WASHINGTON - President Donald Trumpís campaign a year ago envisioned an election scenario where the incumbent president expanded the boundaries of modern electoral politics by winning every state he won four years ago and adding half a dozen others.
ideal election now a distant dream, Trump’s advisers in the final weeks of the
campaign, mapped out more dire possibilities showing ways their candidate could
lose key states like Florida and still win reelection by conquering a series of
Upper Midwest states.
has Trump losing Florida and Arizona but still receiving 270 electoral votes,
the minimum needed to win. The other shows Trump losing North Carolina and
Florida and receiving 272 electoral votes.
no means do we think the president is not going to carry Florida,” director of
battleground strategy Nick Trainer cautioned reporters during a recent virtual
briefing in which he presented the potential election maps — including two that
had Trump losing Florida.
manager Bill Stepien immediately jumped in to reiterate: “Let me say it again:
The president will win Florida.”
Florida’s registered Democrats for the first time requesting hundreds of
thousands more mail-in ballots than Republicans, overseas ballots going out on
Sept. 19 and polls showing a tight contest in the nation’s most populous swing
state, a Trump loss is being considered as a possibility. The Trump campaign is
considering pathways to the White House that do not include Florida.
in Florida would trigger a set of circumstances that just one Republican
nominee in the last 100 years has been able to emerge from victoriously. Former
President Calvin Coolidge in 1924 lost Florida but won the national election.
Florida’s 29 electoral college votes, Trump would be completely reliant on a
trio of Upper-Midwest battleground states he narrowly won in 2016 — Michigan,
Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — and would need the electoral votes of at least one
additional battleground state he previously lost, such as New Hampshire or
Minnesota, in order to win a second term.
five of those states Trump is in worse shape than he is in Florida, where most
public polling is within the margin of error. He trails Biden by four or more
points in each of them, according to Real Clear Politics polling averages.
the Trump campaign insisted that the sitting president could lose a combination
of Florida and the swing state of Arizona, a total of 40 electors, or Florida
and the battleground state of North Carolina, a total of 44 electors, and still
cross the 270-vote threshold.
bested Democrat Hillary Clinton in all three states in 2016, winning the
presidential election with a total of 306 electoral votes.
convinced that we’re not in 2004 anymore. This map should do it,” Trainer said,
of a scenario in which Trump loses Florida and North Carolina but still wins.
“If President Bush hadn’t won those states in his reelection, he would have
been a one-term president. But again, this president has shown the Republican
Party he’s able to compete in new states.”
have argued for years that Florida is a firewall against a second term for
is no realistic path to a second Trump term without Florida,” states a polling
memo released this month on behalf of the pro-Biden Unite the Country Super PAC
by polling firm GQR.
firm, which polled the state from late August through early September, found
Biden ahead of Trump in Florida, 51% to 46%, thanks to massive leads among
Black voters, college-educated white voters and non-Cuban Hispanic voters.
Other polls have found the race in Florida statistically too close to predict.
path focuses on holding college educated whites, increasing his support among
non-Cuban Hispanics to Clinton levels and turning out African Americans,” the
Schale, the Tallahassee-based CEO of Unite the Country, said in an interview
that while mathematically it’s possible for Trump to win reelection without
Florida, it’s highly unlikely given that a loss in Florida likely means Trump
slipped with the midwestern transplants who have moved in large numbers to
Central Florida and the Tampa Bay area.
reality is, for Trump to win without winning Florida would require him to win
all three of the upper Midwestern states,” he said. “And the odds of that happening
without him also winning Florida are really low in part because the same people
that are swing voters in Florida, most of them come from those states. There’s
a lot of similarity between the two.
come up with the math that doesn’t include Florida but it’s very, very
difficult,” he said.
has invested heavily in Florida, a state he won by fewer than 113,000 votes
four years ago, staffing up early in the state and putting ads on the air in
its expensive media markets, even as his cash conscious campaign held off
year, he changed his official residency to Florida, when he was frequenting his
Palm Beach golf club before the pandemic, though he has never lived at
Mar-a-Lago full time.
surrogates for Trump are now visiting the state weekly as the campaign heads to
Nov. 3, targeting non-college educated white voters, seniors and Cuban and
Venezuelan voters with their closing message. The campaign gave Florida Latinos
prime speaking slots at the GOP convention and have made accusations that Biden
is embracing socialist and communist political positions a core part of their
president has reinforced the campaign strategy with White House actions,
including executive orders he signed over the summer — with Florida Gov. Ron
DeSantis at his side — that are intended to lower the cost of prescription
drugs. During a visit to Palm Beach County this month, he extended and expanded
a moratorium on drilling off the coasts of Florida.
of his campaign’s recent assertions that it can lose Florida and make up ground
elsewhere, the state is often discussed as a must-win for Trump by both
Republicans and Democrats.
Biden campaign didn’t comment directly on the question of whether Trump must
win Florida to clinch a second term, focusing instead on its own efforts to
turn out more voters.
his campaign tries to paper over his failed pandemic response, which has come
at the expense of far too many Floridians, the Biden campaign will continue to
focus on earning every vote by investing big across paid media, organizing, and
meaningful outreach to ensure we make Donald Trump a one-term president,” said
Kevin Muñoz, a Florida spokesman for the Biden campaign.
campaigns have booked a total of more than $100 million in TV, radio and
digital advertisements through Nov. 3, according to figures compiled by
Advertising Analytics, which tracks campaign advertising. About half the money
is focused on the Tampa and Orlando areas, both of which Biden visited Tuesday.
Tuesday, Biden’s campaign had booked $57.7 million in ads, and Trump’s campaign
had spent $50.9 million.
$37.7 million had been invested in the state by political committees such as
the pro-Biden Priorities USA and pro-Trump America First Action. The
Trump-supporting super PAC has committed to $12.7 million worth of digital
cable and broadcast ads that are slated to run in West Palm and Orlando through
First Action’s Florida ad buy is more than the cumulative total of its other
general election ad purchases. It last week announced $9.3 million of spending
in the battleground states of Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, all of which
Trump won four years ago.
campaign has pointed to spending by Biden in states that Democrats won in 2016
as evidence that the candidate is on the defense, while also characterizing
Biden’s spending in states like Florida that Trump won as necessary to remain
National Committee spokesman Rick Gorka said the while campaign remains
confident it will win Florida, it does not want to leave victory in the state
to chance, so it continues to expend a heavy amount of resources there.
said the GOP’s belief that Trump will win there is based on the strength of its
ground game and message and Biden’s reported struggles with Latino voters.
of what the confidence level is or what the poll numbers show, you still put
100 percent into those states to make sure that they come over and that they’re
in your column when the bell rings,” he added. “And we’re going to put every
resource into the state to make sure that that happens.”
Chambers has covered the White House for more than five years across two
presidencies. In 2016, she was embedded with the campaigns of Hillary Clinton
and Bernie Sanders. She is a Kansas City native and a graduate of the William
Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of
Smiley is a Florida native (yes, they exist) and veteran of South Florida
journalism. He’s covered schools, cops and crime, and various city halls,
earning awards for stories about municipal pensions and Miami Beach’s police
department. He became the Miami Herald’s political reporter in 2018 and covered
the midterm elections and recount.