In August 2019, conservatives worried about the turning tide against Trump enough to worry about anti-Trump landslides as Trump’s Ukraine shakedown was still roiling. The next month brought the specter of impeachment.
Let me point out for the hundred-eleventieth time: anything can happen between now and November 2020. Polls aren’t worth much now. But they do remind us that Trump is extremely unpopular, and will have trouble getting re-elected even if the economy is in good shape next year. If it’s not, what, exactly, will he run on?
The second sign is not the creepy Trump tweets about his Press Secretary. The real second sign, or at least “sign 1.5” is that GOTV is what will always count in terms of 3 November. We still don’t know what Trump is running on.
Doing a GREAT job! https://t.co/OYRpiYiXpp
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 16, 2020
Aside from those diversions the reality is that there is demographic movement and that there will be political implications of counties carried by Trump in 2016 that are now moving toward higher rates of COVID-19.
Back in late April, Frey found that coronavirus was invading whiter, more Republican, small-metropolitan and outer-suburban areas. That upended our previous understanding of the disease as mostly confined to urban and blue-leaning areas.
Then, in early May, Frey found that coronavirus was spreading into more counties in the key battleground states. That suggested the politics of coronavirus was growing increasingly unpredictable.
Now Frey is back with still another tranche of data, and those two trends are coming together into one: Coronavirus is spreading into many Trump counties in the battleground states.
First, the bigger picture.
In the last three weeks, Frey finds, some 548 counties across the country carried by Trump have newly become what Frey calls “high-covid,” which means they have reported 100 or more cases per 100,000 residents. By contrast, only 102 counties carried by Hillary Clinton have become high-covid in that same period.
The totals as of now, Frey finds, are that, since he started tracking the data back in late March, 1,014 counties carried by Trump have entered the high-covid category. By contrast, a total of 350 Clinton counties have done so.
That seems more lopsided than it is, because Trump carried far more counties than Clinton did. (She ran up huge totals in much more populous counties.)
Now, the battleground states. I asked Frey to break down how the new high-covid counties carried by Trump are distributed in the states that will likely decide the presidential race.
Here’s what he found. In the last three weeks, of those 548 Trump counties that have newly entered the high-covid category, here’s how some are distributed in those key states:
- Florida: 15 new Trump counties
- Michigan: 17 new Trump counties
- Pennsylvania: 11 new Trump counties
- Wisconsin: 8 new Trump counties
- North Carolina: 26 new Trump counties
- Arizona: 3 new Trump counties
- Georgia: 40 new Trump counties
That’s a total of 80 Trump counties in battleground states, and 120 if you include Georgia (which will probably not be a battleground, but new polls show it surprisingly close).
This means coronavirus could still shift presidential politics in ways we didn’t expect.
Even as some “flattening’ is occurring, the deaths continue.