Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

To beat Trump, Biden ‘must have’ the Rust Belt — plus Omaha

By 37ci3 Jun13,2024



WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s most likely path to reelection is a narrow one, with the same three states that gave Donald Trump the Oval Office in 2016 and took him away in 2020 — Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. An electoral vote from a congressional district in Omaha.

In other words, if Trump carries one of the Big Three Rust Belt states in November, that’s probably an indication that he’s winning back the White House. Less than five months from Election Day, they are a real battleground, according to many operatives in both parties.

“It has to be,” said Faiz Shakir, a Democratic strategist managing Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign.

But for any campaign, it’s hard to leave states that the boss has previously won or come close to. That’s true at this point in the race, when campaign aides believe there’s still time for an effort to influence public opinion and when the number of electoral votes held by Democrats in an election year has dwindled by the latest census. They also know they can’t force the opposition to spend precious campaign money in states they’ve left to die.

So, in addition to the Big Three, Biden’s high command is putting resources into Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada, which it dominated in 2020, as well as North Carolina, which Trump won by about 1.3 percentage points.

Most public opinion polls now show Trump leading in those states by larger margins than in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where the polls are closer.

Biden aides say it’s too early to triage.

“Today, we see a number of ways to reach 270 electoral votes in all of these places,” said Dan Kanninen, director of battleground states for the Biden campaign. He outlined a strategy to fill tightly contested states with workers, buy ads and send Biden and his surrogates to talk to voters to shift numbers.

Biden’s campaign co-chairman, Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., declined to rule out that Biden could repeat his victories in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada or find a way to turn electoral votes into his pillar in North Carolina, but he emphasized the importance of the Rust Belt.

“We have to double down on Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania,” he said.

According to NBC News, Biden and his White House staff — first lady Jill Biden, vice president Kamala Harris and second lieutenant Doug Emhoff — have been to Michigan together dozens of times since he began his re-election campaign last year. According to an analysis by NBC News, they have visited Pennsylvania and Wisconsin 10 times, Georgia eight times, Nevada and Arizona seven times and North Carolina five times.

The first lady plans to travel to Wisconsin on Thursday, where she will deliver an afternoon campaign speech in Green Bay. The city is the center of government and population in Brown County, one of the nation’s most important swing counties. From there, she plans to fly to Duluth, Minnesota, to speak in a state that her husband won in 2020 but that Trump’s campaign is holding on to. designated as a pickup opportunity. On Friday and Saturday, he will campaign in Nevada and Arizona.

The campaign’s decision to send him to Minnesota suggests that there is at least some concern in Biden’s circles about Trump entering a state that Republicans have not won in more than half a century. It has as many electoral votes as Wisconsin — 10 — but most strategists believe it leans more Democratic than any of the Big Three.

According to an analysis of his trip by NBC News, Trump alone has campaigned seven times in Nevada, six each in Michigan and Pennsylvania, three each in Georgia and North Carolina, two in Wisconsin and one in Arizona. His schedule, he said, was limited to the weeks he spent in a New York courtroom where he was found guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records as part of a scheme to help his 2016 campaign by covering up the alleged affair. denies.

Trump is scheduled to attend a rally in Detroit on Saturday and in Racine, Wisconsin on Tuesday. His campaign declined to make aides available to discuss his campaign strategy.

With Democrats in the White House, it would be natural for them to play more defensively and for Trump’s out-of-power Republicans to go on the offensive in a wider range of states. There simply aren’t many, or perhaps any, real targets for Biden outside of the states he’s carrying in 2020.

The electoral math got more complicated for Biden because redistricting after the 2020 census took three electoral votes from states he won that year, including one each in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and transferred them to states that favored Trump. Had Biden lost Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada in 2020 and kept everything else, he would have won 273 electoral votes. Now that number is 270 – the exact number needed to win the presidency.

Enter Nebraska. It is one of only two states, along with Maine, to cast an electoral vote for each congressional district a candidate wins. Statewide, Nebraska voters have favored Republican presidential candidates in recent elections. But in 2020, Biden won the 2nd Congressional District in Omaha and its single electoral vote.

The election is thought to come down to the single House of Representatives, which Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Trump and Biden have won once each of the last four election cycles.

If Biden retains the Rust Belt trifecta but loses Georgia, Arizona and Nevada, a Trump victory in the Omaha district would result in a 269-269 tie, forcing the election to a statewide vote in the House. By winning the Big Three and Omaha — or Nevada, Georgia or Arizona — Biden would win outright.

Khanna said there is something “extraordinarily compelling” about Biden and his economic message in the Rust Belt states, adding that they represent “the clearest path to the 270 electoral votes.”



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