One of the interesting things about Donald Trump’s upset win in 2016 was that, in retrospect, all the signs were there: It was obvious in the immediate aftermath that key swing states in the Midwest were under-polled; it was obvious that polls were undercounting whites without college degrees; and it was obvious that Trump was closing in on Hillary Clinton at the end, especially in the key states of Michigan and Pennsylvania. Still, it was difficult  to put all that together into a coherent case for a Trump upset, especially since the arguments for Hillary Clinton winning were more prevalent and more straightforward. One thing that was not obvious was the magnitude of the looming split between the popular vote and electoral votes.

A similar situation exists today. It is much more straightforward to make the case for a Joe Biden win. He’s up seven percentage points in the RealClearPolitics Average of national polls, and leads in the key swing states. This lead has been durable and stable over the course of the race. The president has presided over an economic collapse and a pandemic that will have killed more than 200,000 Americans by the end of this month.

But what if Trump does pull out the win again? What will have happened? Or to put it differently, what’s the best case to be made now for how Trump is reelected? Setting aside the possibility for another substantial polling error in key swing states, which I discussed last week, the answer has three parts…..