A Sense Of What Might Happen In The Presidential Election Of 2020

This blogger and author has been away for a few days, and has decided to wait until we know the results of the few elections taking place in 2019, before making an educated guess on the Presidential Election Of 2020. With the upset victory of Andy Beshear over Matt Bevin for the Kentucky Governorship, and the gaining of the majority in both houses of the Virginia legislature for the first time in a quarter century, the situation for Democrats looks very promising for 2020.

Understand, without a clear answer as to who the Democratic Presidential nominee will be, it is far from easy to judge how the nation will go a year from now.

But with signs that college educated people, inner suburbs, women, African Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, and young people are alienated from Donald Trump and the Republican Party, here is my estimate of what might happen, subject to change, and a final judgment in late October of 2020.

Let us begin with what states are assured to be in the Democratic camp next year:

New England states—Maine (including the 2nd Congressional district which went to Donald Trump in 2016), Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island–a total of 33 electoral votes

Middle Atlantic states–New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia—a total of 59 electoral votes

Southern states—Virginia—13 electoral votes

Midwest states—Illinois, Minnesota—30 electoral votes

Mountain West states—New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado—20 electoral votes

Pacific Coast states—California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii—78 electoral votes

This group of guaranteed states for the Democrats number 20 plus DC, and a total of 233 electoral votes, 37 short of the number needed to win the Presidency.

Now, states likely to go to the Democrats in order of odds—Arizona (11) and Florida (29)–a total of 40 electoral votes, giving the Democrats 273 electoral votes, 3 more than needed to win the Presidency.

Other states that might go to the Democrats—in order of odds—Pennsylvania (20), Michigan (16), Wisconsin (10), North Carolina (15), Georgia (16)—a total of 77 additional electoral votes.

This would make for a total of 27 states plus DC, and a grand total of 350 electoral votes.

But also, one more electoral vote is possible, the 2nd Congressional district of Nebraska (Omaha metropolitan area), which voted for Barack Obama in 2008, so a final total of 351 electoral votes, leaving 187 electoral votes for Donald Trump or Mike Pence, or whoever the Republican Presidential nominee might be.

So the Republicans would win 23 states—West Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas (all in the South)–Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska except for the 2nd Congressional District, Kansas, Oklahoma in the Midwest and Great Plains—and Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Alaska in the Mountain West—a total of 187 electoral votes!

I welcome commentary on my estimate, and it will be an exciting year to November 3, 2020!

16 comments on “A Sense Of What Might Happen In The Presidential Election Of 2020

  1. D November 6, 2019 11:16 am

    Thank you, for this blog topic, Ronald!

    In my first response, I write about what one may anticipate with either a Republican hold or a Democratic pickup of the presidency of the United States with Election 2020. (Scenarios. But, I also touch on U.S. Senate and U.S. House.)

    I created a map which broadly presents the potential for either a party prevailing with respect for the following: a re-elected Republican incumbent Donald Trump garnering up to an addition 3 percentage points in his percentage-points margin; or a Democratic challenger and pickup winner that ends up a wave election to his/her party with a percentage-points margin as high as +8. (Had 2016 Donald Trump won the U.S. Popular Vote, instead of –2 he would have won by +2. So, I adjust to this to as much as a 10-point national shift; along with this, an average of +1 net gains in states with each percentage point nationally shifted in the U.S. Popular Vote favorable to either party.

    ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Here is the potential map:


