Predictions about whether President Donald Trump or his challenger Joe Biden will win the election are heating up, but it’s the electoral college that will decide. Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 by about 3 million votes but won the electoral college, which is why it’s so important to keep an eye on the electors in this election.
How the electoral college impacts Trump / Biden predictions
The electoral college is made up of 538 members, and to win an election, Trump or Biden must have a majority of at least 270 votes. States have different numbers of electoral votes, depending on the size of their population and the number of congressional districts they have. Every state has the same number of electors as they have representatives in Congress, meaning both Senators and members of the House of Representatives.
California has the most electoral votes at 55, followed by Texas at 38, while several states have the smallest number of votes, which is three. In most states, the electoral college is a winner-takes-all system, which means that the candidate with the most votes in a state receives all the electoral votes for that state.
However, Nebraska and Maine allocate electoral votes according to congressional district, which means the candidate that wins those states might not receive all the electoral votes. Political parties choose their electors at the state level, and electors are usually legally bound to vote in line with the results of the popular vote in their state. However, there can be some differences, which is how it was possible for Trump to lose the popular vote but win the electoral college.
Watching the swing states
When it comes to making a prediction in the Trump / Biden election, experts always pay attention to the swing states, and there are a few reasons for this. For one thing, the swing states do not typically vote in one way or the other. Some states are very predictable in whether they will vote Democratic or Republican, but the swing states are not.
The swing states are also important because of the number of electoral votes they have. The fact that a large number of electoral votes is up for grabs is why these states are so important. It means that their electoral votes are not an automatic lock one way or the other.
Florida has the most electoral votes of all the major swing states at 29. Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania combine for a total of 46 electoral votes. One of the reasons Trump won the 2016 election was because he flipped all three states into the red, picking up a quick 46 electoral votes.
Making a Trump / Biden prediction with the electoral college
If Trump can take Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania again, he has a better chance of winning the 2020 election. However, there is no guarantee that he will. The polls in each state show that Biden is ahead, but not by much. It clearly is anyone's election.
Many have argued that the electoral college is no longer viable, especially since two of the last five elections were won without actually winning the popular vote. However, it would take an act of Congress to get rid of it.