Unless something drastic happens between now and election day, Donald Trump’s electoral hopes will continue to be extinguished by his terrible personality. Trump may claim the election is rigged, but the reality is that the election is democratic and that Americans democratically do not want Trump anywhere near the White House.
Electorally, the map is continuing to bleed darker shades of blue, and FiveThirtyEight calculates that Trump is currently losing every swing states plus Arizona. But there is one more state quickly turning against Trump: Utah.
McMullin has a home-state advantage in Utah and shares the state’s Mormon faith, while Trump has had trouble convincing the state of his religiosity. Utah very well may continue trending toward a McMullin victory.
Earlier this week FiveThirtyEight published a somewhat fanciful scenario in which McMullin could win Utah, and then the presidency if Clinton and Trump each fail to obtain at least 270 electoral votes. In such a scenario, ultimately, the House of Representatives would decide the election, and there may be various rationales for a deadlocked House to agree on McMullin.
It’s an exercise in imagination, though, because Hillary Clinton is currently dominating the electoral vote. The Democratic Party has maintained an effective firewall of swing states throughout this election and both Obama elections, and Republicans are barely competitive—especially with the added insult of a Utah defection.
If Trump wins Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Iowa and Nevada (Pennsylvania and Virginia are decidedly out of Trump’s reach while Clinton is ahead by 7 points and 8 points, respectively) he only gets to 265 electoral votes. Trump might peel off one of Maine’s independent electoral votes, but that takes him only to 266.
Trump would still need one more state—his best bets are Colorado or New Hampshire (both highly unlikely, though)—but if Trump loses Utah to McMullin he needs to win both states to surpass 270.
There’s also the possibility that McMullin could win enough of the Utah vote to defeat Trump, but split the conservative vote enabling a Clinton victory, which would be a rather interesting #NeverTrump hail mary intercepted by Clinton.
Unfortunately for Trump, however, this scenario is deep in the weeds of imagination. As of right now, Trump isn’t likely to win even a single swing state, when he needs to win them all and pick off a couple reasonably secure Clinton states.
And Trump has only himself to blame. If he really wanted to win maybe he shouldn’t have ran the most openly racist and sociopathic campaign in modern American memory. He certainly hasn’t impressed Utah.
Photo courtesy of Bjørn Graabek.