Battleground states define presidential battle, not popular vote

President Trump and Joe Biden deliver their 2020 acceptance speeches. (Reuters)
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Updated 19 October 2020

Battleground states define presidential battle, not popular vote

  • With the strong push by Democrats to increase voter turnout, Biden could win 4 million more votes than Trump
  • Michigan and Ohio are up for grabs and are close – Biden is definitely closer to winning there than in other marginal states

CHICAGO: Everyone in the United States is touting the idea of voting by mail, but I just don’t have confidence in the US postal system.

The election system we use to count votes is already unreliable, and adding the postal service, which is even more unreliable, only raises more concerns.

I’m pretty sure we will be waiting for days and maybe even weeks to figure out who has won the Nov. 3 presidential election, Donald Trump or Joe Biden. And there are many other important races including for US Senate, Congress, and state legislative offices.

But the factors deciding who wins the presidential race may be restricted to only a few American states based on the results of the 2016 election that Trump won over Hillary Clinton. There are seven states were the percentage difference between Trump and Clinton in the 2016 election results were so close that they could easily switch.

Don’t listen to the American polling. The fact is US media polling tends to reflect the “popular vote” which is not how we elect a president.

Polling is great for many issues but not for the American presidential election.

Americans use the “Electoral College Delegate Voting” (ECDV) system, which protects the voice of all 50 American states and Washington DC to play a role in determining who will be president. ECDV gives smaller populated states like Iowa an equal standing with larger populated states like New York.

Hillary Clinton won almost 3 million more votes than Trump in 2016 giving her the “popular voter edge,” which clearly was reflected in the polling that misled many into believing she would win the election.

This year, with the strong push by Democrats to increase voter turnout, Biden could win 4 million more votes than Trump, which is also reflected in the current polling. But most of that 4 million voter edge will not directly affect the Electoral College Delegate voting system.

In states that are heavily Democratic such as New York, Illinois and California, I suspect the vote will increase sharply. But increasing the vote in Democratic dominated states won’t change the end result for Joe Biden. Regardless whether Biden wins Illinois by 55 percent, as Hillary did in 2016, or by 75 percent this November as some are projecting, it won’t change the number of Electoral College Delegate votes that Biden will receive from Illinois, which is only 20.

The public is better informed by understanding which states to follow on election night, and not by being lobbied by the biased American mainstream news media, which clearly supports Biden over Trump.

In the ECDV system, the winner needs at least 270 total votes from the 538 votes available in the 51 state and district jurisdictions (which includes 50 states and Washington D.C.).

Hillary Clinton won 20 states and Washington D.C., giving her only 232 delegate votes. She won most of those by strong margins, with the exception of New Hampshire, which was 46.8 percent to Trump’s 46.5 percent, and Minnesota, which was 46.4 percent to Trump’s 44.9 percent.

Trump won 30 states, giving him 306 ECDV. He won most of those states by significant margins with the exception of seven states which are the battleground states that you should monitor on election night and the week that follows.

Trump had 23 states that gave him very strong margins of victory in the south and the middle west. 

There are seven Trump states that are potential swing states. Here is how I break them down.

Four of the states are B-Battleground states and are tougher for Biden to win from Trump because of their voter histories and the spread between Trump and Clinton from 2016. But Biden can take them based on voter activism there and voting histories that have varied widely.

The four are: Ohio (51.3 percent Trump and 43.2 percent Clinton) with 18 ECDV; Iowa, (51.1 percent to 41.7 percent) with 6 ECDV; Wisconsin (47.2 percent to 46.5 percent) with 16 ECDV; and Michigan (47.3 to 47 percent) with 16 ECDV.

There are three states that are A-Battleground states that Trump can’t afford lose, again because of the history of those states and the narrow margins. They are Pennsylvania (48.2 percent to 47.5 percent) with 20 ECDV; Florida (48.6 percent to 47.4 percent) with 29 ECDV; and North Carolina (49.8 percent to 46.2 percent) with 15 ECDV.

If Trump loses any one of those A-Battleground states, it suggests that Biden will probably easily take 3 or all of the 4 B-Battleground states, giving Biden the election.