    Color Key:
    • Solid Red—20 states which will definitely carry Republican. 125 electoral votes.
    • Solid Blue—17 states, plus District of Columbia, which will definitely carry Democratic. 216 electoral votes.
    • Yellow—7 states, all in the 2016 Republican column for Republican pickup winner Donald Trump (pickups Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tipping Point State Wisconsin, and Florida; party holds Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, Arizona, North Carolina, and Georgia), are in position to back the general-election winner. 118 electoral votes.
    • Light Blue—3 states, each in the 2016 Democratic column for Hillary Clinton (New Hampshire, Minnesota, and statewide Maine), which can flip Republican for a re-elected Donald Trump if he wins with increased popular-vote support which delivers the same map but also yields 2020 pickups of at least one state. 16 electoral votes.
    • Light Red—3 states, each in the 2016 Republican column for Trump (pickups Iowa, Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, and Ohio; party hold Texas), which can flip for a Democratic challenger and pickup winner if the margin in the U.S. Popular Vote reaches a minimum of +6 percentage points. 63 electoral votes.
    • Potential Outcome: Republican hold for Donald Trump, with up to 33 states, Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, and 322 electoral votes; Democratic pickup for the prevailing challenger, with up to 30 states, Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, District of Columbia, and 413 electoral votes.

    ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


    Since 1992, the number of carried states have between 26 and 32 with the average 29.

    Donald Trump (R–Florida) can become the first U.S. president, elected beyond one term, who never won the U.S. Popular Vote. In 2016, his popular-vote margin was –2.09. (He received 45.93% to the 48.02% for Hillary Clinton. Trump carried 30 states, plus Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, for an original 306 electoral votes. Had Trump won the U.S. Popular Vote, his margin would have been essentially Hillary Clinton’s.)

    Trump can win re-election if he does not lose the U.S. Popular Vote by more than, say, –3.75 percentage points. (Scenario: He loses Michigan and Pennsylvania but holds 2016 Tipping Point State Wisconsin for a cumulative 270 electoral votes.) But, as has been the historical pattern with the overwhelming majority of U.S. presidents who were re-elected to a second term, Trump can also win re-election with improving his 2016 margin of –2.09 in increments of a full percentage point to gain a state.

    Estimated order (with the 2016 margin; the 2020 U.S. Popular Vote target margin; and cumulative electoral votes):
    31. New Hampshire (–0.36; –1; cumulative electoral votes: 310)
    32. Minnesota (–1.51; +0; cum. 320)
    33. Maine (statewide –2.96; +1; cum. 322)

    A Democratic challenger, who unseats Trump, and wins a pickup of the presidency, is likely to reach at least 26 states.

    There have been only three prior elections in which less than half the states carried: 1824, 1960, and 1976. So, the next time the Democrats win the White House—be it in 2020 or not until 2024—they party will likely carry at least 26 states.

    In 2016, California carried for Hillary Clinton by +28 points in excess of her popular-vote margin. Normally the state is between +15 to +20 for the party. So, I would figure California would end up, in such scenario, scaling back its margins—a stabilization (a la 1988 and 1992 Iowa)—with those numbers distributed to the battleground states needed for pickups to deliver victory in the Electoral College.

    To get an idea of states count, you can figure winning Democrats carry about 22 states in addition to their popular-vote margins. (For Republicans, add 28 to their winning popular-vote margins.) So, if the Democrats are winning the U.S. Popular Vote, and the presidency, their margin is at least +4 with carriage of 26 states.

    In the states list, with my estimations, show that after No. 27 Georgia, which would require the Democrats to win the U.S. Popular Vote by +5, is where the increments of +1 kick in for additional states to follow. (The 2012-to-2016 popular-vote shift had skewed the margin outcome 4 points Democratic.) To mention one example: If you want a 2020 Democratic pickup winner to flip and carry Texas, the U.S. Popular Vote margin will need to reach +7.

    The following list, after Hillary Clinton’s 20 carried states (and original 232 electoral votes), is based on the potential of a wave election in which the Democratic pickup winner wins the U.S. Popular Vote with a margin up to +8 percentage points:

    Estimated order (with the 2016 margin; the 2020 U.S. Popular Vote target margin; and cumulative electoral votes):
    21. Michigan (–0.22; +3; cumulative electoral votes: 248)
    22. Pennsylvania (–0.72; +3.25; cum. 268)
    23. Wisconsin (–0.76; +3.75; cum. 278—Tipping Point State!)
    24. Florida (–1.19; +4; cum. 307)
    — Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District (–2.23; +4.25; cum. 308)
    25. Arizona (–3.50; +4.50; cum. 319)
    26. North Carolina (–3.66; +4.75; cum. 334)
    27. Georgia (–5.10; +5; cum. 350)
    28. Iowa (–9.41; +6; cum. 356)
    — Maine’s 2nd Congressional District (–10.28; +6.50; cum. 357)
    29. Texas (–8.98; +7; cum. 395)
    30. Ohio (–8.07; +8; cum. 413)

    ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    If U.S. President ends up a Republican hold, so will U.S. Senate. In other words: If the Democrats want to flip the U.S. Senate, they will have to flip U.S. President first.

