Donald Trump Path To Victory: How Can The Republican Incumbent Win The 2020 Presidential Election?

Donald Trump gives thumbs up
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

As Americans head to the polls in the culmination of a presidential election like none before it, Republican incumbent Donald Trump will be seeking to repeat his unexpected victory as he faces off against Democratic nominee Joe Biden. While Trump didn’t win the popular vote in 2016, he solidly secured victory through the electoral college by pulling off a string of narrow victories in valuable swing states. To secure his re-election, Trump will need to pull off that narrow but attainable path once again, as reported by The Washington Post.

Florida Is The Key State

Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally for Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun at the County War Memorial Coliseum November 5, 2018 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
  Aaron P. Bernstein / Getty Images

While it is unclear how close this election will truly be, it is undeniable that if things don’t go Trump’s way in Florida, it is likely to be an early night. While Biden would still have a significantly narrower path to victory without Florida and its 29 electoral votes, Trump would have to pull off some upsets even more impressive than in 2016 if he were to lose the Sunshine State. Trump is well aware of this fact, with his campaign scheduling rallies on an almost daily basis during the run-up to Election Day.

Florida’s historically thin margins of victory make it a toss-up every presidential election cycle, with polls showing Biden and Trump locked in a virtual tie. If he pulls off a victory, the president will hope that it once again anchors the southern states he dominated in 2016. With Arizona, Georgia and Texas appearing to go down a similar trajectory to Florida earlier than originally projected, Trump will aim to buck the trends and maintain his stronghold in those formerly solidly red states.

Trump Needs A Repeat Performance In The Great Lakes Region

Donald Trump tosses a hat into the crowd as he arrives for a 'Make America Great Again' campaign rally at Williamsport Regional Airport, May 20, 2019 in Montoursville, Pennsylvania.
  Drew Angerer / Getty Images

If Trump holds on to the southern half of the country, it will make his path to victory significantly easier but not a sure thing. The second battleground is in the Midwest, where the president needs a combination of states to ensure four more years in the White House. It was Trump’s gains in the Great Lakes region that ensured his victory, and despite most state polls that show either Biden leading or a toss-up, it will only take a couple of upsets to seal the win.

Ohio and Iowa — states Trump won by more than eight points — are virtually tied. If they go Trump’s way, all he would need is one of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump won all three in 2016 but all within a single point. While the polls in 2020 aren’t as close as they were four years earlier, they are still within grasp for the incumbent, particularly in Pennsylvania.

While based on current polls Trump appears to be somewhat of an underdog, it would only take a minor shift in polling numbers to turn what from the outset looks like a difficult path to victory into a rout for the president. His victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016 totally changed the way the polls and reporting during election campaigns are perceived, and the response to it will only be truly understood after today. Democrats may have gone to the polls with more urgency than four years ago, giving Biden a clear win. However, if Trump can once again bring who he refers to as the “silent majority” on board with his dedicated supporters, one of the most unexpected presidents ever will be getting four more years.