As the general election approaches, most eyes lay on the key battleground states in the U.S. to predict who will be the next United States President. Pennsylvania is notorious for being a toss-up red or blue state in the general election. Joe Biden and Donald Trump have spent much of their campaign directed toward winning Pennsylvania to sway their twenty electoral votes. For the previous six elections, Pennsylvania voted for the Democratic Party, but in 2016, they turned red and supported Donald Trump leading him to a victory campaign. Each year, the race was a close call with almost a fifty-fifty split in electoral votes for each political party. This year, Pennsylvania is seen as a tipping point in the election and it is said by most that the fate of who wins the election will be entirely dependent on the winner of Pennsylvania.
President Donald Trump cast his ballot in Palm Beach County, Florida, on October 24. As we know, winning Florida is crucial for a presidential candidate in the election, yet it has always been difficult to determine how Florida will vote. The state does not typically show a strong loyalty to either political party and has often been called the “bellwether state” for accurately predicting the national moods of the presidential elections. In fact, since 1928, Florida has only twice voted against the winner of the presidential race.
The state of North Carolina can pride itself on their barbecues, their beaches within the Outer Banks, and their status as an election battleground. The future of the presidency of Donald Trump will be on the ballot tomorrow: whether voters approve of his unorthodox handling of key issues enough to give him a second term may be decided by North Carolina, a must-win state for the Republican incumbent. If judging his chances based on past elections – including in 2016 when he carried North Carolina by 3.7 percentage points – this shouldn’t be an extremely difficult task. In the last 50 years, only two Democrats have managed to carry the Tar Heel State on the presidential level – Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Barack Obama in 2008. That said, even as the President carried this state four years ago, it is not a guarantee that he can hold onto this state again.
The Virginia 2nd Congressional District encompasses Accomack, Northampton, and York counties and is considered one of the most competitive congressional districts in Virginia. As a district, it has traditionally held conservative representatives in office, with 8 in 10 being Republican in the past ten elections. The district is 67% white and has an average income of $70K, about $15K higher than the average, giving some reason behind a Republican history and reason to the district being R+3. Moreover, there was redistricting in 2012 that was deemed unconstitutional in 2016 and had no effect on the party that held office the year the redistricting was changed.
Now, in 2020, the one of two Democrats to hold office in the past 20 years is facing reelection. Elaine Luria (D), the incumbent, is being challenged by Scott Taylor (R), a previous representative from 2016-2018. The county is considered a pivot county and will be impactful in affecting the state’s Congressional delegation.
I have been following the Jeff Van Drew vs. Amy Kennedy U.S. Congressional race for the New Jersey 2nd District. This race is being impacted by local issues, the Presidential race, and a difference in campaign money. Right now, the race is considered a “toss-up,” but a recent poll shows Kennedy in the lead by 6 percentage points. Will the incumbent, Jeff Van Drew, changing parties and becoming Republican help him, or will it show him as a traitor to the Democratic party, and possibly even “pull him down” because of President Trump’s low favorability ratings in the district?
This race appears heavily affected by local issues. Van Drew explained that he flipped Democrat to Republican because he did not like how Trump was being treated in the Russia investigation. Seeing that people were unhappy with the Democratic Party, and Trump’s approval rating going up, made this decision easy and made him feel confident. He obviously could not foresee the future, especially the terrible impact COVID-19 would have on New Jersey, or a perception that would grow amongst many locals that Trump mishandled the crisis. Now with this criticism of Trump, and the continuing pandemic, voters may feel differently about his perceived ties with the president. What appeared to be a smart, even strong move in flipping sides because of the number of Republicans in the 2nd District, now may cost him his seat because many appear disappointed with Trump.
The presidential battleground state of Arizona has been a highly contested swing state in this upcoming election. Republicans have been the state’s dominant party as residents align with more conservative ideologies; every Republican candidate since Dwight D. Eisenhower, except for Bob Dole, has won the state of Arizona. In 1996, Bill Clinton won Arizona over Dole. The state has had over 72 years of Republican voting. In the 2016 presidential election, Trump beat Hillary Clinton with 48.1 percent of the votes. In the current election, Biden is leading with 48.2 percentage points over Trump, who has 45.5 percent. Biden could be the first Democratic candidate to win this state since 1996. The change in this voting most likely has to do with the demographic of voters. It has been reported that more people have moved in and out of Arizona, either due to professions or other reasons. There is also a growth in the Hispanic population, which leans more democratic. There are more democratic residents moving to Arizona as well. Republican voters are also shifting more democratic as they are not pleased with Trump’s current administration. The result of this election will be tough for Arizona. Political scientists predict that the state could go blue, but it could go either way.
The Texas District 21 race for U.S. House is considered to be one of the biggest toss-ups heading into the 2020 election. This contest between Republican incumbent Chip Roy and Democratic challenger Wendy Davis will speak to the larger, more gradual political movements in the district. The longtime red district, having seen diminishing Republican victories since 2012, is widely described as a toss-up, with only one report defining it as Republican-leaning.
Texas House District 21 lies north of San Antonio and covers a significant portion of Austin. The district has been represented by Republicans since 1979, but has seen a gradual change as voter demographics have shifted. In the 2012 Presidential election, Mitt Romney carried the district by 22 points. This margin decreased in 2016 to only ten points. In the 2018 Senatorial election between Senator Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke, the candidates tied in District 21.
The race of Democratic incumbent Joe Cunningham against Republican Nancy Mace, who has served as a member of the South Carolina House of Representative for District 99, has sparked concerns over the fate of the 117th Congress. South Carolina District 1 which covers the majority of the Atlantic coast from Charleston to Hilton Head Island, has become one of the most crucial toss-up districts in the presidential election. District 1 is made up by majority white veterans, retirees, and immigrants. District 1 has remained a predominantly Republican district for the past four decades until 2018 when the congressional seat was flipped by Joe Cunningham.
When Donald Trump won the presidency over Hillary Clinton in November of 2016, many pollsters and political pundits were shocked at the outcome. Clinton had been favored in many national and battleground state polls, and yet she found herself conceding the election the next day. One key reason for this political phenomenon was that many states that had reliably voted blue in recent decades, specifically in the Midwest, swung towards Trump, enabling him to secure the 270 electoral votes needed for the presidency. Four years later, one of these states, Wisconsin, once again finds itself in the midst of a tight and all-important presidential election. As Joe Biden and Donald Trump enter the final week of the presidential election, Wisconsin has entered the national spotlight as a critical swing state.
It was fun while it lasted. Alabama will likely vote out their first Democratic Senator elected in 25 years, Sen. Doug Jones, in favor of Republican Tommy Tuberville.
Doug Jones’ initial victory, with 50 points to Roy Moore’s 48, was a major upset, and came as a shock to many. The Associated Press reported December 13, 2017, that Jones’ victory was the first Democratic Senate victory in the state of Alabama in a quarter century (13 December 2017, Associated Press). Jones’ victory narrowed the Senate’s Republican majority to 51-49 at the time, and was encouraging to members of the Democratic Party who planned to reclaim the House and Senate majorities in the following year’s midterm elections. Continue reading “Decision 2020: Doug Jones vs. Tommy Tuberville (AL Senate)”