With less than two months left before the presidential election, polls in the swing states are tightening, and the focus is sharpening. Remember, it's not the total popular vote that determines the outcome of the presidential election but the final tally from the Electoral College. It takes 270 Electoral College votes to win.
So, which states are in play? According to a Politico article published Tuesday titled "The battleground: These states will determine the 2020 election," 13 states could determine the outcome. Writers James Arkin, Scott Bland, Beatrice Jin, Andrew McGill, Steven Shepard and Allan James Vestal conclude that four of the states, with a combined total of 78 Electoral College votes, are likely to go to President Donald Trump (Texas, 38; Georgia, 16; Iowa, 6; and Ohio, 18). Four states with a total of 65 electoral votes are toss-ups (Florida, 29; North Carolina, 15; Arizona, 11; and Wisconsin, 10); and five states with a total of 56 Electoral College votes are likely to go to Biden (Nevada, 6; Minnesota, 10; New Hampshire, 4; Pennsylvania, 20; and Michigan, 16).
Let's take a deep dive into Florida. Not only is it a toss-up state but it has also played a determining role in presidential elections of the past. As it does in many states, the Democratic Party in Florida relies on the large cities and populous counties to vote overwhelmingly Democratic and offset the Republican voters in less populous areas.
But this strategy is fraying around the edges due to Republicans deciding not to concede votes in any part of the state. "We are focused on every part of this state, not ceding any place, and it would be politically foolish otherwise," Trump's Florida campaign leader, Susie Wiles, told Politico.
This week, an NBC News-Marist poll showed that Wiles' strategy is working. The poll showed likely Florida voters tied between Trump and Biden (766 likely voters, conducted Aug. 31-Sept. 6, +/- 4.5 points). What's driving this tight race are the inroads Trump is making among voters in Miami-Dade County. Cuban American Republicans are running in local races, and the celebrity YouTube sensation Alexander Otaola, who covers not only culture but also politics on his Spanish-language show, is coming out strong for Trump. Otaola was an Obama voter who has shifted to Trump and brought with him a number of very vocal Cuban Americans.
This is tighter polling among Miami-Dade voters than the Biden team would like. In 2016, Hillary Clinton carried Miami-Dade by 30 points. This week, Bendixen & Amandi International released a poll that reflected a 17-point Biden lead, with Trump carrying Cuban American voters by 38 points (68% to 30%) and losing among non-Cuban Hispanics by 26 points (32% to 58%). This is real great news for Trump and his supporters.
Otaola is one of the many Cuban American former Obama voters who plan on voting for Trump. Why? According to Politico, Otaola said it is because Trump is "synonymous with prosperity and success. We are tired of politicians who say the right thing and do the wrong thing. And we have changed to whoever speaks the wrong thing; but does the right thing."
If other Americans follow Otaola's logic, Trump will win in a landslide.
While many are following the never-ending politics of the campaigns, Trump is still delivering major policy results. For instance, in foreign affairs, the Trump administration recently announced the full normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates; the economic normalization between Kosovo and Serbia; the recognition of Israel by Kosovo; the movement of Serbia's embassy to Jerusalem. Though the press is glossing over these major accomplishments, it highlights what Cuban Americans know from experience: that political structure matters. As Otaola said this past spring, "we don't want communism or socialism in the United States." He, too, understands that actions speak louder than words.
For his leadership in foreign affairs, Trump has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a member of the Norwegian Parliament. "He has done more trying to create peace between nations than most other Peace Prize nominees," Tybring-Gjedde told Fox News. "Indeed, Trump has broken a 39-year-old streak of American Presidents either starting a war or bringing the United States into an international armed conflict," he said in his nomination letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
Many voters may very well decide this fall that, while they might not like all of Trump's words, they like his policies and are voting for policy first: action over talk.