July 1, 2020 - President Trump could be better positioned to defeat Joe Biden in the November presidential election than current national polls suggest, elections expert Jim Ellis told an audience of LSTA members yesterday during one of its Tuesday Talks series.

Ellis advised the audience to ignore the national polls when projecting the outcome of the election, since these merely reflect national opinion and give more weight to big cities, which lean Democratic, than to the states likely to decide the outcome. Current national polls give Biden nearly a 10-point lead over President Trump.

Ellis, a 35-year veteran of politics at the national and state levels, runs The Ellis Insight, where he publishes a daily column on trends and developments in American elections. Ellis speaks regularly across the country on electoral politics.

Ellis outlined a potential path to victory for Trump, explaining that Trump must split the electoral votes in Nebraska and Maine while winning only one of the Great Lakes states Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Just as critical in this formula, Ellis stated, will be for Trump to win all of what Ellis calls Trump’s “Core 5”—Arizona, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and Florida. North Carolina and Florida have been solid swing states for years while shifting demographics in Arizona, Texas and Georgia now put those states in play for Democrats.

Joe Biden, meanwhile, must take three electoral votes from Maine while winning all of the Great Lakes states, assuming Trump holds his Core 5. Alternatively, he could lose Wisconsin and still win if he takes the other Great Lakes states, Maine, and Nebraska’s Second District, which encompasses the metropolitan area in and around Omaha.

Ellis also previewed the Senate and House races. The Senate, currently held by a 53-47 Republican majority, could flip if the Democrats make inroads in Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Kansas and Georgia—or with other seats currently held by Republicans, such as Susan Collins’ seat in Maine.

Both parties have seats in the House that will be targeted but it’s likely that Democrats will hold onto their majority.  

A Democraticly held Senate combined with a Biden victory and a Democratic hold in the House, Ellis pointed out, could lead to major shifts in Senate tradition with the elimination of the longstanding filibuster rule, which with some exceptions currently prevents the passage of bills with less than a 60-vote majority.

The webcast was the first webcast sponsored by the Business Loans Coalition, the LSTA’s grassroots advocacy affiliate. The BLC provides its members with educational and other resources on relevant political developments in Washington. Signing up to be a member of the BLC is free and can be done here. Future BLC webcasts will be available to BLC members only.

The LSTA continues its Operations webcast series next week with special guest Luke Williams of NYU to discuss how to spark innovation to transform your business. Details and a link to registration are available here.

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