With only two months until election day, the media has heightened its frenzy over the two remaining candidates: Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, and Donald Trump, the Republican nominee. The Huffington Post reports favorable ratings with an average of 42.1 and 34.9 percent respectively, making the 2016 elections a fight between “Meh” and “Hell no”. Both candidates have a fighting chance of securing the presidency, but how would they go about doing it?
In order to win the presidency, you have to secure more electoral votes than your opponent. Each state has a different amount of electoral votes based on population. If you get over fifty percent of the vote in a state, you win all of its electoral votes. Some states have historically voted for one party and are expected to vote for that party in the coming election. According to Real Clear Politics, Clinton and Trump are expected to have at least 272 and 154 electoral votes respectively, with 112 electoral “toss up” votes for states that could go either way. Even if Trump won all the “toss up” electoral votes he would still be six votes short of the presidency. This means that in order for Trump to win, he is going to have to turn some blue states red.
Trump is currently focusing on the Rust Belt, a group of states in the Northeast, such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia. These states were once the industrial powerhouse of the US, but factors such as globalization have hurt communities supported by surrounding industries. Trump’s message of imposing double-digit tariffs on Mexico and China
hits home in an area that has lost a lot of industry to countries overseas. Winning a state like Pennsylvania or Ohio, with twenty and eighteen electoral votes, could be all that Trump needs to put him over the top. On the opposite side, Clinton must hold left-leaning states as well as make a strong presence in swing states with a large number of electoral votes such as Florida and Ohio in order to put more distance between herself and Trump. According to Politico, Clinton suggested an emergency fund for diseases such as Zika. This could gain her support in the state of Florida where funding to fight Zika has been dwindling due to a stalemate in Congress.
In terms of demographics, Trump has done well with white people without college degrees, but has continuously alienated women and minorities with his deplorable rhetoric. With the number of insulting comments growing and the number of days to election day dwindling, it is nearly impossible that Trump would gain support from the large groups of people he has offended. Trump is on his third campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, who seems to be attempting to reign in her unruly candidate. In mid-August, at a convention in North Carolina, Trump read from a prepared statement, “Sometimes in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that. And believe it or not, I regret it — and I do regret it — particularly where it may have caused personal pain.” Savor it now because that is the closest statement to an apology Donald Trump will ever make. Even after insulting the appearance of Rosie O’Donnell in addition to insinuating federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel was biased due to his Mexican heritage and suggesting the Gold Star mother of a deceased veteran “wasn’t allowed” to speak because of her Muslim faith, Trump will not apologize because of his ego, a trait that appeals to some voters but repulses many more. If after the primaries Trump had kept his message, but softened the way he delivered it without any name-calling or Twitter attacks, I think he could have had gained more mainstream Republican voters.
Meanwhile, Clinton continues to gain critical media coverage over her use of a personal email and now, even her family’s charity has been accused of corruption. In a race against any other candidate, Clinton’s negative media attention would make her campaign obsolete, but lucky for her, her opponent expels more outlandish statements than carbon dioxide. If Trump has any chance of turning his campaign around it would have to involve reading only from the teleprompter, apologizing for all of his insulting comments, and relinquishing complete control of his Twitter account; all of which we know will never happen. All that Clinton has to do now is not be Donald Trump, a task which she seems to excel at.