Sudden Death

After nearly two years of campaigning, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump make their last stand. Casey Kroll analyses both candidates’ chances in becoming the next leader of the free world.


America will soon have a new Commander in Chief, and the electoral map gives Clinton the best odds. (Photo: The Week)

America will soon have a new Commander in Chief, and the electoral map gives Clinton the best odds. (Photo: The Atlantic)

America is an exceptional nation, but this year, the country picked two odious candidates; a pair that made even Americans question the sanity of their fellow citizens. They started with 17 Republican candidates and three Democratic candidates, and after hundreds of millions of dollars spent – and malodorous rhetoric spewed – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off. Here are their odds.

Hillary Clinton has the advantage. As the Democratic contender, she automatically gains the edge on the electoral map but also receives another boon: her opponent is Donald Trump. With an extremely high unpopularity rating, Clinton has taken advantage of his gaffes, campaigning vigorously across the nation for a chance to become the first female president. Let’s take a look at the most important states and the different ways she can claim victory:

Hillary Clinton has the edge from the get-go, making victory an uphill battle for Donald Trump. (Photo: 270ToWin)

Hillary Clinton has the edge from the get-go, making victory an uphill battle for Donald Trump. (Photo: 270ToWin)

All of the grey states above illustrate a state that could vote for either Trump or Clinton; those in red and blue are safe states for the polarising candidates. Clinton starts with 249 Electoral College votes (EVs) – she only needs 21 more to win. The former First Lady and Secretary of State has a plethora of combinations to seal the deal: Wisconsin, where she is an average of five points above Trump, plus North Carolina, a state showing a tight race, puts her over the magic number of 270 needed to win; if Clinton wins Florida, she wins the election; or possibly a combination of states with a Democratic voting history: Colorado, Nevada, and New Hampshire combined put her only two EVs away from securing 270 – add any other state mentioned above and she wins. The only states she likely won’t win are Arizona, Ohio, and Georgia. But it doesn’t matter – she is so close to winning that those states don’t matter as much as for her as they do for her opponent.

This is assuming that Trump is able to defend the red states already given to him; let any of those solid Republican states slip between his grasp and he’ll hand the Oval Office to Clinton. All, however, is not lost for the Republican nominee. He still has a chance and it starts with one state in particular: Florida. Florida hosts 29 EVs, and is the biggest prize on the table. Trump must take Florida to even be competitive in the competition. From there he has to win the majority of the swing states still up for grab: Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, and Arizona especially. Add Nevada and Colorado to the list, and Trump fanatics will have a happy night. This is wishful thinking, though; both Nevada and Iowa have had a blue history and show Trump only slightly ahead. Clinton is making a grab for both Georgia and North Carolina as well. The key difference is Clinton may not need to fight too much to become the next Commander-in-Chief, but Trump will have to fight every step of the way – arguably a stunt he’s had to perform throughout his campaign. For Trump to win he needs to secure between eight and nine states.

There’s one factor that will decide the election (and all close elections in general): voter turnout. Polls and surveys may speculate but no one knows how many will send in their ballot or show up to the polling stations on 8 November. A deficient voter turnout for either candidate can mean the loss of one or two states – enough of a difference to hand the election to either candidate. Hillary Clinton has the most to lose if voters don’t turnout – she already is struggling to enthuse African-Americans and Democrats in particular have struggled in the past with low voter turnout. Trump will pray that Clinton’s unfavorability will make voters stay at home on election day, giving him the edge in battleground states.

While the race for the Presidency gives the Democrats an advantage, the race for the Senate is much closer. FiveThirtyEight, a political prediction website that accurately predicted the outcome of the past two elections, has the race at gridlock – fighting back and forth between 50 percent chance of obtaining control. Clinton’s email problems have haunted Democratic candidates and have allowed Republicans the chance to defend their seats, ensuring that no one will have the magic number of 60 to prevent filibusters. The Senate fight is too close to call, but the House is for the Republicans to keep.

In a year with the most unorthodox and depressing election in history, Clinton will reign supreme. Her “get out the vote” campaign and solid ground game will push her over 270. My prediction: Hillary Clinton will be the 45th President of the United States.

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Casey Kroll
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Casey Kroll

Political Correspondent (Republican) at Filibuster
Casey Kroll is a 17-year-old writer from San Diego, California. Casey is an avid studier of foreign policy. A Republican, Casey is a proud conservative and has a fondness for debating and discussing politics. His favorite political commentators include Ben Shapiro, Dennis Prager, and Charles Krauthammer. He enjoys engaging in robust debate with those who do not share his points of view, and attempts to win over those who disagree. Casey also plays the piano, performs magic, and writes short stories in his free time. He tweets at @casey3040.
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