    Since the 17th Amendment of 1910s, there were two U.S. presidential elections in which an opposition-party challenger unseated an incumbent U.S. president and saw the U.S. Senate also flip to the party of that challenger and pickup winner. It happened in 1932, with Democratic challenger Franklin Roosevelt having unseated Republican incumbent Herbert Hoover. It happened again in 1980, with Republican challenger Ronald Reagan having unseated Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter. Yes, they were examples of the coattails’ effect. (Note: For each presidential election which saw one or both houses of Congress switch parties for a new majority—they delivered to the same party which won at the presidential level.)

    For a Republican hold of U.S. President, which means the Democrats certainly would not flip U.S. Senate, the following is the estimate of potential gains:
    [52. Lose Colorado—a state now realigned to the Democrats; it was Donald Trump’s No. 35 best state—with Republicans still having potential of holding Maine]
    53. Alabama
    54. Michigan
    55. Minnesota
    56. New Hampshire

    I estimate, for the presidency, the Democrats need a U.S. Popular Vote margin of at least +4. (That is thinking in terms of whole-number in percentage-points margin.) For U.S. Senate, the Democrats—who are likely to see Alabama flip Republican—need +5.

    For a Democratic majority pickup of the U.S. Senate, the following is the estimate in which the potential net gains may come:
    [46. Lose Alabama]
    47. Colorado
    48. Maine
    49. Arizona (special election)
    50. North Carolina (since 1972, this state has carried for the same party for both U.S. President and U.S. Senate)
    51 to 53. Georgia or Iowa (the Peach Tree State has two on the schedule)—one of them would be the tipping point state
    54. Texas

    ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    U.S. HOUSE
    Since the 17th Amendment, there has been no U.S. presidential election in which an elected incumbent, while the U.S. House was in the column of the opposition party, won re-election and flipped the U.S. House to the incumbent’s party. (Closest exception: Harry Truman, whose Democratic Party lost the U.S. House in the midterm elections of 1946; but, Truman’s 1948 presidential election win was actually for a first full term.)

    The two-term U.S. presidents whose parties lost the U.S. House in Year #02 of their presidencies were Dwight Eisenhower (1954), Bill Clinton (1994), and Barack Obama (2010). They were each re-elected two years later. Incumbent president Donald Trump saw his Republican Party lose the U.S. House in the midterm elections of 2018.

    The U.S. House, for 2020, is a strong historical advantage for the Democrats. But, worth keeping in mind is the 2018 Democrats won the U.S. Popular Vote by +8.56 percentage points. (It was Republican 44.85% vs. Democratic 53.41%.) Since 2000, the margins spread in the U.S. Popular Vote for U.S. President vs. U.S. House have been less than 5 points. Often, they have been tighter. Sometimes 3 points or less. So, the 2020 Democrats would have to perform at their 2018 margins level to not lose any seats in the U.S. House. If Trump wins re-election, and his margin is anywhere between –3 to +1, the Democrats’ U.S. House popular-vote margin would end up at a similar level—and they would lose seats. (For such outcome, the Republicans would gain anywhere between +6 to +15; following the 2018 midterm elections, but without keeping in mind since vacant seats, the 2020 Republicans need +18.)

  2. Princess Leia November 6, 2019 12:15 pm

    These wins sends the important message that voters are fed up with the hate and lies and corruption of Trump and his crony Republican supporters.

