The decision will be made on Nov. 8, but one can already calculate the result. These factors determine why Hillary Clinton has the best chances for winning the presidency.
Hillary Clinton will win. If she prevails against her competitor Bernie Sanders in the internal party primaries, she will be the next U.S. president. Admittedly, the decision will be made on Nov. 8. But today already, many parameters and the political math speak in favor of a Clinton victory.
1. The Electoral College
Hillary Clinton already leads with 217 to 191 votes in the Electoral College; this is not official, but it is calculated with political reliability. The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors that come from the states, distributed proportionately. In 48 states, the winner-takes-all principle applies – whichever candidate receives the majority on Nov. 8 pools all the electors; in Nebraska and Maine, it is possible for electors to be split. “Blue” states like California (55 electors), New York (29) or Illinois (20) are considered certain Democratic terrain. “Red” states like Texas (38), Georgia (16) or Arizona (11) are Republican bastions, but according to a conservative estimate, they bring only 191 votes to the scales. The race will therefore be decided by the 130 electors from “swing states” like Florida (29), Pennsylvania (20) or Ohio (18).
Scenarios: If Donald Trump should become the candidate of the “Grand Old Party,” New York could break with its traditional party affiliation because of ties to its native son and (for the first time since 1984) vote Republican again. On the other hand, the important swing state of Florida would be hard to get and “sure Republican states” would waver. If the Republicans were to win Florida and Ohio with a candidate from Florida (Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush) and with Ohio’s Gov. Kasich as vice president, the Republicans would achieve 238 votes. Then 32 electors would still be needed.
In 1996, 80 percent of Americans eligible to vote were white. Latinos, African-Americans and Asians amounted to 20 percent. Over time, whites have come to make up 70 percent of the eligible vote and minorities 30 percent. With that, the most important target group of the Republicans has shrunk around 10 percentage points and that of the Democrats has grown by the same amount. Even if the Republicans compete in the general election with Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz, who are both Cuban-born, this will not change much, because although Latinos constitute the largest minority, they primarily live in the “certain” Democratic states (California, New York) or in the Republican states (New Mexico, Texas) and therefore will hardly change the overall result. Vital to a greater degree are African-Americans. In 2012, they represented 12.5 percent of eligible voters (compared to Latinos who represented 10.8 percent). Of these African-Americans, 66.2 percent went to the polls (compared to Latinos at 49.9 percent and whites at 64.1 percent). Of those African-Americans who voted, 93 percent voted for Obama. Even in the absence of an African-American candidate, African-American participation at the same rate as 2004 (60 percent) and African-American party preference goes back to the pre-Obama rate (88 percent); this speaks against the Republicans.
It remains to be seen whether former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was right in her famous assertion 10 years ago: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” In any case, the influence of women in the presidential election can hardly be overestimated. They represented the majority of voters with 53 percent in 2008 and 54 percent in 2012. Women tend to lean more strongly than men toward the Democrats. In 2008, 49 percent of men voted for Obama and 48 percent for Republican John McCain. With women, the ratio was 56 to 43 percent. If a woman should be on the ballot in November, this trend might more likely be increased.
Along with ethnicity and gender, there are countless mini-groups. There are “soccer moms” who are concerned with family, sports and, mostly, their jobs. There are “young vegan voters,” and entrepreneurially active “high school moguls.” There are bibliophiles, homosexuals, the obese, the tattooed, and middle-class second home buyers. And there are cross totals. The concept of inquiring about their sensitivities is an old one. Republican Karl Rove perfected it in 2004. The idea was that whoever adds a 1 percent minority to one’s clientele can win. Today, Mark Penn is the leading micro-targeting expert. He advised Hillary Clinton in 2008. She lost because Obama did not engage small groups, but instead was a macro trend. Such a candidate is not in sight this time. Penn, the guru of small things, is again advising Clinton.