Democrats debate the size of a Clinton victory

“Robby has got us all focused on 270,” Baker told them, according to people familiar with what was discussed. But, Baker added, they’re very close to thinking about a change.

Theory number one: Clinton can’t leave anything to chance, especially because it’s Trump who’d be the president if she flops, and there are no bonus points in the history books for having toyed around in Utah or even Arizona if he’s the one taking the Oath of Office on Jan. 20. Good as the last month of polls look for her, the fundamentals haven’t changed: The campaign has to pull off a win for the first major female nominee, who’d be the third term in a row for her party, in a weird and raucous political environment — and that candidate is a woman many voters hate.

Theory number two: The bigger Clinton’s win, the more of a mandate she’ll be able to claim and the easier it’ll be to shoot down the rigged election conspiracy theories that Trump’s already telegraphed he’ll deploy if he loses. More than any of that: She could help Democrats retake the Senate and shrink Republicans’ majority in the House, despite the flawed candidates they’ve got in a lot of prime pick-up races.

“I come from the school of keep your eye on the 270,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). “The conservative approach is the proper approach: Make sure you have enough to win the Electoral College; don’t take your eye off those states. If you’re so strong in one state, then move to another — that’s all fine. But I think you have to be very wary and very careful.”