Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse - The presidential race is underway

  Now that the national political party conventions are over and the nominees have been coronated, the battle royale for the White House is in full throttle. The nominees, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, will shatter the age barrier. Whoever is elected will be the oldest person ever elected president. If Donald Trump is reelected, he will be 75 when sworn in.  If Joe Biden wins, he will be close to 79.  When I was a young man, folks at that age were in the nursing home... if they were alive. By comparison, 60 years ago when John Kennedy was elected, he was 42.

  If, by chance, you are worried about them traversing all over the 50 states and keeling over in the process, calm your fears. Trump will campaign in only about 10-12 states, and Biden will campaign in probably only two. Why, you might ask?  There are only 10-12 states that matter in a presidential contest.

  Under our Electoral College system, the candidate that gets one more popular vote than the other gets all of that state’s electoral votes.

  The country is divided like never before in our history. You either live in a red Republican state like Alabama, or a blue Democratic state like California. You might say the hay is in the barn in all but about 10 battleground swing states. There are 40 states that it really does not matter who the Republican nominee is, that party’s candidate is going to win that state and get all of that state’s electoral votes.

  Our national politics has become so partisan and divided with such a vociferous divide that Joe Biden will carry California by a 60-40 margin, and Donald Trump will carry Alabama by a 60-40 margin. Unfortunately for Donald Trump, Alabama only has 9 electoral votes whereas California has 55.

  The election is won or lost in the swing states like Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. It is in these six states that all of the campaign money will be spent and where the two aged candidates might campaign. It will all boil down to certain zip codes in these six states. Current polling has Biden ahead of Trump in most of the battleground states. 

  Under the Electoral College system, President Trump has to carry most of the key battleground states in order to win. Current polling has Biden ahead of Trump in most, if not all, of the pivotal swing states.

  There is a cardinal rule in politics. All politics is local. Folks, Joe Biden was born and raised in Pennsylvania in the blue-collar city of Scranton to be exact. Even if Trump were to miraculously carry all five of the large, pivotal states, he will have a hard time carrying Pennsylvania.

  Another golden rule in politics, however, is that they only count the votes of the people who show up to vote. Older voters tend to be Republican, and older voters are the ones who show up to vote.

  We will see in six short weeks.

  About the author: Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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