It is no secret that despite the tightening polls, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has a narrow road if he is to win the presidential election in November.
The bottom line is that regardless of the national numbers, electoral votes are what win the presidency, meaning that a candidate has to do more than just win the national popular vote — a lesson the country most recently learned in the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore.
Therefore, it is important to focus on the state by state races as ultimately, those are the ones that give a better snapshot of any candidate’s chances. There are states that are solidly democrat, such as California and New York, and those that are generally solidly republican, such as Alabama and Louisiana. These states are highly unlikely to flip to the other party.
One of the states that is a must win for Trump is North Carolina. While North Carolina is not as red as Alabama, it has voted for the Republican candidate in eight of the last nine elections. And judging by the state by state tallies, on this election, if it does not again vote Republican, Donald Trump’s chances are virtually zero in securing the White House.
There are a number of major events that have occurred in recent months that have significantly hurt Donald Trump’s chances of winning the state, despite what any polls may show.
First, a recent 4th Circuit decision has invalidated North Carolina’s voter ID law, which was widely believed to be the most restrictive such law in the nation. In a stinging decision, the Court ruled that North Carolina’s legislature had crafted the law to discriminate against blacks — meaning prevent them from voting — “with almost surgical precision.” Trump’s support among Afrian Americans being what it is, this ruling is a significant setback.
Second, as is the case in many states, Donald Trump has very scant operations in North Carolina, compared with Hillary Clinton’s sprawling operation. And Clinton has also been saturating the media market garnering support for her presidential bid, while Trump only began relatively modest advertising earlier this month.
Third, the demographics of North Carolina has significantly changed. While Trump may be popular with the rural areas, the urban ones are increasingly leaning blue. Additionally, North Carolina is one of the states in which Latinos are registering to vote in record numbers.
On Sunday, Donald Trump received the next major bad news for his chances in North Carolina. In an editorial, the right-leaning Winston-Salem Journal said “We’ve surprised even ourselves with this endorsement, our first for a Libertarian for president.” The influential paper endorsed Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson. While the paper did not endorse Hillary Clinton, the vast majority of votes that its endorsement obtains for Gary Johnson will be from Republicans and independents who were likely to vote for Trump.