By Andrew Pillow
Want a new fun way to keep up with the 2016 presidential election!? No? Really?… Well here is one anyway. This guide will attempt to represent electoral math using NCAA conferences. This will be written as if Donald Trump is the candidate with ground to make up because by all accounts he is.
Trump has to Sweep the SEC
This is virtually a non-negotiable in every election for the GOP nominee, but it is especially true for Trump. If Trump drops any SEC state, he has virtually no path to 270.
Much has been made about Trump under-performing in some southeastern states and potentially even dropping a few GOP strongholds to Clinton, but in the end those fears didn’t materialize, and the country is left to focus on one state, Florida. Florida is a delegate rich state and the only swing state in the SEC. He can’t lose Florida.
If Trump drops Florida expect the networks to call the election shortly thereafter.
Trump Needs to have a Decent Showing in the Big 10
Hillary Clinton will more than likely “win” the Big 10. However, Trumps strategy doesn’t require a decisive victory in the Midwest, only a moral one.
If Trump can squeeze out wins in Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, and Nebraska he can keep hope alive… but that is not enough to take the election. To do that he would need at least one more Midwest state from Clinton’s so called “Blue Wall”, which would be difficult. (Hence the menacing name.)
Working class whites in Pennsylvania tease the GOP every go around but the state hasn’t gone red since the 80s. (Copy and paste this for most of the states in the upper Midwest.)
Trump has to Perform at Least as Well as Other GOP Candidates in the Pac 12
This is easier said than done. Rising Hispanic populations have made electoral math extremely difficult for Republicans in some places. Nowhere is this more true than the Pac-12.
Clinton is going to win the entire west coast and probably Colorado too. Typically, the GOP keeps themselves afloat by winning Utah and Arizona. Trump’s immigration rhetoric hasn’t played well with the Hispanic voters in Arizona, and third party conservative Evan McMullin is making Trump work harder than he wants in Utah.
The few polls that have come out of Utah and Arizona have painted a mixed picture but Trump probably feels like he will win both of those states. Still, “we need more polls from Utah and Arizona…” is not a quote that the GOP nominee wants to hear on the eve of an election.
Trump Probably Needs one or two Mid Majors
Even if Trump does all of the things above he would still need a combination of one or two mid majors. The GOP wish list in this category would probably be New Hampshire and Nevada, but a split in Maine would help too. The Trump campaign probably needs all three of those scenarios to feel safe.
Clinton basically starts out with 272 electoral votes leaning democrat to begin with. So Trump needs to win every swing state and steal a leaner to win. He CAN do this. At various times throughout the election polling has looked favorable for him to do this.
But, in keeping with the sports theme, the side that needs everything to go right is typically the side that loses.
Clinton – 308
Trump – 230