If early voting in key battleground states is any indication, the Republican nominee may be dead in the water before the polls open Tuesday morning. Strategists have been crowing for months about Donald Trump’s utter lack of in-state political organization and the power of the Clinton voter turnout machine.
That infrastructure—girded by door-to-door campaigning, automated text messages and volunteer phone banks—has already begun to pay off.
According to NBC News, the Clinton camp has reportedly made “45 million direct voter contacts since start of early voting and has nearly one million [volunteers] this weekend.”
In at least two states, North Carolina and Nevada, Clinton appears to have built a firewall. Few states, however, are as important to Trump as North Carolina.
“Already, about 2,585,000 people have voted in North Carolina, out of about 4,574,000 we think will eventually vote,” says Cohn. “Based on the voting history and demographic characteristics of those people, we think Hillary Clinton leads in North Carolina by about 6 percentage points. We think she has an even larger lead – 9 percentage points – among people who have already voted.”
With one day left in early voting, about 4.6 million voters have already turned out early in Tar Heel State-- up from 4.5 million at this point in 2012.
Out west in Nevada, “Republicans almost certainly lost Nevada on Friday” says political analyst Jon Ralston. The Silver State firewall—which now approaches a 73,000 ballot margin in favor of Clinton – is larger “than 2012 when Barack Obama won the state by nearly 7 points.”
“Trump is dead,” Ralston contends, and he’ll need “a Miracle in Vegas on Election Day,”
If those numbers hold up and are reflected down the ballot, Republicans will also lose retiring Senator Harry Reid’s seat, two House districts and the state legislature.
In both North Carolina, “less regular voters” -- those who probably did not pass the polling screen of “likely voters” and who are demonstrably more non-white-- are representing a larger share of voters.
States like Florida and Georgia are reporting similar surges. Predominantly black Fulton County, the largest in the Peach State, recorded a record early turnout. To the north in Gwinnett—once a suburban GOP stronghold—a markedly more diverse electorate lined up at early polling places to cast their ballots. Across the state, compared to 2012, Hispanic turnout is up 144 percent and the state has broken its 2008 early voting record.
Early voting in Florida is also at an all-time high. While Trump continues to be competitive in the swing state, tellingly, 28 percent of Republicans who voted early, cast their ballots for Clinton. Early turnout among African Americans in the Sunshine State has increased 74 percent over 2012 and Latinos, among whom Trump has exceedingly high negatives, showed up in unprecedented numbers. Puerto Ricans, already U.S. citizens and qualified to vote, are making a significance difference in central Florida and are expected to side with Democrats.
Taken together, changing demographic trends in Florida and Georgia, could remake the map not only in 2016—but in election cycles to come.
In Wisconsin, which also boasts record early voting, Clinton is reportedly leading 60-34 among early voters according to Public Policy Polling. Home to Governor Scott Walker and House Speaker Paul Ryan, Trump cancelled a planned rally that was set for Sunday. Ryan, who has shown lackluster support for the GOP nominee, and Trump were scheduled to make a joint appearance.
Does this mean the 2016 presidential election is over? No. It does, however, mean that the Trump campaign—which eschewed the importance of ground efforts during the GOP primary-- has its work cut out for them on Nov. 8.
Traditionally, Republicans have had a stronger showing among voters who wait for Election Day to cast their ballots. But, Clinton is running up what may be an insurmountable lead in states that Trump can ill-afford to lose.
If Clinton ultimately takes Nevada, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Wisconsin—not to mention Michigan and Pennsylvania, where she currently leads polling— the election will be a blowout of epic proportions.