Politico’s Shane Goldmacher and Annie Karni write that Hillary Clinton is targeting the swing state of Florida as a key part of her strategy to win a majority in the Electoral College.
Hillary Clinton’s super PAC has begun spending $145 million on ads in eight states through November — and there’s a realistic path for her to win the White House even if she carries only one of them.
It’s a sign of how strongly tilted the Electoral College map is in Clinton’s favor, as she begins a general election campaign building upon the demographic and geographic coalition that President Obama rode to two electoral landslides. Donald Trump, in contrast, must dramatically reimagine and redraw the political landscape to capture the presidency.
Rather than expand the 2012 map in any significant way, the Clinton campaign and its allies want to replicate it. They are obsessed with choking off Trump’s narrower path, hoping to strike a decisive victory in Florida — multiple Clinton officials declared there is nearly no path for Trump without it — while aggressively defending the Democratic-leaning states in the industrial Midwest that Trump has talked most about flipping — most importantly, Pennsylvania. Campaign officials say they think Clinton can turn out more female voters than Obama did. But they see one surrogate in particular as key to recreating the Obama coalition: President Barack Obama himself.
Clinton has a multitude of paths, as her allies and advisers see it. Trump has a single route: ginning up disaffected, non-college educated, working-class white voters — many whom may never have voted before — to sweep across the Rust Belt, in places like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio.
“I don’t think he has anything outside a Rust Belt theory,” said a Democratic strategist with close ties to the Clinton campaign. Clinton allies also note that Trump is an “organization-lite” candidate who is driven by message, but, they argue, that is a risky strategy for getting out people who typically don’t vote.
Clinton’s top campaign officials note there are 19 states that have voted Democratic in each of the last six presidential elections that account for a total of 242 electoral-college votes. Add in New Mexico, whose population is 40 percent Latino and which has gone Democratic in five of the past six contests, and that is 247 of the 270 votes needed to get to the White House.
“It’s a massive, massive electoral advantage,” said Mitch Stewart, who served as battleground-states director for Obama in 2012 and who estimated that Republicans begin 2016 with closer to 191 mostly safe electoral votes. “Even if you take out Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, it’s basically like a Florida headstart.”
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