Donald Trump’s bid for the White House seems to be fading with just 12 days left before the election. Such eternal Republican optimists as Karl Rove have already written him off. “I don’t see it happening,” Rove told Fox News. “If he plays an inside straight, he could get it, but I doubt he’s going to be able to play it.” Professor Helmut Norpoth, from Stony Brook University in New York State, disagrees. Norpoth has correctly predicted the last five elections, and he is predicting a Trump win.
Norpoth uses numerous models to make his prediction. At the basis of his perspective is each candidate’s strength in his or her primary victories. Still, most pundits are betting on a Clinton win on November 8. But not so quick – there is a clear, though narrow path to victory for Mr. Trump. And here it is.
1. Retain every state won by Romney in 2012.
The first thing Trump must do is retain all the Romney states. This includes red states like Arizona and Georgia, both won by Bill Clinton in 1996 and contested by Hillary Clinton in 2016. And this includes Utah, which is close, due to independent run of Evan McMullin. Toss in North Carolina, where Trump is narrowly trailing. He must win each of the Romney states. Watch the first election returns from the Eastern time zone. If Trump loses North Carolina, the fat lady will begin warming up. Trump must win North Carolina.
2. Win Ohio.
No Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio. Early voting returns have shown encouraging signs for Trump, with fewer Democrats requesting ballots than in recent elections. Trump has a very narrow lead here; it must hold up for him to have any chance of a national win.
3. Win Florida.
This may be the best firewall for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Two Quinnipiac University polls from the last three weeks have shown Clinton with a slim lead in Florida. Donald Trump hasn’t held a statistically significant lead in a poll in Florida since July. Clinton doesn’t have to win Florida, but Trump absolutely must.
4. Pick up an additional 17 electoral votes.
Even if Trump wins every Romney state plus Ohio and Florida, Clinton wins the election. Unless Trump finds another 17 electoral votes from states won by Obama in 2012. One option is to win Pennsylvania. Though a recent Bloomberg poll measures Clinton’s lead at nine points, Trump is pushing hard for the Keystone State. A second option would be to combine several small states. This list includes Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire. If he achieves steps one and two, plus capturing these three states, he wins. A third option would be to win a wildcard state. If Trump pulls off a big upset in a state such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, or Virginia, he can win.
Trump can still win the White House. But his road is bumpy, narrow, littered with debris, and has a lot of detours along the way.