by A. Joseph Lynch
|The 18 "Blue Wall" States and the 24 states Mitt Romney won in 2012|
The map above displays the 18 states comprising the Democrats' "Blue Wall" and the 24 states carried by Mitt Romney in 2012. The Blue Wall states - which have voted for Democrat presidential candidates in the past six presidential elections - give Hillary Clinton 242 electoral votes out of 270 electoral votes needed for victory. Of these Blue Wall states, only Wisconsin (10), Michigan (16), Pennsylvania (20), and Maine's 2nd Congressional District (1) are seen as possible wins for Trump. If history is the judge, it seems likely that the Democrats will hold their Blue Wall in this election.
As to the 24 states that Romney won, Trump is likely to win 23. North Carolina is the toss-up. Most polls put it as "lean Democrat" and there is a good chance that Trump will fail to win the state. If this Romney-red state flips blue, Trump must flip a Blue Wall state in order to compensate.
If we take the Blue Wall and the Romney states as our foundation, Hillary stands at 242 electoral votes and Trump has 206.
Of the 8 remaining states, Ohio (18) and Florida (29) are must-win states for Trump. While polls have him up in Ohio, Florida is a much tighter race. Without Florida, Trump stands no chance of winning.
Trump wins in Ohio and Florida, however, do not guarantee a Trump presidency.
If Trump takes the Romney states as well as both Ohio and Florida, his electoral count would stand at 253. He would still need another 16 electoral votes to tie (and with a Republican-controlled Congress, a tie is still a Trump win) and 17 electoral votes for an electoral college win. Cobbling together 16-17 electoral votes means Trump will need to win 3 of the 6 remaining states in play.
Where are these votes most likely to come?
Recent polls have put Trump up in Iowa (6), Nevada (6), and New Hampshire (4). These three states give him a tying total of 269 votes. If Trump were to win Maine's 2nd Congressional District - where he is up by three points - he would reach 270 from a state that splits its electoral votes. Colorado at the moment is tied, but remains another source of 9 votes for Trump.
All of this depends, of course, on Trump winning Ohio and Florida while retaining North Carolina. If Trump does not win both North Carolina and Florida, his path to the White House is closed.
In a narrow Trump win, the map could look something like this: