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Last 10 Days – The Machine, Not Message, Matters Most

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Last 10 Days - The Machine, Not Message, Matters Most

With ten days left until Election Day 2016 it’s now the machine that matters more than the message. So exactly what is the machine?

There are ten campaigning days left until November 8, when the U.S. will select its next president and determine the majority in the Senate. It’s in these closing days where the campaign machine becomes more important than messaging. Ideologically many may find this fundamental tenet distasteful, but it is fact. The machine I speak of is comprised of two primary parts – manpower and money – and without both any campaign is at a serious disadvantage.

It’s no shock to any knowledgeable voter that the Electoral College map is ugly if you’re on “Team Trump” and the Senate map is no better for the GOP. The only difference is there is a greater chance, though still below 50%, the Republicans can hold the Senate. While Trump’s possibility of winning is virtually non-existent, and it actually gets worse in the last ten days.

Current Projected Electoral College Map

Electoral College Map 102816

For Donald Trump to win, he’ll have to sweep the six toss-ups, per my analysis, and flip one more state that’s already blue. That’s a tall order in a perfect world, but Trump is in a place far from perfect, and his deficit in the “machine world” is the likely death knell. Right now Clinton has a $99 million cash advantage and vastly more manpower in critical areas like internal polling, grassroots programs and volunteer coordination.

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These are the tools of a traditional campaign, and while it is true Trump’s campaign has been anything but traditional, these last ten days are all about the fundamentals. For Trump, no amount of messaging, no big rally crowds, and no hyperbole can replace the ability to execute the mechanics. For Clinton, even the news from the FBI today will likely be just a minor distraction. Her campaign has the internal staff to do highly focused polling in key counties, determine quickly where they need to put their resources, and the mixture of financial and human strength to protect their lead.

It’s these abilities that allow a campaign to reallocate monies to critical media markets quickly. It’s the machine that can mobilize volunteers in focused neighborhoods to maintain voter enthusiasm. It’s the fundamentals that matter most in the last ten days and Clinton’s advantage over Trump in these traditional areas make the outlook for The Donald even bleaker.

Current Projected Senate Map

Senate Map 102816

When viewing the machine in the six competitive senate races, the good news for the GOP is they have incumbents in four states and the other two are open seats. There is no significant money advantage for either side but incumbents tend to have better infrastructures in place, and as close as these races are, that may be the saving grace that keeps the GOP in the majority.

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All six races are currently polling inside the margin of error, in fact three are inside a single point, so it will be the details that determine the winners. In four of the six states polling clearly points to a willingness to split ballots on down-ticket races so the “Trump Effect” may not be the issue previously feared.

So setting that impact aside, in the senate races, as in the top race, the ones who have the machine in place to execute the fundamentals efficiently and effectively in the next ten days will be victorious. The challenge for the GOP is they need four of six candidates to all achieve virtual perfection, and that is why the odds of a Republican majority come 2017 are under 50%.


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Tom Dougherty
About Tom Dougherty 23 Articles
Political data expert who detests apathy and respects accountability. President & CEO of Practical Politicking. Headed back to sea soon aboard DANGER ZONE, my Melges 24 racing sailboat.

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