Why Trump could have an election night lead in blue states

It’s possible that Trump could even lead in New York State, his very blue former home state, on Election Night, especially given the state’s troubles in counting mail ballots after the June 23 primary.

As Rakich cautions, votes cast on Election Day are not the only votes reported on Election Night: There are in-person early votes, which may actually tilt Democratic, and then in some states mail ballots received well before Election Day may be counted pretty quickly. In addition, how the whole deal goes down may depend significantly on how media choose to report and explain it. The exit polls media outlets rely on to “call” elections will be affected by any partisan gap in when votes are cast, which means supplemental polling to assess early voting will become very important; the odds of exit-poll data being “off” may well be much higher than in past elections. And as Elaine Kamarck recently noted, the need for caution and patience in this particular election cuts against deeply instilled competitive instincts…

Some media outlets, of course, may have particular reasons to “rush to judgment,” particularly if “their” candidate is claiming victory on the basis of Election Day returns and suggesting that the mail ballots slowly being counted later are part of an effort to steal the presidency. But ultimately, we can talk about these scenarios endlessly (and we should until it really sinks in and even Fox News viewers understand that many millions of entirely legitimate votes are going to be counted and reported after Election Night) without being able to completely predict how the country will react if on the evening of November 3, Donald Trump has taken a big lead in Massachusetts. Heads still tender from November 2016 may explode. And in MAGA-land, a mighty roar of triumph may spill into the streets. Get your psychic Go Kit in order, progressives. On Election Night, it could get crazy dark before the dawn.