You can usually tell the real state of the race on the day before the election by following the candidates as they leapfrog across the country. And the fact that Hillary Clinton surrogates and the candidate herself are barnstorming Michigan all day today says volumes about the race in a state she should have locked up weeks ago.
Hillary was in Allendale, MI, today along with Bill and Chelsea. President Obama spoke in Ann Arbor. The president will also be in New Hampshire today trying to keep that state blue.
Pennsylvania is getting the full treatment with Hillary scheduled to speak in Oakland, PA, while Bill, Chelsea, and President Obama hit Philadelphia. And if you had said six weeks ago that Pennsylvania would warrant all this Democratic Party firepower on the last day of the campaign, you would have been considered nuts.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has scheduled a rally in Grand Rapids, MI, at 11:00 PM on Monday night while also holding rallies in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. Trump is worried about North Carolina and has two rallies scheduled, and Florida is still a tossup as both campaigns will be there today as well.
It is significant that neither candidate has anything scheduled on Monday for the crucial state of Ohio.
Trump’s chances, then, appear to hinge on keeping North Carolina, stealing Michigan and New Hampshire, and wrapping it up by taking Florida and Ohio. A loss in any of those states and Trump will have to make up electoral votes somewhere else — not impossible but difficult.
Michigan, especially, would appear to be key. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is quoted as saying that if Trump can capture Michigan, “it’s all over.”
Despite no Republican presidential nominee winning Michigan since George H.W. Bush in 1988, polls, including those done for the Free Press, show Clinton with no more than a narrow edge in the state, as Trump — a businessman, casino developer and reality TV show star — has cut into an earlier lead by consolidating support among previously skeptical Republicans.
Trump is set to be in west Michigan again Monday night after holding a rally Sunday night in Sterling Heights, Mich. And Clinton, herself, was set to rally at Grand Valley State University in west Michigan Monday afternoon. If nothing else, the continued appearances of the nominees and their top surrogates — including the president — strongly suggest Trump could have a chance of winning Michigan, which, if he breaks through in other states, could be decisive.
It should be noted that because Clinton and her surrogates are busy shoring up the blue states Michigan and Pennsylvania, they are missing out on targets of opportunity for Democrats in Arizona, Georgia (where Trump holds a slim lead), and Ohio. A loss by Trump in Ohio would be the end of him, and losing both Georgia and Arizona would be almost as bad.
But campaigning in bright red states is a luxury Clinton can’t afford — not when she has to make a supreme effort just to keep her Midwest firewall intact.
I think Priebus is right. If Trump wins Michigan it likely means a big night for him. If the white working class goes to the polls in droves in a place like Michigan, it could be good news for Trump in Ohio, Iowa, and perhaps even Minnesota, where Trump campaigned on Sunday.
Clinton dashing around Pennsylvania and Michigan — states that never should have been competitive — less than 24 hours before the voting begins is a sign that if not outright panic, at least a healthy level of concern is dominating their thinking.