This election is shaping up to be a face-off between Establishment globalism and populist nationalism, with little interest in stale, distracting culture war topics. That change has been clear to Trump fans for awhile, but I mean to the general public, the political apparatus, and the media.
With the way that our economy and government are going, and have been going for 30-40 years, Establishment globalism is going to go over like a lead balloon, especially once Trump and allies have been hammering these points for months and months.
Thus, the question is no longer which states can Trump win? -- but rather, in which states will Crooked Hillary be able to survive the brutal siege? His campaign doesn't fall into the standard Democrat traps of identity politics and the culture war, and will be attacking her "from the left" on the economy, government corruption, and foreign policy. The "it's my turn" candidate from that other latter-day dynasty didn't exactly weather Hurricane Trump for very long.
We've heard for awhile about "swing states" and "threading the needle" for a Republican to win the electoral college. But that landscape was under the old paradigm of liberals vs. conservatives. Now that it is rapidly shifting toward populism vs. elitism, and America first vs. globalism, the blue-red landscape will look different. Some will be heavily Trump, some heavily Hillary, and others will be close races -- swing states still, though not necessarily the same ones that were close races during the liberal vs. conservative era.
And given how much Trump has been emphasizing the theme of unity and getting along instead of polarization and demonization, you can bet that he will start to unveil several policies intended to include the populist / anti-globalist liberals. They're populist and anti-globalist, too, so who cares about liberal or conservative? (Trump keeps saying, "I'm a conservative, but who cares? We've got a country to straighten out, folks!")
He recently said he thinks he'll get a lot of the young people voting for Bernie (Trump does best among older voters, so this would make a nice complement). Therefore one of these positions will be some very big change to how student loan debt is handled. Why not cut to the chase and issue a one-time-only forgiveness of all student loan debt? With the understanding that the higher ed bubble will be popped and not allowed to re-inflate.
The higher ed bubble is mostly a scam, and Trump has said so several times on the trail -- that the students, who don't know any better, are being used as a conduit for federal loan dollars to get sucked into the coffers of the universities. They give the students nothing of value in return -- witness their pathetic incomes despite having a four-year degree.
To pay for the federal loans that will go bust, tell the universities who scammed the immature students to either pay it back, or we'll nationalize your assets and take the cash, sell off those fancy stadiums that they've been building with all that ill-gotten wealth, and whatever else the ruthless negotiator-in-chief can think up.
This would be a purely populist program, and not much to do with the theme of America first. But not everything is going to do with nationalism -- "I don't want people dying in the streets because they're too poor to afford health care".
Crooked Hillary is owned by Wall Street and would never dare try such a populist stunt. She would rather have these impressionable kids who were allowed to rack up tens of thousands in debt by age 20, continue to eke out a subsistence as indentured servants.
Armed with this secret weapon, the welfare-enhancing effects of sending the illegal immigrants back, along with declaring a truce on culture war matters, Trump can steal California and its 55 electoral votes right out from under the complacent and sclerotic Democrat Establishment.
If they thought the Trump army was going to stay away from so-called hostile territory, and only try to chip away at five swing states, they will be caught with their pants down. "How did you let those Trump supporters sway you Californians? Don't you know they're conservatives?!" "They didn't look like either liberal or conservative, so how should we have known? And anyway, who cares? They promised us one-time full debt relief on student loans!"
California, and many other states, are not going to be such hostile territory for the populist America first party.
The key in winning them over will be turning out the large pool of non-voters. That has been the secret of Trump's success so far, and it will continue into the general election phase as well. Things get more quantitative when we talk about boosting turnout, and how big this pool of untapped voters is in different states, so I'll save that for another post.