It seems like everyone, myself included, underestimated Donald Trump. I never dreamed he could actually get the nomination. Now people are asking if he could actually be elected.
Given their built-in electoral advantage, one would expect an easy win for the Democrats. However, they face a number of challenges. Right now they seem more divided than the Republicans. Unlike her husband, Hillary Clinton is not a natural campaigner. She is neither warm nor likeable. She is dogged by scandal. Voters want someone new and she has been around for a quarter century.
Recently some polls show Trump in the lead. In the past August and September polls have been wildly inaccurate so we should pay no attention at all to May polls. As everyone knows, we choose our president using the antiquated Electoral College.
I took a state by state look at the race. I assumed that any state Obama or Romney won by at least 10 percentage points is safe for their party (I am slightly less confident about Indiana so excluded it). That gives Clinton a 191 to 142 lead (it takes 270 electoral votes to win). I am pretty confident Clinton will take Minnesota and another electoral vote in Maine (they allocate votes based on results in congressional districts. I am equally confident Trump will get Arizona, Georgia and Indiana. That tightens things up but Clinton still leads 202 to 180.
That leaves twelve states. A strong turnout by Hispanics should give Clinton Colorado and Nevada. Missouri was once an unpredictable state but is definitely trending Republican. Although they have Republican governors, Michigan and Wisconsin consistently vote for the Democratic presidential candidate. The influence of federal workers and contractors is gradually turning Virginia into a blue state.
At this point Clinton would have a strong 246 to 190 lead with Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania too close to call. If all this comes to pass, Clinton would very likely win. Just getting Florida puts her on top. If she takes Pennsylvania, Trump must take all of the other states. Ohio plus any state except New Hampshire also gives Clinton the win. You get the picture.
Trump certainly has a chance but a lot of things have to go his way for him to come out on top. If you have to make a bet, put your money on Clinton. However, betting on politics sounds pretty stupid in the crazy, unpredictable year.