Despite the lawfare, or perhaps because of it, the Electoral College map is moving toward Trump

For the Democrats, less may have been more. 

Well aware that President Joe Biden’s disastrous policies have inflicted incalculable damage on the United States, that he is incapable of speaking without the aid of a teleprompter, and that his spavined physique screams weakness, party leaders made a calculated decision to use lawfare to defeat former President Donald Trump

They contorted the law to set a legal trap for Trump in the belief that if he is convicted of a crime, he will lose the election. He is facing 88 felony charges in two federal indictments as well as state indictments in New York and Georgia. But as the lack of substance and the legal flaws in these cases become more and more apparent to voters, they are being seen for what they are: a desperate attempt to destroy a political opponent by a party that has collectively lost all sense of decency. 

In short, their strategy appears to be backfiring — spectacularly. The Electoral College map tells the story. 

Although Trump leads Biden by a modest 1.1% in the RealClearPolitics average of head-to-head matchups and by 2.7% in five-way polls, he is ahead by an average of 3.6% in the seven battleground states. And his average lead extends beyond the margin of error in four of those states: in Arizona by plus 5.2%, Georgia by plus 4.2%, Nevada by plus 6.2%, and North Carolina by plus 5.4%. While Trump’s leads are less impressive in Michigan (plus 0.8%), Pennsylvania (2.0%), and Wisconsin (0.6%), he is nevertheless ahead, a position that eluded him throughout the 2016 and 2020 election cycles.

RealClearPolitics has assigned all “safe,” “likely” and “lean” Democratic states (and their electoral votes) to Biden, which leaves him with a total of 215 electoral votes, and the corresponding Republican states and electoral votes to Trump, bringing his total to 219. 

RealClearPolitics categorized the eight remaining states, which include the seven battlegrounds plus Minnesota (with 10 electoral votes), as well as Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District (with one electoral vote), as toss-ups. The other toss-up states where Trump leads with comfortable margins, Arizona (11 electoral votes), Georgia (16), Nevada (6), and North Carolina (16), brings Trump to 268, two votes shy of the 270 required to win the presidency. This means Trump needs to win just one of the remaining toss-ups to push him over the top: Michigan (15 electoral votes), Minnesota (10), Pennsylvania (19), or Wisconsin (10). 

Except for Minnesota, Trump narrowly won Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin by razor-thin margins in 2016 and lost by similarly slim margins in 2020. But there was never a time during either election cycle that Trump was ahead of either Hillary Clinton or Biden in polls of these states.

Six months before the 2020 election, for example, polls showed Biden up by 6 points in Michigan. Biden’s lead in the final RealClearPolitics polling average prior to the election was 4.2% and he won the state by 2.8%, 1.4% lower than expectations. In 2016, the final RealClearPolitics polling average showed Clinton ahead by 3.4%. Trump won by 0.3%, outperforming the polls by 3.7%.

In May 2020, Biden led Trump in Pennsylvania by an average of 5 points, and the final RealClearPolitics polling average before the election was 1.2%. Biden won the state by 1.2%, matching expectations. The final RealClearPolitics average in 2016 showed Clinton winning by 1.9%. Instead, Trump won by 0.7%, finishing 2.6% ahead of the polls.

In Wisconsin, Biden was ahead of Trump by 2.7% in May 2020. On the eve of the election, Biden was up by 6.7% and he won the state by a mere 0.7%. The final 2016 RealClearPolitics average showed Clinton up by 6.5%. Trump won the state by 0.7%. It’s worth noting that each of these races were decided by less than 23,000 votes. 

Except for Pennsylvania in 2020, where the actual result equaled the final RealClearPolitics average, Trump outperformed the polls in each of these contests, as Republicans often do.

And now the latest New York Times-Siena College poll has Trump decisively defeating Biden in five of six battleground states. Trump led by 12 points in Nevada, 10 points in Georgia, by 7 points each in Arizona and Michigan, and by 3 points in Pennsylvania. Biden was ahead by 2 points in Wisconsin. The poll also found that participants trusted Trump over Biden on the economy by a margin of 58% to 38%. 

You may recall the utter lack of enthusiasm that greeted Trump’s campaign launch in November 2022. His announcement came just one week after an election in which the much anticipated red wave had failed to materialize and Trump-endorsed candidates in key Senate and House races had underperformed.

In fact, throughout the first quarter of 2023, Trump’s lead over his nearest competitor in the Republican primary, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), ranged between 14 and 18 points. But as word of New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s April 4 indictment spread, Trump’s lead exploded to 30 points. And it climbed with each new indictment. 

The Democrats believed that Trump’s legal woes would stir up his base and hand him the GOP nomination but that a felony conviction would prevent his victory in the general election. 

Unfortunately for them, the daily images of a former and potential future U.S. president defending himself in a courtroom on bogus charges run contrary to many people’s sense of fairness. Indeed, Trump’s growing strength in the battleground states may be a sign that independent voters are starting to catch on.


Elizabeth Stauffer is a contributor to the Washington Examiner, Power Line, and AFNN, and she is a fellow at the Heritage Foundation Academy. She is a past contributor to RedState, Newsmax, the Western Journal, and Her articles have appeared on RealClearPolitics, MSN, the Federalist, and many other sites. Please follow Elizabeth on X or LinkedIn.

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