Believe it or not, Trump could still win the election

The media has declared Joe Biden to be the winner of the election, but Donald Trump could still pull out a win. It’s a long shot, but it’s not impossible. Here’s what would have to happen in order for Trump to win the election.

Get The Full Series in PDF

Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues.

Q3 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

How Trump could win the election: Recounts could go in his favor

The biggest issue in this year's election was a surge in mail-in ballots. It's widely believed that most people who mailed in their ballot voted for Biden. Some estimate that over two-thirds of mail-in ballots were for Biden. Thus, any challenges over mail-in ballots could go heavily in Trump's favor.

Michael Mauboussin’s 10 Attributes of Great Investors [Pt.1]

michael mauboussin, Credit Suisse, valuation and portfolio positioning, capital markets theory, competitive strategy analysis, decision making, skill versus luck, value investing, Legg Mason, The Success Equation, Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition, analysts, behavioral finance, More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places, academics , valuewalkIn 2016, Michael J. Mauboussin completed his 30th year on Wall Street. The analyst, who was working at Credit Suisse at the time, decided to celebrate by reflecting on the ten attributes of great investors he had observed over the previous three decades. He published his ideas in a report in August 2016. I've summarised Read More


Any recounts that are done will take a closer look at all those mail-in ballots and could invalidate many of them. Any mailed-in ballots that are discarded will likely be subtracted from Biden's count. The Trump team is moving to ensure that he comes away with a win.

Problems in Michigan and Pennsylvania

For example, Rudy Giuliani told Fox News that 900,000 invalid ballots were cast in Pennsylvania. He said the Trump campaign is preparing to file lawsuits over the election results. Giuliani said Republican observers were kept away from viewing the mail-in ballots as they were being counted in Pennsylvania, although it is required by law that observers from both parties view the counting. He also said there is evidence of backdating of votes that came in late, and they've found that many dead people voted.

In Michigan, the Detroit Free Press is reporting that one county that has historically voted Republican was reported as being flipped to Biden this year. However, the county is back to being listed as won by Trump after what appears to be a combination of human error and a software glitch.

The Detroit Free Press is also reporting that the Michigan legislature subpoenaed state election officials after Republican lawmakers launched an investigation into the possibility of election irregularities in the state.

What would need to happen for Trump to win the election

If Trump ends up winning Pennsylvania and Michigan after the recounts, it would pave the way for him to win the election. News LocalAd outlined the process that would be necessary for Trump to win the election. If the president takes those two states, it would add 20 and 16 to the 214 electoral votes liberal news outlets record him as holding.

Trump will most likely take North Carolina, which would add another 15 votes to his electoral vote count, bringing his total to 265. Alaska is also expected to side with Trump, as it historically votes Republican. That adds another three votes to his total.

Arizona continues to count its ballots, and shows Biden's lead over Trump as shrinking from 30,000 on Friday to 18,500 on Saturday with about 100,000 votes left to count. After that initial count is done, Arizona will have to recount, and many of those mail-in ballots that went in Biden's favor could be thrown out. If Trump takes Arizona, that would be another 11 electoral votes, which would give him the win in the election.

Even if Trump doesn’t take all of those states, there are still controversies in other states. Georgia has 16 electoral votes, and Biden's lead was only 8,400 votes. That lead was also narrowing, and Trump could still win Georgia, either in the initial count or in the recount that is sure to ensue. In Wisconsin, Biden is listed as having won by 21,000 votes, but once again, a retally of the ballots after tossing out invalid mail-in votes could result in a win for Trump.

It's anyone's guess whether recounts in multiple states will pull out a win for Trump in the election, but investors should remember that it isn't impossible.