Florida is Still the Key to the US Election

Forgetting his opponent's name is but a detail for Biden and his campaign, it's all about Florida, says Trey Barnes

Donald Trump Joe Biden Florida US Presidential Election

With the US election in its final days, Trey Barnes explains why Joe Biden’s inability to remember who he’s running against isn’t going to change the result. It’s still all about Florida. And this Presidential race is still closer than you might think.

The crucial thing about the 2020 US election is that despite the polling, the gaffes, the family mud-slinging, the polar opposite approaches to handling Covid and masks, and the endless polling numbers (with Biden appearing to have a double-digit lead) being churned and analysed, only one thing still really matters on Nov 3rd.

Namely, that 270 is still the magic number in the race for the White House. Indeed, if you want to truly understand the complexities of how to win a US election, you are better off hiring a mathematician rather than a pollster. Because becoming US President is a math game.

As Hillary Clinton found out most recently in 2016, becoming US President is not about popularity.  Mrs. Clinton defeated Mr. Trump 48.2% to 46.1% (Source: CNN).  Yet he won the presidency.  How can that be?  The American Electoral College is the answer.

Every US state is assigned a certain number of electoral votes based on population.  This is all set out in the US Constitution.  Why so many American politicians seem to miss this essential, simple, math point is beyond the scope of this article.  It goes without saying that many tears have resulted (at least 270, perhaps otherwise).  But we digress.

Go to 270 to Win https://www.270towin.com/.  It’s an interactive map that lets you play prognosticator.   You can make your own mind up as to how it all plays out.  All supported by updated polling (be cautious) and you can also play along down ticket to Senate, US Congressional, Gubernatorial, and State level legislative races. What more could we want in a Covid-19 autumn? Seriously.

Some Presidential Election pointers:

  • Democrats have the natural advantage in the Electoral College—verify on the interactive map—interesting how so few States in number can dominate a much greater majority that lacks electoral votes due to population discrepancies
  • A Republican President (Trump) cannot win without Florida. The maths do not work. Ohio, also.  And, more or less, Texas.  But, generally, Texas remains a Republican win and Ohio is not yet really a swing state of Florida’s stature.  Check the interactive map and see what you think
  • Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 because Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin barely went for Trump—unprecedented, and unanticipated (by Clinton campaign) in the modern era
  • When you seek to play around with the 270 polling numbers and recommended websites, do note the realities regarding same: grain of salt that polling is still an imperfect science—but getting better and what we have
  • Last point made, here is my advice to both campaigns (I did call 2016 because Mrs. Clinton never climbed when Mr. Trump fell—hence, her ceiling electorally evident and in the wrong States)
  • So here it is:

For Trump: Must hold Florida; should spend in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and definitely in Pennsylvania; hold everywhere else (I consider North Carolina a hold); Arizona may become key

For Biden: Focus on Florida as much as resources allow.  Trump cannot win without it but do not do so imperilling others.  Must recover Pennsylvania and either Wisconsin or Michigan.  Needs to fight Minnesota but if others work out, gravy (well, that is if either the one Congressional district in either Maine or Nebraska accommodates—this is fun—otherwise, yes, Minnesota or Wisconsin, with Michigan are required)


Enjoy the website and the What If!  You couldn’t make it up.


Trey Barnes is a contributing editor of The Mace and Chairman of Capital Strategy Ltd corporate development and political affairs consultancy.

27th October 2020