Great Lakes States

15 September 2020


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Florida is Not That Important


The media have decided that Florida is a battleground state that needs to be covered in painful detail. Joe Biden is up with white voters compared to Hillary Clinton's position in 2016, while he is down among the state's Hispanic voters. Democratic Latino activists are complaining that the campaign did too little, and now, it may be too late. Mike Bloomberg has vowed to spend $100 million to help the Democrats. They should take a deep breath and do a little arithmetic. Florida is not the key to the 2020 election. If Mr. Biden wins it, the election will be his. If Mr. Trump wins it, it merely keeps his hopes alive. This election will hinge on the three Great Lakes states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the traditionally Democratic states that Mr. Trump won in 2016.

Thanks to the electoral college and winner-take-all elections, most American citizens will be voting in what are effectively one-party states. Republicans in California and Democrats in Alabama will be overwhelmed by the other side. The battleground states, those where either party has a chance to win, are very few in number. Florida is among them, but the list includes the three Great Lakes states Mr. Trump won, as well as Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina. The Democrats are even talking about moving Texas into their column.

In 2016, Mrs. Clinton won 232 electoral votes to Mr. Trump's 306. To win, one must get 270. In other words a change of just 38 electoral votes would have changed the outcome. Florida represents 29 electoral votes. In other words, Florida alone doesn't make a difference. Michigan is worth 16 votes, Pennsylvania 20 and Wisconsin 10. Arizona has 11 electors, Georgia 16 and North Carolina has 15. Texas has 38 and would be game, set and match to the Democrats, but Texas isn't voting for Joe Biden this time around.

There are 49 more days until Election Day, so things can change. At the same time, early and absentee voting is going on right now, so polls can shift but that will have less impact than 20 years ago. That said, the Real Clear Politics average of last month's polls have the Great Lakes states in the Biden camp by 4+%. Moreover, Arizona is just as strong for Mr. Biden, meaning he could lose Wisconsin and still pull off a win.

In a political campaign, like a military campaign, not every battle is worth fighting, and not every battle has to be won. This is hard for a great many amateurs to realize. When one defends everything, one defends nothing. Florida is not a place Mr. Biden needs to win. Making Mr. Trump fight there means he won't have those resources for other states. Put another way, Florida is where Mr. Biden can make Mr. Trump bleed while he picks up the Great Lakes and Arizona, winning the White House.

Currently, Mr. Biden holds a 1% lead in the Real Clear Politics average of polls in Florida. To shift that single point is certainly possible for the Republicans. Given the history of Florida's vote counting expertise, one might even say the state leans to the GOP. However, the party cannot take it for granted.

With a pandemic killing 200,000 Americans thus far and a GDP down almost a third on an annualized basis, it is astonishing that Mr. Trump is still in the running. This race is, and always has been, Mr. Biden's to lose. He may find that Florida is a useful place to campaign, but he really needs to nail down the Great Lakes states first.

© Copyright 2020 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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