Trump can’t take either state for granted, and Florida’s approval of a ballot initiative this month to restore voting rights to felons is expected to help Democrats in two years’ time. But Republican successes in Ohio and Florida this year, amid midterm conditions favoring the Democrats, give the president reason for confidence. These are states he can win again, and likely will.
If he does keep Ohio and Florida, Trump has three paths to re-election even without widening the battlefield — by putting Minnesota, for example, narrowly won by Clinton last time, into play. The remaining critical states would be Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona. Trump could win Pennsylvania plus any one of the other states. Or he could win Michigan along with any one of the others. He could even lose both Pennsylvania and Michigan, as long as he wins Arizona, Wisconsin, and the one electoral vote from Maine that he took in 2016. Trump’s re-election, like his initial victory over Hillary Clinton, hinges on the Rust Belt.
Republicans suffered a setback in Wisconsin this November, with Governor Scott Walker losing to Democratic challenger Tony Evers by less than a one and a half points. But again, this bad news amid the turnout conditions of a midterm election may in fact be good news for President Trump — with the wind at their backs, the Democrats only just managed to topple Walker. That suggests it’s still very much a winnable state for Republicans in a presidential year.