Can We Call It?

The title of Stuart Rothenberg’s latest article in the Washington Post is really quite extraordinary: “Trump’s path to an electoral college victory isn’t narrow. It’s non-existent.” Here’s what he says to back that up:

It would be a mistake to call Trump’s current path to an electoral college victory narrow. It is nonexistent. Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, once part of the Trump scenario, have never been “in play,” and he is not competitive in 2012 states Obama won only narrowly, such as Virginia and Colorado. Trump is more likely to lose North Carolina than win it, which would put him under 200 electoral votes.

Frankly, the writing has been on the wall for months about this race. You simply needed to look at the candidates, their campaign teams, the map and the voters.

That isn’t extraordinary because it is out of sync with reality – but because he actually said it.

A couple of forces line up to keep prognosticators from making that kind of call. First of all, with the election still 3 weeks away, unforeseen events can happen that change the dynamics. Secondly, when a presidential election is not viewed as a horse race, voters can lose interest. That could mean fewer clicks and eyeballs for the media. And for partisans, it could lower turnout.

But in this race, reality might be overtaking those forces. So Rothenberg was willing to go out on a limb and call it. That’s one more way that Donald Trump is changing the norms we’ve come to expect in politics.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.