As voters prepare at last to choose their presidential nominees, Republicans face an uncomfortable question: can any GOP candidate conceivably win an Electoral College majority this November?
The answer is “yes,” but it will be an uphill struggle. Wall Street Journal analysis shows that genuine “swing states” have all but disappeared: 45 of the 50 states have voted for one party or the other at least four times during the last five elections. This pattern gives Democrats a big advantage: states worth 257 electoral votes have been reliably Democratic going back to 1996. The only swing states left are Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Nevada.
To win this year, a Republican needs at least four of these five; a Democrat could win with just one. There’s scant room for error in putting together a plausible victory map for the GOP.