US Presidential Elections often hinge on very fine margins. The 2016 election was no different, as Donald Trump secured the presidency despite gaining less overall votes than Hillary Clinton. This is because of the USA’s Electoral College voting system, which means that picking the next president does not simply come down to who gets the most votes from the public, but that each state gets a certain number of votes based on their population and influence. Trump won that election because he managed to secure the electoral votes from the crucial ‘swing states,’ states whose political allegiances can swing one way or the other.
This group of states includes Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, and Ohio among others, and these states usually play a defining role in who wins a US Presidential Election. In 2016, Trump was able to win in Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Pennsylvania; and those victories helped him win the White House even though Clinton won the popular vote.
When the 2020 election rolls around, the Democratic Party will need better results in those states if they are to win back the White House. It’s important that lessons are learned from the last Campaign, and Hillary Clinton divided a lot of opinion amongst Democratic supporters, meaning that Trump was able to take advantage and get some of the crucial swing states on his side.
The most important thing for the Democratic Party is to select a candidate that all party supporters can get behind and rally around, one that can unite those who would oppose Donald Trump if he is to be the Republican nominee once again. The Democrats need someone who can establish themselves as the favourite in winner betting odds on US Presidential Election in 2020.
Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, the two main frontrunners for the Democrats, both could claim to have what it takes to take down Trump, and the prospect of a safe and steady pair of hands may be enough to tip the scales in the Democrats’ favour in the swing states.
It will be interesting to see how Trump’s popularity waxes and wanes between now and the election. Amongst his most ardent supporters, he has never been more popular, the President having continued to hold rallies and events throughout his first term, eager it seems to keep his loyal followers well and truly on his side.
However, without doubt, many of those who voted for him in 2016 will have been somewhat turned off by his first term in office, and may be keen for a change. The key for the Democrats is to win over those who may have been sitting on the fence and voted for Trump as a result.
At the end of the day, policy is what will play the biggest role in the Democrats’ quest to win the swing states. The likes of Biden, Warren and Bernie Sanders all have their varying ideas on healthcare, one of the hottest topics in the States at the moment, and it’s surely vital for the Party’s prospects that the candidate with the most uniting views and ideas gets the nomination. If Trump’s opponent can unite the general public with sensible policy and sensible rhetoric, that could be the difference in winning over those fence-sitters.
The nature of these swing states is that you usually don’t know which way they’re going to go until the night of the election count. That’s what happened in 2016, when most were expecting a Clinton win. The Democratic Party need to channel their efforts into selecting a candidate that will ensure such a shock won’t be repeated.