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For President Trump to win re-election, there's not that much margin for error. It's important that he win all the traditionally red states that are now in play. The Trump campaign hopes for no unpleasant surprises here.
If, as expected, he captures all the solid red states, along with Iowa, Texas and Georgia, this gives him 186 out of 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.
If he takes red-leaning battlegrounds Arizona and North Carolina, states which are in his grasp, he's up to 212.
We can see, here, how important bellwether states Florida and Ohio are. Winning would be difficult if he doesn't take their combined 47 electoral votes. But if he can pull off a repeat of 2016, and polls indicate he may, Trump hits 259 electoral votes — still not enough.
Two blue battleground states, Nevada and Minnesota, are up for grabs. The Latino vote in Nevada is trending red, while a summer of rioting in Minnesota has put Trump within striking distance of Joe Biden in that longtime Democratic stronghold.
Winning either of these states gives Trump a little leeway.
If he loses both Minnesota and Nevada, which is highly possible, this leaves the rust belt to determine America's next president. The big three battlegrounds that could decide the election are Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Trump shocked the world in 2016 by winning all three, and hence the presidency.
In this scenario, a Pennsylvania or Michigan win would put Trump over the top. Winning Wisconsin alone would result in a deadlock of 269 electoral votes each.
Of the three delegate-rich states of Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, Trump must win two. If he wins only one, then Michigan and Wisconsin would not put him over the top.
If this isn't clear as mud, remember all this math could be meaningless if certain states surprise us on Election Day. Even an Electoral College landslide for either candidate is still possible. Stay tuned.