With just over a month to go until this year’s Presidential Election, Politika News was fortunate enough to have a (virtual) discussion with political analyst, Drew Savicki, from 270ToWin. With over 27,000 Twitter followers and years of experience in analysing US elections, we asked him the questions every politico wants to know about the 2020 race to the White House.
1) Is SCOTUS a bigger opportunity for Trump or Biden to garner votes (and why)?
Dave Wasserman makes a really good point that I agree with. SCOTUS will likely divide the Trump base. Let’s not forget, the Obama/Trump voters [editor’s note: Obama voters who then voted for Trump in 2016] were Democrats because they associated the GOP with the religious right. Many of them are pro-choice in some form.
2) On the whole, has COVID affected the Trump or Biden campaign most and why?
Definitely Biden. Biden is a retail politician. He loves getting out there and he really misses that interaction with voters.
3) Is there any way Trump can stop the bleeding on 2016 Obama-Trump voters? To that end, is the key to a Biden victory simply the blue-collar voter?
Healthcare won Democrats the House in 2018 and Biden has rightly focused on that as his key argument against Trump. Trump would be wise to incorporate more of the Democratic healthcare policies into his platform. The blue collar Obama/Trump voters voted for Democrats in 2018 because of the Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
4) Democrats have gone shy on exposing Trump’s ‘drain the swamp’ hypocrisy. Do you think this is a lost opportunity for them?
Yes. One of the things Biden should hit Trump on is that he is not the populist warrior he campaigned as. I feel that’s a strong argument that Democrats have largely avoided making. Tying Trump to Mitch McConnell would also be a smart idea, given McConnell’s unpopularity.
5) There’s been a lot of talk about the increase in ‘swing states’ this year. How much should we trust the hype – and is Texas really up for grabs?
Yes, the battlefield is quite large this year. Biden’s strength with northern non-Appalachian whites puts Trump in real danger in places like Iowa and Maine’s 2nd District. Polls have shown a tight race in Texas, albeit one with a clear Trump lead. Texas polls underestimated Beto O’Rourke in 2018 so it’s possible they underestimate Biden. Democrats have made considerable gains among college-educated whites in Texas and that seriously endangers the GOP majority in the Texas House.
6) It’s become a cliché question after Brexit and Trump – but should we be taking the national polls seriously at this stage?
Yes, national polls are important. National polls show us how much more Republican-leaning the Electoral College is.
7) Biden only secured 17% of the Latino vote in the primaries and Trump is on course to increase his Latino share, largely helped by the anti-socialist messaging among Cuban Floridians. Can Biden salvage Hispanic votes in any other state and would it make a difference on election night?
It seems like, as we’ve grown closer to election day, the undecided Hispanic voters have consolidated behind Biden.
8) According to the data, do progressives back Biden and does it matter if they do?
Yes, by and large Biden has consolidated Democrats.
9) “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters” – has Trump’s base largely held out since 2016?
Yes. Trump has a strong hold on his base of support but he needs to keep wavering voters in line.
10) As results come in on November 3rd, which state will offer the greatest indicator as to who will become President?
Pennsylvania is most likely to be the tipping point state but we’ll know who’s likely President based on the results in Florida.
11) If Trump goes, will Trumpism go from the GOP? If Trump wins, do we see a progressive backlash within the Democratic Party?
No, Trump has cemented his grip on the Republican Party. So many safe-seat Republicans have retired since his election and been replaced with much more Trumpy Republicans. If Biden loses, there is likely to be considerable anger at Bernie Sanders for his poor Black outreach in the 2020 primary. The progressive movement will be without a prominent standard bearer for the 2024 election.
12) And finally, we may as well try and get a prediction from you! Based on the data as it stands today, who’s winning 2020?
Based on where the races stand today, Joe Biden would clearly win the presidency. I think he will hold the Clinton-won states and flip Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, NE-2, ME-2, and Arizona.
Drew Savicki is a political analyst and author of ‘The Road to 270’ column for 270ToWin.