The 2016 Election changed the Electoral map, and as a result 2020 is going to play by its rules. Traditional swing states swung hard left or right, such as Ohio and Iowa veering sharply right while Virginia and Colorado continued their sharp leftward swing. In their place, new swing states appeared- the Rust Belt and the Southwest. While the 5 states listed below are the most important battleground states, there are of course other states that matter. Every Electoral Vote matters- just ask the 2000 Election.
Related: Senate Predictions for 2020
First up, Pennsylvania. This state has historically been a Republican state, but since 1988 it has voted in Presidential Elections only for Democrats. In its closest result since 1840, it voted for Republican Donald Trump by a margin of 0.72% in 2016. Joe Biden was actually born in Scranton Pennsylvania, and the 2016 Democratic Convention was in Philadelphia. Democrats doubtless understand how important this state is and will utilize all resources and their political machines possible, not only for the swingish nature of the state right now but also for the fact that it holds 20 Electoral Votes. This state will probably be the epicenter of the Trump v. Biden fight, and this is also the one most hard to predict who will win. Trump will probably just narrowly carry it.
Next, Michigan. This state also has had a Republican past, first voting for a Democrat in 1932 for FDR. But since then Democrats have become strong contenders in the state and the majority party since the 1980s. Trump narrowly won this state by 0.23% in 2016, and this is the one that probably shocked the most people. This state also holds 16 Electoral Votes, which makes it a critical target for both campaigns. Michigan has been consistently voted as a “Flip Blue” by pundits, and due to the small percentage of Trump’s win and Biden’s popularity among black and older voters it looks the most likely of the three Rust Belt states mentioned to flip. However, the polls were severely wrong in 2016 so take them with a grain of salt.
The last state among the Rust Belt mentioned in this list is Wisconsin. Hillary Clinton was criticized for not visiting it in her campaign, and the overconfidence showed when she lost it by 0.77% in the 2016 Election. To compensate, the 2020 Democratic Campaign is set to be in Milwaukee, and they will doubtless do their best to hold on to this state this time. However, Wisconsin is the most Republican of the 3 Rust Belt States mentioned, and I believe that Trump will win Wisconsin.
However, as the Democrats have shown signs of losing the Midwest, the Republicans have started showing signs of losing the Southwest. Arizona had for a generation been an important state for their movement, starting with Barry Goldwater in 1964 to John McCain in 2008. However, a Democrat won a Senate seat there in 2018 for the first time in over two decades. Arizona also only voted by 3.6% for Trump in 2016, a drastic drop from 2012 and was one of the few states to swing Democrat instead of Republican. While I think Trump will win Arizona, it will likely be an even tighter win due to the Democrats’ ever increasing stranglehold on the Latino vote and Biden’s prevalence among older, moderate voters.
Last state is neither in the Southwest or Midwest, but due to its 29 Electoral Votes and swingish nature it is a very important state nonetheless- Florida. Florida does of course have a Republican tilt right now- Trump won it by 1.2%, both of its Senators are Republican for the first time since Reconstruction, it elected a Republican Governor in the Democratic sweep of 2018, and the majority of its Representatives in the US House are Republican. Given these facts, I think Trump will win Florida.