Winning The Electoral College In 2020, Part 2

Path to 270

The above United States map helps focus one’s attention on the importance of the Electoral College.

The map gives inside information on the Joe Biden campaign strategy for winning the White House in 2020. You won’t likely see it anyplace else. Please keep it top secret. The map was shared with me and several hundred-thousand other insiders. Maybe a million insiders. Because Joe Biden has our email addresses and wants us to send money.

The Upper Midwest

You can see a row of six states in the upper Midwest, from Pennsylvania in the east to Minnesota and Iowa in the west. They’re medium-size states; together they have 80 electoral votes. Donald Trump won five of the six states in 2016. Joe Biden’s campaign has its work cut out, don’t you think? Consider:

  • Pennsylvania, 20 electoral votes
  • Ohio, 18 electoral votes
  • Michigan, 16 electoral votes
  • Wisconsin, 10 electoral votes
  • Minnesota, 10 electoral votes
  • Iowa, 6 electoral votes

The Electoral College totals 538 votes. The winning candidate needs a bare majority, 270 votes.  Joe Biden doesn’t need all six states and their 80 votes to win. But he’s going to have a hard time reaching 270 unless he wins at least four. The most likely four would be Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, totaling 56 electoral votes.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton won Minnesota. But she lost Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin by fewer than 2 percent of the votes in each state. If she had won those three states, she would have won with 274 electoral votes.

So now you know the most important states in the Biden campaign strategy, and maybe in the Trump strategy as well.

Pack your suitcase or nag

What can you do? If you desperately want Biden to win, the best thing you can do is pack your suitcase, move to one of the four states, and be a tireless volunteer from now until November. Or you can contribute money to the Biden campaign.

Or you can nag your spouse, children, parents, neighbors, and the people at work. Tell them all to vote for Joe Biden. You can do it right where you live.

Make sure they register to vote. Urge them to apply for a mail-in ballot, or at least to vote early. If you don’t like the word “nag,” you may substitute the word “electioneer.”

There’s not one right way to reach 270 votes

Biden has at least a fighting chance to also win Ohio and Iowa. If he wins all six states, it wouldn’t guarantee victory, but he’d be on his way.

Donald Trump also doesn’t need all six states to be reelected. But he won five of them in 2016, and he needed them. He probably needs to win two of the states, at a minimum, Ohio and Iowa. And he’d seriously like to win a few more.

If you desperately want Trump to win, you know where to volunteer. You know whom to nag. Or electioneer.

Now, there’s two more states in the Upper Midwest. You might overlook them because they’re not highlighted on the map. They are Illinois (20 electoral votes) and Indiana (11 electoral votes). They’re colored grey because political observers understand that Illinois will most likely support the Democratic ticket in November, and Indiana will most likely support the Republican ticket.

Do not take Electoral College votes for granted

It does’t mean Illinois and Indiana are not important, as some critics of the Electoral College suppose. Their electoral votes are absolutely crucial for the Biden and Trump campaigns. The assumptions that Illinois will go Democratic and Indiana will go Republican are as close to a sure thing as any assumptions you can make for 2020. But no one can absolutely predict an election! Beware of assumptions. Voters have surprised the experts before, and they will do it again.

Make no mistake: A candidate who takes any state and its voters for granted is a candidate at risk. Hillary Clinton expected to win in Michigan and Wisconsin in 2016, so she focused her efforts on other states. She virtually ignored Michigan and Wisconsin.

Michigan and Wisconsin paid her back by narrowly voting for Donald Trump! The electoral votes of Michigan (16 votes) and Wisconsin (10 votes), along with Pennsylvania (20 votes) tipped the Electoral College to Trump. Clinton squeaked by with a national popular vote majority, but so what? The Electoral College rules.

And you know what? Clinton very nearly lost Minnesota and its 10 votes.

If you seriously want to understand the Electoral College and the 2020 election, you should read the above paragraphs again. They don’t mean that any of the Midwest states hold the key to the 2020 election. The point is: Some states get extra attention because they’re considered battleground states. But every state is important, any state might surprise you, and every state’s electoral votes count.

Do not imagine that I am disclosing Biden campaign secrets  to the Trump organization. Donald Trump also has a map of the U.S., and he knows all the same information about the Electoral College that Joe Biden knows.

And do not imagine that the Midwest states are the end of the 2020 story. They’re only the beginning. ALL the states highlighted on the map are important. The candidates are going to work like hell for all of them. Because if they lose one or two important states, it’s not the end. They can make it up by winning other states.

And some of the states colored grey might surprise you like a jack-in-the-box on election night.

Eventually, we’ll go through the list of all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and ponder the possibilities for November 2020. It’s all about arithmetic.

#  #  #  #  #  #

I had planned to wrap up some loose ends from Part 1 at this point. Clarify why it’s useless to worry about changing the Electoral College and the winner-take-all electoral vote system right now. But Part 2 is already too long. So we’ll briefly address those loose ends in Part 3. And then move on quickly to review the 2016 Electoral College results as a preview to what’s ahead in 2020. See you in Part 3.

— John Hayden

Geography of Frugal Living: Pennsylvania

Last summer, my brother, Tom, and I took a quick weekend trip to explore some small towns in hilly, west-central Pennsylvania, between Altoona and Johnstown. We focused on a triangle of small towns — Ebensburg, Cresson and Loretto — and mostly ignored the two small cities.

I would nominate all three towns for any list of “coolest small towns” in America. Ebensburg is the largest of the three, a picturesque county seat with a Wal-Mart on the outskirts. Wonderful, big old houses, and a nice miles-long walking and bike trail on the right-of-way of an abandoned railroad line.

Cresson is a bit smaller, a railroad town and birthplace of Robert E. Peary. It has a small college and wonderfully friendly people. There’s a great family restaurant at the stoplight in the center of town, and a bed-and-breakfast next to the railroad tracks. The bed-and-breakfast promises visitors they should see a minimum of one train per hour during their stay.

Loretto is really nothing more than a village. But what a village! Loretto has its own university (St. Francis University), a monastery with beautiful landscaping, and a cathedral. This part of Pennsylvania has lots of Catholics!

Now comes the following report from Tom on his latest small-town discovery in central Pennsylvania:

Re affordable places to live . . .

Last weekend, visited Huntingdon, Pa., population 6,800, about 30 miles south of State College, Pa. (The main campus of the University of Pennsylvania and home of  Nittany Lions football is at State College.)

Huntingdon was voted 5TH “coolest small town” in America in a recent poll by Budget Travel magazine.

I looked at a four-bedroom house in historic downtown area that seemed too good to be true. With a price of $90,000, this house was 2,000+ square feet, in great shape, with a large garage and small but nicely landscaped yard. The house was a short walk to stores and restaurants, public library, numerous churches, Amtrack train station, the Juniata River, etc.

Huntingdon is the county seat of Huntington County so there is the courthouse and municipal buildings as well. The town also is home to two colleges and a hospital.

It all looked so nice I’m planning to go back this weekend and explore some more. Have an appointment with a Realitor to look at a three-bedroom house listed at $70,000. I’ll give you an update if you like. Love the blog!  Tom

Thanks for the report, Tom. Maybe we should write a book about small towns. 

Please take some digital photos of Huntingdon and send them to me as attachments to an e-mail. Thanks.