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.