Any way you slice it Hillary Clinton is probably going to be President-elect this November. For all the vociferous rabble rousing, or one’s opinion on the intelligence of the American public (estimates of severe idiocy tends to be based on the most tiresome collection of superstitions and delusions) the reality is — and has always been — down to cold hard numbers. Clinton has them. Bernie didn’t, and Bernie lost. Donald Trump doesn’t have the numbers, and he will therefore lose. This is very simple to explain.
Nationwide polling puts Clinton on 41% and Trump on about 36%. Troubling right, Clinton is in the lead, but she doesn’t even have a majority! In the USA you don’t need one to be President. I will repeat that, you don’t need a majority of votes to win an election. Crazy right? But, if you were conscious in 2000 you might remember the Presidential election in which George W Bush got a few hundred thousand votes fewer than Al Gore. There were problems in Florida with antiquated machines and a recount was demanded by the Gore camp. They thought they had narrowly won the state, which would give Bill Clinton’s Vice President enough electoral college votes to win the White House. But, the Bush campaign claimed victory and went to court. The result was that the recount was halted and Bush declared the winner. The Supreme Court thus decided that the popular vote was inferior to the electoral college vote which is a fundamentally undemocratic position.
Thankfully this kind of skulduggery is rare. Clinton is likely to get both more votes that Trump as well as the required 270 electoral college votes. How the electoral college works is that each state has a number of electoral college votes depending on the population within the state. California has 55, Texas has 34, New York has 31 and it goes on until we get to Alaska which has a tiny population and 3 electoral college votes. So basically, if you are a Democrat you need to start with California and New York, which Hillary Clinton is comfortably winning. Democrats have their support concentrated on the west coast and the industrial east coast, while Republicans are big in the south, the middle, and the agricultural mid-west. The real contest is not in those zones, but in a few key ‘swing’ states. Florida, Nevada, and Ohio. If those three support Hillary the race is over right there.
Yes, there are more than three ‘swing’ or ‘battleground’ states, but I am following the rule of three, plus have selected the states that have been important in recent elections. One could add Colorado, Virginia, Iowa, and New Hampshire. I’ll stick with my three.
Critically, President Obama won the three swing states in 2008 and 2012. Eight years ago they swung and have yet to swing back. It would be quite overconfident to assume that Clinton will win those states simply because they voted Obama, but what makes this election easy to follow is that you only have to know how those three states are voting, the Nationwide vote be damned. Now, Hillary does not need all three. In fact if she wins Florida it is likely to be enough to take her over the threshold on its own. But for Donald Trump to win he needs all three.
So, we can expect to see a large proportion of campaign funds being spent in the three swing states. At this point Clinton is winning Florida, and narrowly winning Ohio. Trump — whose personality matches Las Vegas better than a herpes ridden pokie stool — is winning Nevada. This is the battleground, and with the conventions over, Clinton ahead in the polls and Trump on the defensive over his statements about the family of a dead Iraq-war veteran, it would be inappropriate to conclude that this is too close to call.
If you want to game this out yourself, just take a look at the latest polls and run a simulation on the electoral map here.