• 59°

Seven keys to winning the presidency

By Steve Vassallo

The media continues to overwhelm us with the latest national polling regarding potential November match-ups between Clinton or Sanders versus Trump, Cruz or Kasich. As interesting as these polls may be, the significance thereof is meaningless. Here’s why.

Seven states are in play this year that have repeatedly voted Democratic for the most part starting in 1988. These states represent 120 electoral votes, or 44.4 percent, of the needed 270 to be elected president. They are as follows: New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan and Virginia.

The November election will either be won or lost in these battlegrounds. The primary reason that the Republican nominee has a chance to carry one or more of these states this time is the erosion of incomes for middle-class families.

And in most all of these states there are key offices currently held by Republicans, including the governorships in New Jersey, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Then which candidates have the best chance to carry these states? On the Democratic side of the equation Hillary Clinton would seem to hold the advantage over Bernie Sanders in at least five of the seven.

Sanders’ vote appeal is still up in the air as to the General Election because of the intense scrutiny that will be certain to materialize on many of his socialistic ideas and approaches to solving national problems while reducing the $19 trillion debt.

On the Republican side, it’s a much more difficult question to answer; however, at first blush one would think Trump has a major advantage in these states. The native New Yorker is very popular in his own Empire State and has the backing of Gov. Christie in New Jersey setting this state up in play as well. Kasich carried his own state in the primary (Ohio) as Cruz won Wisconsin. Trump carried Michigan and Virginia and is being projected to have five of the seven states in his trophy case following the primary season.

In conclusion, at this time in April, it appears a Clinton versus Trump race would be the most competitive for their respective parties in these battlegrounds.

Should it come down to New York values and the capture of the state’s 29 electoral votes, the former New York U.S. senator versus Manhattan’s most famous businessman will be one of the more interesting elections in presidential history.

Steve Vassallo is a contributing columnist and Oxford resident. He can be reached at sovassallo@gmail.com.