Looking ahead to the presidential election, the conventional wisdom is that Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin will decide whether President Trump begins his second term in January 2021 or Joe Biden begins his first.
That’s what happened four years ago, when Trump knocked down the Democratic “blue wall” with narrow victories in each of the three states. But a Democratic consultant’s analysis this year argues that demographic changes in the South and Southwest indicate that Biden can win the presidency without capturing all three.
Doug Sosnik writes that six states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia — “are in various stages of becoming blue states,” meaning they are likely to vote Democratic in the future.
Virginia, he said, has completed the transformation, and “Arizona is the state most likely to transition to a Democratic base state as early as November.”
Sosnik said Arizona is the fastest-growing state in the country, and it is adding a lot of residents from California. Younger, non-white and college-educated voters are making up a larger percentage of the state’s population, and they are tilting the political scales away from Republicans.
North Carolina is undergoing a transformation similar to Arizona’s, and Sosnik predicted these trends will favor Democrats. In Florida, the state’s large population of senior citizens will determine who gets its electoral votes, with the coronavirus response playing a key role.
In Sosnik’s analysis, Biden can win the presidency without Wisconsin. Victories in Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania, along with traditionally Democratic states, would give him a 279-259 victory over Trump. Another winning trifecta is Arizona, Michigan and North Carolina, which would get Biden to 274.
Sosnik’s campaign recommendations:
• The top priority is making sure Michigan votes Democratic. Pennsylvania is No. 2.
• Then work on Arizona and single congressional districts in Maine and Nebraska, followed by Wisconsin, North Carolina and Florida.
There’s no way to know how much of this will actually happen, since the election is still more than five months away and the coronavirus remains the ultimate wild card. Further, this is a strategic plan from a Democrat; Republican analysts surely have similar recommendations on how Trump gets to a second term.
One thing to remember is that either party can lay out a grand plan for an election, but then it has to make it work. In this case, it means Democrats actually have to win states such as Arizona and North Carolina in order to confirm that voting trends have changed.
As of today, it’s hard to envision that Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas are all in various stages of becoming predominantly Democratic. Though it should be pointed out that as far back as the George W. Bush presidency, Republican operatives noted the changing makeup of the country and said the party had to do a better job of appealing to minorities.
If Sosnik is right, the evidence of this change will present itself in November.