If Biden takes Ohio and Michigan and one other B-Battleground states, Trump can still win the A-Battleground states yet lose the election. Michigan and Ohio are up for grabs and are close, for sure, and Biden is definitely closer to winning there than in the other states.

Of course, this is just an election roadmap. Who reads maps these days anyway that have all been replaced by electronic navigation systems?

French youth of Arab origin mistrust secularism, national symbols, finds poll

Updated 49 min 51 sec ago

French youth of Arab origin mistrust secularism, national symbols, finds poll

  • Arab News en Francais/YouGov survey of French citizens of Arab origin found a wide generational gap in attitudes to secular values
  • Older respondents identified more closely with French national symbols, but tended to feel stigmatized for their faith

LONDON: Young people of Arab origin in France are less likely to hold secular values and are more distrustful of national symbols than their elders, an Arab News en Francais survey conducted in partnership with British polling agency YouGov has found.

Attitudes to secularism appear to differ substantially among those aged between 18 and 24, which constituted 15 percent of the 958 people surveyed, compared with other age groups.

More than half (54 percent) of all those polled said they believe religion plays a negative role in politics, while a smaller 46 percent of 18-24-year-olds said this was the case.

Likewise, on the subject of laws restricting the wearing of religious clothing, 38 percent of all respondents said they favor such rules, while 29 percent of 18-24-year-olds approve.

Asked whether they would be prepared to defend the French model of secularism in their country of origin, 65 percent of respondents said they would compared with just 56 percent of 18-24-year-olds.

Even among the 25-34 age group, adherence to the values of secularism is noticeably stronger than among the younger cohort, with 55 percent saying religion plays a negative role in politics.

The trend generally continues with age. Among those over 45, about 50 percent said they are in favor of laws limiting the wearing of religious symbols.

Observers have asked whether such negative perceptions of secularism among young French citizens of Arab origin can be equated with growing radicalism.

Some scholars of Islam have established a link between countries which have adopted a more “incisive” secularism and the number of citizens who traveled to Syria to join Daesh.

William McCants and Christopher Meserole of the Brookings Institution believe the political culture of France and Belgium, where religious symbols are restricted, combined with massive unemployment and urbanization, contributed to radicalization.


46% 18-24-year-olds say religion plays negative role in politics.

58% 18-24-year-olds would support home football side against France.

Other researchers say those who traveled to Syria came overwhelmingly from poor urban areas, where they faced discrimination in the job market, housing and police checks.

“Some young people feel they are viewed as sub-citizens, while media rhetoric gives credence to the idea that Muslims are ‘banding apart’,” said Elyamine Settoul, a lecturer at the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts in Paris.

“This otherness between ‘them’ and ‘us’ represents a breeding ground for radicalization. Radical groups will not only sell them full citizenship but also compensate for all their deficiencies, whether they are identity based, affective or narcissistic.”

It is perhaps surprising, then, that just 47 percent of the 18-24 cohort surveyed by Arab News en Francais and YouGov believe their religion is perceived negatively in France — significantly lower than the overall average of 59 percent among all age groups.

Few topics better reflect a community’s sense of national pride than an international football tournament. Dual identities often lead to the question: Should I support the national side from my place of origin or cheer for my adopted nation?

Once again, a generational split emerges. The survey found 58 percent of men aged 18-24 would support their country of origin against the French side compared with an average of 47 percent among all respondents.

If the French World Cup victory in 1998 is considered the peak of the country’s “black-blanc-beur” multiculturalism, then the 2001 friendly between France and Algeria must be considered its nadir, when Algerian fans invaded the pitch.

The Arab News en Francais/YouGov study found that support for the French national team tended to increase with age. About 58 percent of 35-44-year-olds and 50 percent of over-55s said they would support the French national side over their country of origin.

“Young people under 25 are still building their identity and tend to get closer to their country of origin at this age. They fully claim their belonging to the country of origin, but this remains like folklore, as they often do not know much about it,” Settoul said.

“Over time, the identity asserts itself: We integrate professionally, get married, buy property and no longer take the same positions.”