Chris Cillizza, CNN’s editor-at-large who routinely trashes Trump, must have been hurting on Friday when he admitted that “the political freefall President Donald Trump has been in for months has not only ended, but that the Electoral College landscape may be starting to move back in his direction, ever so slightly.”
First, he cited the well-respected Cook Political Report, which noted on Thursday that both Florida and Nevada have trended in Trump’s direction, “moving Florida from Lean Democrat to Toss Up, and Nevada from Likely Democrat to Lean Democrat.”
In the Cook ratings, Biden’s Electoral College lead went from 308 to 187 earlier this summer to 279 to 187 now. In 2016, Cook predicted Hillary Clinton to win with at least 278 Electoral College votes.
The Economist also reported that President Trump “has clawed back a sizeable chunk of support” after losing a significant ground during the civil unrest of the summer.
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Cillizza doesn’t want to read too much into this, however. “Are we seeing the stirring of an actual Trump comeback?” he asks. “Or is the movement effectively a dead-cat bounce rather than a sign of an actual increased chance for Trump to beat former Vice President Joe Biden on November 3?”
That’s a question, however, he doesn’t quite want to answer. Ever the cheerleader for all things anti-Trump, Cillizza poses the theory that “these latest stirrings in the electoral map look like are a sort of return to normalcy in the electorate as opposed to any major movement in Trump’s favor.”
But Cillizza’s record of predicting the electorate is hardly one to brag about. In 2016, he predicted an easy victory for Hillary Clinton, even with three states marked toss-up.
Despite Cillizza’s attempts to keep the liberal readership of CNN sated with gobbledygook explaining how the poll shift in Trump’s favor isn’t as significant as it really is, he still can’t ignore the possibility that Trump might come out ahead like he did in 2016.
“That’s not to say that Trump can’t win. He absolutely can,” he concedes. “But it is to say that he, despite some recent movement in places like Florida and Nevada (and even Pennsylvania) in his favor, remains a clear underdog to beat Biden to 270 electoral votes. Still.”
Given Trump’s record of exceeding expectations and pundit predictions, I suspect Cillizza is more worried than he’s letting on.