  3. D November 6, 2019 12:42 pm

    Effective: Wednesday, November 6, 2019—At this point, I will write and post my predictions.

    ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Election 2020 is an incumbent year. That means people—voters—have the option to re-elect the incumbent president of the United States. For the White House opposition party, the Democratic Party, to win back the presidency in 2020, rather than waiting for 2024, this means they will have to reach by unseating Republican incumbent U.S. president Donald Trump. (If one is interested: Look up the record on how many incumbent U.S. presidents, who seeked re-nomination, lost re-nomination.)

    During the 20th century, there were five incumbent U.S. presidents who were unseated: 1912 Republican incumbent William Howard Taft; 1932 Republican incumbent Herbert Hoover; 1976 Republican incumbent Gerald Ford (never elected U.S. president or U.S. vice president); 1980 Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter; and 1992 Republican incumbent George Bush.

    The opposition-party challengers who unseated them were: 1912 Democratic challenger Woodrow Wilson; 1932 Democratic challenger Franklin Roosevelt; 1976 Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter; 1980 Republican challenger Ronald Reagan; and 1992 Democratic challenger Bill Clinton.

    What those opposition-party challengers, who unseated those incumbent presidents, had in common was change in more ways than one: They did not merely run and win on change; they did not deliver just change for the nation and its people; they also changed their political parties for how they operated going forward. (This is most especially obvious with the examples of FDR and Reagan.)

    There is only one 2020 Democratic candidate in a position to be able to win the nomination who fits into this category: Bernie Sanders. Neither Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren—both are comfortable candidates to a corporate Democratic Party Establishment fighting against not having to change—apply.

    I am, at this point, predicting a 2020 re-election for Donald Trump.

    I am also predicting Trump—who recently changed his home state from New York to Florida—will become the first U.S. president elected beyond one term who will have never won the U.S. Popular Vote.

    Assuming the two-party vote returns from the 2016 outcome of 93.95 percent to the typical range of 97 to 99 percent, Trump needs to receive 48 percent in the U.S. Popular Vote to not get unseated.

    Gallup, throughout October 2011, reported then-incumbent U.S. president Barack Obama’s job approval between 41 to 43 percent. He was re-elected, on November 6, 2012, with 51 percent in the U.S. Popular Vote. Gallup, from mid-September to mid-October 2019, reported incumbent U.S. president Donald Trump’s job approval between 39 to 41 percent. So, the level of increases necessary over the course of 12-plus months, for a 2011-to-2012 re-elected Obama and a potentially re-elected 2019-to-2020 Trump, may be similar.

    ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Here is the map (light color indicates pickup):


    ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    A summary on all three levels:

    ☑ Donald Trump (R–Florida, incumbent) 48%
    ☐ Establishment Candidate (D–United States) 49%
    • Winning Party: Republican (Hold)
    • U.S. Popular Vote Margin: Democratic +1
    • Shift (from 2016): Republican +1
    • Electoral College: Trump, with 31 states and Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, and 310 electoral votes

    ☑ Republican (Hold)
    ☐ Democratic
    • Net Gain in Seats: Not Determined; for first time in history, 100 percent of the states on the schedule in 2016 carried for the same party for U.S. President and U.S. Senate; that may not repeat in 2020

    U.S. HOUSE
    ☐ Republican
    ☑ Democratic (Hold)
    • Net Gain in Seats: Republican +6 to +15; this would reduce the Democrats’ majority-held seats from the 230s into the 220s

    ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Thank you, again, Ronald!

  4. Pragmatic Progressive November 6, 2019 4:51 pm


    Lessons from Election 2019: Americans want restoration, not revolution

    To say that Democrats had a phenomenal night on Tuesday would be an understatement.

    In off-year – and especially odd-year – elections, turnout tends to be low, benefiting Republicans and helping them pick up important state and local offices. But that wasn’t the case last night. Democrats flipped the control of both houses of the Virginia legislature, flipping six seats in the House of Delegates and two in the State Senate. Just two years ago, on the eve of election night 2017, Republicans held 66 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates. As has been pointed out, Democrats won on the gerrymandered maps Republicans drew after the 2010 census and will be in complete control of redrawing those maps – and of the state government – after the 2020 census.

