The Rushmore Report: Trump’s Path to 270

It takes 270 electoral votes to win the White House – 269 for the tie. There is a realistic chance of a tie, which would throw the race into the U.S. House, which would likely name Donald Trump the winner. Most pundits dismissed Trump’s chances months ago. But at Proud Americans, we gave the map to 270 two months ago – it has not changed. As I said then, New Hampshire is the most important state, though it offers only four electoral votes.

Why is New Hampshire “the” state to watch? More on that later. First, here is the five-tier strategy to victory for Donald Trump. I would argue that this is the only map by which he can win. The bad news for Trump is he won’t win Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado, or Wisconsin, despite his campaign claims. Any time spent there in the final days is time wasted. But the good news is that Trump doesn’t need any of those states to win.

Step 1: Win the Romney states.

Trump must win the states Mitt Romney won in 2012. The biggest challenge here is winning North Carolina, where he trails by anywhere from two to seven points. By winning the Romney states, Trump gets to 206.

Step 2: Win Florida and Ohio.

Trump holds a slim lead in Ohio and is either tied or behind in Florida. He must win both states. This would get him to 253 electoral votes.

Step 3: Win Iowa and Nevada.

These are two states narrowly won by President Obama in 2012. Trump leads slightly in Iowa and trails slightly in Nevada. Both are winnable states. This would push Mr. Trump to 265 electoral votes, just four short of a tie.

Step 4: Win New Hampshire.

This gets Trump to 269 and a tie. Why is New Hampshire the biggest prize, with just four electoral votes? That’s simple. Throughout the campaign, of all the states in play, Trump trails in New Hampshire by less than any other state not on our 270-plan. That means it is the easiest remaining state for him to win – but the hardest of the 28 states he will need to win. But if Trump can’t win New Hampshire, he can’t win any of the other 22 states, as he trails in each of them by a greater number than his deficit in New Hampshire.

Step 5: Win one district in Maine.

Maine hands out delegates according to congressional districts. Trump has a good shot at one district, which would get him to 270. Otherwise, the race ends in a tie, in which case the House would likely toss the race to Trump anyway.

There you go. This race may be decided early. The Eastern Time Zone states of North Carolina and New Hampshire will start announcing results early. If Trump loses any of these states – even one – he loses: Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Nevada, Iowa.

But watch the littlest prize of them all – New Hampshire. Any road that doesn’t go through the Granite State will not end at the White House for Mr. Trump.

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