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If it happens, ending the electoral college will become as fixed and zealous a Democratic credo as abortion on demand. They’re already 80 percent of the way towards making it party orthodoxy after 2000 and 2016. To lose twice in a row to a character like Trump despite winning more overall votes would convert it into bedrock liberal dogma.
How does Trump lose by five million votes and win a second term? Simple, argues analyst Dave Wasserman. Although the country is changing demographically in ways that benefit Democrats electorally, those changes happen to be concentrated in states that are either already safely blue or so safely red — for the moment — that there’s little chance of flipping them in 2020. The two obvious examples are California and Texas. The Democratic nominee’s going to run up the score in Cali next fall, winning the state by many millions of votes (particularly, perhaps, if state native Kamala Harris is the nominee). And Democrats are likely to make gains in Texas as the electorate there turns more Latino, further padding the nominee’s national popular-vote total. But unless there are enough gains to actually turn Texas blue, which is unlikely, so what? Dems will enjoy a windfall of popular votes in both states and it won’t matter a lick in terms of electoral votes.
Where they need gains, of course, is in the Rust Belt. But there’s cause for pessimism, says Wasserman:
Democrats’ potential inefficiencies aren’t limited to California and Texas: The list of the nation’s top 15 fastest-diversifying states also includes the sizable yet safely blue states of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Washington and Oregon.
Meanwhile, demographic transformation isn’t nearly as rapid in the narrow band of states that are best-positioned to decide the Electoral College — a factor that seriously aids Trump.
There have been lots of lame and half-baked takes about the Democrats "blowing it" or "moving too far left", but this is the best empirical case I've seen that the voters most likely to tip the electoral scales are quite conservative on immigration. https://t.co/5B9RrwBF2L
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) July 19, 2019
Basically, I think Clinton 2016 was probably close (maybe not exactly *at*) the local minimum for D's. So a coalition that *either* "turned back the clock" (Biden?) *or* turboboosted demographic change (Harris/Castro?) could be better than Clinton 16, which was stuck in between. pic.twitter.com/yWkWsLCjYt
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) July 20, 2019
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