    In the big upset of the night, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear appears to have defeated Kentucky’s Trump-twin Gov. Matt Bevin.

    But in perhaps the most worrying sign for Trump and the Republicans, Democrats swept the Philadelphia suburbs to gain control of local governments Republicans had dominated since before the Civil War. Bloodbath is a kind word for what happened to Republicans in the suburbs last night.

    In Kentucky, voter turnout increased significantly. 1.4 million voters cast ballots in the state, a 40% increase in turnout from the previous gubernatorial race in 2015. Turnout in the crucial races in Virginia also appears to have been up.

    There is no doubt that this was a big victory for Democrats and a warning sign for Republicans who have been turning their party into a personality cult for an out-of-control president. Despite the breathless warnings from pundits that Donald Trump’s intensity of support is being underestimated, last night proved that it is the pundits who are underestimating the intensity of his opposition.

    But this was more than that. This was not just a victory for Democrats. This was a victory of reason over rhetoric, moderation over extremism, and pragmatism over dogmatism. This was a victory of what President Obama once called the fierce urgency of now.

    The leading issue dominating the elections last night in Kentucky and Virginia was health care, specifically, the fight to expand and transform Medicaid to an income-based entitlement under the Affordable Care Act. Not a single Democrat who won these seats went around talking about single-payer health care.

    Because they fought to make sure people who need coverage can get coverage now, stringent work requirements for Medicaid eligibility will now be lifted in Kentucky. Restrictions forced by Republicans in the Virginia legislature on Medicaid will also now be rescinded.

    Democrats fought to protect women’s rights, reproductive justice, and fair pay. Democrats fought for improving public education, reducing prescription drug prices, raising the minimum wage, making polluters pay, and gun safety reform. No one went around talking about breaking up banks, eliminating private health insurance, or an insane promise that everyone can get a job working for the government.

    The Democrats who made inroads for last night’s big victory – as well as the majority makers in the House from 2018 – won on largely the same economic message: protect and defend Obamacare, fight to lower the cost of health care and drug prices, equal opportunity, and check the gun lobby so that children don’t get shot in schools.

    They won because they ran on what is possible, what they knew they could deliver if they won. They won because they determined that people needed help now and couldn’t wait around for shocks to the system to satisfy politicians. They won because they took the message of practical progress and knocked on their neighbors’ doors.

    The Democrats who flipped crucial seats last night were not warriors for a revolution. They were partners for a great American restoration. Because the restoration of the health care advancements we made under President Obama, the resurrection of character in public office, and the revival of the American social and generational compact are big ideas.

    And that’s what we want in 2020. Restoration, not revolution.

  5. Princess Leia November 6, 2019 4:53 pm

    Exactly! That’s why I don’t dismiss Biden.

  6. Southern Liberal November 6, 2019 5:33 pm

    Our neck of the woods made history last. An African American woman was elected as our area’s new commissioner of revenue. She is the first African American to be elected to a constitutional office in our area.

  7. Southern Liberal November 6, 2019 5:57 pm

    That should be: made history last night.

  8. Former Republican November 6, 2019 10:17 pm

    Public impeachment hearings begin next week.

  9. Pragmatic Progressive November 7, 2019 12:48 pm

    The Democratic nominee will have to demonstrate that they can walk and chew gum at the same time. When women, people of color, and our LGBT brothers and sisters come under attack, they can’t back down. But they also can’t lose the message of the issues that matter to all of us. While he didn’t win the Florida governor’s race, Andrew Gillum was able to capture the Democratic message amazingly well in this one minute ad. This is the kind of message that will resonate in both the Rust Belt and the Sun Belt.

  10. Princess Leia November 8, 2019 12:11 pm

    Her plan presumes a nine-to-five schedule, and thus does nothing to help shift workers, despite the fact that millions of Americans are forced to work jobs that run during the evening and early morning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.