by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Trump has changed the contours of the electoral map, but not all of the alterations are helpful to Republicans.
Four years after Trump seized the White House in a self-described “landslide” of 304 electoral votes, he’s likely moving out of the executive compound on Jan. 20.
Pending Trump campaign lawsuits filed in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania over issues ranging from extended voter deadlines to transparency while ballots were counted, Democrat Joe Biden is the president-elect. Though a hand recount is already underway in Georgia, Biden is projected to be awarded 306 votes when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14, well over the 270 threshold required to become the next commander in chief.
Biden’s presumptive victory comes after he reconstructed the segment of the so-called “blue wall” that runs through Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. He won Michigan by almost 3 percentage points, but clinched Pennsylvania by a single point and Wisconsin by less than a point. 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s losses in the three states cost her the White House.
The competitiveness of the upper Midwest states compared to previous cycles has political strategists predicting their collective 46 electoral votes may return to the Republican ledger in 2024.
The opposite is true for a handful of Sunbelt states.
Democrats have long been mocked for hoping to shade Republican strongholds, such as Texas, blue. But Arizona and apparently Georgia did just that this year, the first time the states have backed a Democratic standard-bearer since 1996 and 1992, respectively. Biden is on track to take Arizona and Georgia by less than a percentage point.
“For decades, the Upper Midwest was safely Democratic, and the South and Southwest were reliably Republican. But we’re now seeing an entirely new landscape emerge,” political analyst Dan Schnur, a Republican-turned-independent now at the University of Southern California, told the Washington Examiner.