Sunday, October 15, 2017


Steve Bannon laid down a marker yesterday:
Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon said Saturday that President Trump will "win with 400 electoral votes in 2020," following reports that he had lost faith in the president's ability to complete his current term.

"The populist, nationalist, conservative revolt that's going on, that drove Donald Trump to victory, that drove Judge [Roy] Moore to victory, that will drive 15 candidates to victory in 2018, and I hate to break it Graydon Carter and the good folks at Vanity Fair, but yes, President Trump is not only going to finish this term, he's going to win with 400 electoral votes in 2020," Bannon said during a speech at the Values Voter Summit in Washington.

Bannon reportedly said several months ago that Trump only has a 30 percent chance of finishing his current term, a source told Vanity Fair....
Bannon knows this is nonsense. He said because he'd had a lapse into incorrect thinking, so he felt he had to tell the members of the #MAGA cult that he has full confidence in the Dear Leader. Also, he's trying to sell himself these days as the deplorables' own Karl Rove, a master electoral strategist and savant.

But let's take him seriously for the moment. What would Trump have to do to get to 400 electoral votes, a feat no candidate has accomplished since George H.W. Bush in 1988?

He'd have to limit the opposition to 138 or fewer electoral votes. The problem is, in states with 145 electoral votes, Trump lost in 2016 by 15 percentage points or more: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, plus the District of Columbia. The margin was 20 or more in all but Illinois, Rhode Island, and Washington. Which of those states would Bannon say Trump is going to flip in 2020?

And in Morning Consult's state-by-state polling September, Trump's approval trails his disapproval in 7 states he won in 2016 -- states with a total of 96 electoral votes: Arizona (44.2% approval, 51.1% disapproval), Iowa (41.9%/52.6%), Michigan (39.6%/54.9%), North Carolina (47.1%/47.8%), Ohio (45.8%/48.8%), Pennsylvania (44.6%/50.7%), and Wisconsin (41.3%/53.2%). I'm sure I don't have to tell you that just losing Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin would have cost Trump the presidency in 2016. If Trump in 2020 were to win only the states where his approval rating is positive now, he'd get just 210 electoral votes.

A lot can change in the next three years: Trump could rally America around a war or his response to a terrorist attack. The economy could experience a boom -- except it's already fairly strong, at least on paper. Or the president could grow and mature, then have a period of impressive accomplishments -- nahhh, that can't possibly happen.

The country is so polarized that I don't think anyone for the foreseeable future will run up 400 electoral votes in any election. But hey, Steve, if the rubes will buy that snake oil, you just keep selling it.

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