite all the embarrassments it was causing them.

Much of the GOP support resulted from a hugely distorted belief that Trump was a shoo-in to win re-election in 2020. Distorted, for look at the 2016 vote, in which Hillary Clinton received nearly three million more popular votes than he. Trump won only because of the electoral college. Now, let’s take a close look at those figures.

He won by 74 votes out of the 535 votes cast in the electoral college (one in each of the 435 House districts, one for each of the two senators in the 50 states.) Just four states accounted for 75 of Trump’s electoral votes: Florida (29), Pennsylvania (20), Michigan (16), Wisconsin (10).

The secret of the margin of victory in each of those states lies in the number of precincts each state has and the average number of winning votes in each precinct. Trump won Florida by 112,911 votes cast in 4,687 precincts, or 24.1 votes per precinct. The Pennsylvania margin was 44,292 in 9,498 precincts, or 4.7 votes per precinct. Michigan cast 10,704 more votes for Trump than for Hillary, or 1.8 per 5,923 precincts, and Wisconsin’s 12,748 were in 4,355 precincts, 2.9 per precinct.

Remember, that election was tainted by Russian interference in the election, primarily by spreading disinformation on the social media. I remain to be persuaded that the disinformation was not enough to sway fewer than two voters in each of Michigan’s precincts.