US Election 2020

Which states do Biden and Trump need to win?

As the candidates try to lock up the electoral map in their race to reach 270 Trump’s lane to reelection narrows. What are the make or break states?

Which states do Biden and Trump need to win?
KEN HERMAN / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO EUROPA PRESS

Every presidential election cycle we are reminded of the electoral college which some call arcane and others a defender of US democracy. Currently it is necessary to win 270 electoral votes to become President with a handful of states being crucial to get over the finish line.

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The polls have Joe Biden beating the incumbent President thanks in large part to his handling or lack thereof of the covid-19 pandemic that has surged again in the US. Trump wanted to run on the economic success that had been sustained upon coming into office although not as “great” as Trump likes to tout.

However, the consequences of the coronavirus and measures needed to slow its advance have taken a heavy toll on lives and jobs. If voting continues apace Biden already has more than the 270 electoral votes that he needs but the Trump campaign is counting on an Election Day surge of voters. He also plans to declare victory on Election Night in the hopes that through the courts he can prevent ballots still being counted from the final tally. Either way it is a long shot but not an impossibility.

Toss-ups 

Democrats have been looking to flip Arizona since the demographics of the state have shifted with the Latino vote increasing.

The primaries in Iowa have always been determinative in choosing who will go on to run for President but its electoral clout is limited. However, this year Donald Trump can’t afford to lose the six Hawkeye votes if he wants to make it to the White House.

Ohio is a bellwether state for the US presidential election having picked correctly every winning presidential candidate since 1944 with one hiccup when the Buckeye State voted for Richard Nixon in 1960.

North Carolina went for Barrack Obama in 2008 changing its status as a Republican safe state but then reverted back to Republicans in 2012. This year it is in play for the Biden camp.

Georgia is normally a Republican stronghold, not having voted for a Democrat since 1992, however this year the state is a toss-up with a slight advantage to Biden. If he wins the Peach State he’ll be the first nothern Democrat to do so since John F. Kennedy.

What states does Trump need to win

No Republican has ever entered the White House without winning Florida and right now the Sunshine State is a toss-up with Biden in the slimmest of leads. Nearly 9 million Floridians have already voted representing over 90 percent of the 2016 ballots cast. Among registered voters that have turned in a ballot Biden leads by just 1 percentage point. Trump must get Florida’s 29 electoral votes to have a chance.

Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes are also a must for Trump to return to the White House for a second term. The Keystone State has seen both candidates campaigning hard for their votes. Biden has been barnstorming there in the final days of the race planning to wrap up there in Pittsburgh with his wife and Lady Gaga at his side. Currently Democrats have turned in over a million more ballots than Republicans but intense battles over mail-in ballots have already begun and won’t be counted until Election Day or the next.

What states does Biden need to win

Biden's clearest path to election victory is to win back the three states where Trump stunned Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton in 2016: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Those states were carried by Democrats for decades before 2016, and Trump flipped them red. They would give Biden 279 electoral votes, as long as he wins all the other states Clinton also won in 2016.

Under this scenario, Biden would not need to win any other states Trump won in 2016.

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