April 26, 2024

The Magnificent Seven (States)

One of the great myths of American politics is that presidential elections are national elections. In fact, the race for the White House is really 50 state elections, cobbled together to form the Electoral College. If a candidate can garner 270 state electoral votes, he or she wins—regardless of who captures the national popular vote.

In 2024, the race will probably be defined by seven key states: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada

In his recent opinion essay in The New York Times, Democratic strategist Doug Sosnik lays out the historical record of these "magnificent seven": "Seven states with close results determined who won both the 2020 and the 2016 presidential elections, and those same seven states will most likely play the same battleground role this fall."

Recent polling shows that Donald Trump is leading Joe Biden is six of the seven—with Michigan leaning very slightly toward Biden. In fact, Michigan may be the key to it all. President Biden has lost ground among several key constituencies in the Great Lakes State—including Arab-American voters and white working-class voters. If Michigan goes "red" in November, Biden may need to capture both Arizona and Nevada to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold. Of course, a 'mix and match' of all seven states could deliver the presidency to either candidate. It will definitely be interesting.

So, on election night, 43 states and the District of Columbia will just be spectators—and the real story will be about the "Magnificent Seven".