Biden looks to flip Red States for path to defeat Trump

Former Vice President eyeing GOP-leaning states including Texas, Arizona, and Georgia to forge path to election win this November.

Tags: Joe Biden
David Rosenberg ,

Joe Biden
Joe Biden

Former Vice President and the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is looking to expand the number of swing states in play in this November’s election, targeting Republican-leaning states in his bid to unseat President Donald Trump.

Alongside traditional battleground states like Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and New Hampshire – the former three of which Trump won in 2016 – the Biden presidential campaign believes it can bring traditionally reliable GOP states into play, like Texas, Georgia, and Arizona, which hold a combined 65 electoral votes, or nearly a quarter of the 270 needed to win the election.

Jen O’Malley Dillon, a Biden campaign manager, told reporters Friday that the campaign would be focused both on winning back Democratic-leaning states which Trump flipped in 2016 – like Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania – as well as traditional battleground states like Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio.

But O’Malley Dillon added that the campaign is also eyeing Republican strongholds like Texas, Georgia, and Arizona to broaden the electoral map in play.

“There will be battleground states that have never been battleground states before,” O’Malley Dillon said, naming Texas, Georgia, and Arizona as examples.

Democrats have made inroads in all three states, both in local and national elections.

While Texas, Georgia, and Arizona have gone Republican in every presidential election over the past 20 years, the Republican margin of victory has shrunk – particularly in the 2016 election, when Trump was the standard-bearer of the GOP.

Trump won Texas by just nine-points in 2016, the narrowest margin of victory for a Republican in the Lone Star State since 1996. By comparison, in 2012, Mitt Romney carried the state with a 16-point margin, while John McCain carried Texas with a 12-point margin in 2008. George W. Bush won Texas with margins of 21 and 23 points in 2000 and 2004 respectively.

Arizona, which has gone Democrat in just one presidential election (1996) since 1952, went Republican in 2016 by a thin 3.6-point margin, compared to a nine-point margin in 2012, 8.5-point margin in 2008, and a 10.5-point margin in 2004.

And in Georgia, where George W. Bush won easily with double digit margins and Romney won by an eight-point margin, Trump won with a five-point margin – the narrowest for a Republican presidential nominee since 1996.

Recent state elections have also shown Democrats gaining ground.

In November 2018, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema flipped the US Senate seat which had been previously held by retiring Republican Senator Jeff Flake.

In Texas, Congressman Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke narrowly lost to incumbent Republican Ted Cruz, 48.33% to 50.89. Six years earlier, Cruz easily won the seat by a 16-point margin.

And in Georgia, the nearly eight-point margin Republicans won the 2014 gubernatorial election by was cut to a razor-thin 1.4-point margin in 2018, when Republican Brian Kemp narrowly edged out Democrat Stacey Adams.

Polls currently show Biden leading Trump in Arizona, trailing in Georgia, and competitive in Texas.

The latest poll in Arizona, conducted by Predictive Insights, which polled 600 likely voters, shows Biden leading Trump by nine points, 52 to 43, while the RealClearPolitics average of polls gives Biden a 4.4-point lead.

In Texas, Trump leads in the RCP average by a slim 2.5 points, with a Dallas Morning News showing a dead heat at 43% a pieces, and a second poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, giving Biden a one-point lead.