It ain’t over until it’s over, Yogi Berra said. And this ain’t over yet, and likely won’t be for at least a few more days.
Unofficially, Donald Trump leads in enough states to have won the election with 277 Electoral College votes. Let’s take a look at the map from 270towin.com to see the lay of the land:
Normally by this time, one side would be popping the corks and the other would be drafting excuses for the loss. However, in a few states the outstanding mail-in ballots might make a difference in the final outcome. And in one, Michigan, they’re still counting ballots in key counties:
In Michigan, Trump led by about 200,000 votes, 51%-47%, according to the Associated Press count of the state’s tally. If accurate, the 4.4 million votes were still as many as 1 million short — or perhaps more — of the total cast in the historic election, however, meaning it was still possible Biden could make up that difference. Huge numbers of ballots remained to be counted in Michigan’s largest counties, including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Kent.
More than 3.2 million votes were cast by absentee ballot in Michigan. Those were the votes that were still largely to be counted and they were expected, according to polling and other modeling done by the candidates, to swing sharply toward Biden, the former vice president.
Right now, the map shows that Trump can only afford to lose one state — Iowa — and still hang on for re-election. Iowa looks solid for Trump (and has been called for him), but four other states look … worrisome. At the time I’m writing this, Trump’s Michigan lead has dropped to just 2,000 votes, far too close for comfort. If there are a million early votes left to be counted, this might be enough to tip the race to Biden.
In North Carolina, both sides are already in a fight over late-arriving ballots. Trump has a more substantial lead there, 77,000 votes, but that’s not impossible for Biden to overcome. Thom Tillis felt comfortable enough to declare victory last night, but his lead is about 20,000 votes larger over Cal Cunningham. Georgia is potentially still in play too, but Trump has a 100,000-vote lead there at the moment. The best news for Trump at the moment on this score is Pennsylvania, where he won by 630,000 votes. There are a lot of ballots to be counted there, but Trump’s lead is probably far too wide now for late-counted ballots to change the race.
Trump can’t afford to lose any of these states. If he does, Joe Biden wins the election. The only potential counters to that are Arizona and Nevada, where Trump trails but the races still haven’t been called. Biden’s up four points in Arizona but it’s a lot closer in Nevada, where Trump is only 8,000 votes behind. That’s still only 17 Electoral College votes, which might make up for Michigan — if Trump actually catches up.
Trump did a good job in beating expectations in Florida and Pennsylvania last night. But it ain’t over yet … not by a long shot.