While voters now have their eyes set on the 2020 Presidential election, it appears that their hindsight is 20/20 as well.
A report from the Los Angeles Times has calculated the number of states who elected Republican governors and senators versus those that elected Democrats in the 2018 midterms (for those without a gubernatorial or senatorial election, it tallied the number of congressional votes).
Its conclusion? Had the midterms been a presidential election, Democrats would have gained 278 electoral college votes, surpassing the required 270 for a presidential candidate to gain victory.
The author of the report, David Lauder, explained his findings:
"I allocated the states in most cases by which party won the top statewide race or, if there wasn’t a race for Senate or governor, by which party got the largest number of votes for Congress."
He cautioned however:
"Obviously, this doesn’t mean Trump will definitely lose his reelection. The 2020 campaign won’t simply replicate 2018."
Nonetheless, the possibility has Democrats even more motivated.
It's important to note that former President Barack Obama still won reelection in 2012 after losing both the Senate and House of Representatives majorities in 2010, and the upcoming Presidential election would be a national choice between two candidates instead of numerous candidates across a number of states.
That said, the rates of voter turnout and enthusiasm for Democratic candidates in this year's midterms still paint a foreboding picture for Republicans' prospects in 2020.
This especially applies when considering the ways in which Donald Trump's rhetoric and antics changed the political landscape of what is acceptable and what's not.
The possibility of Democrats regaining the presidency in 2020 is further bolstered by observing the way states crucial to Donald Trump's 2016 win voted in midterms two years later.
While Trump won Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin by a small margin in 2016, all three states went blue for the 2018 midterms.
Furthermore, the President's incessant racist and violent rhetoric has played a key factor in his former voters getting off the Trump train. It's likely a tonal shift from the White House would convince moderate voters that the President may be...well, presidential.
Yet, even faced with this fact, Donald Trump himself has said it's unlikely he'll ever change his tone.
When Trump fanatic Cesar Sayoc sent multiple pipe bombs to notable Democrats, news organizations, and Trump critics, the president faced intense scrutiny, yet remained adamant. When asked if he'd finally tone down his rhetoric, the President responded:
“Well, I think I’ve been toned down, if you want to know the truth. I could really tone it up. Because, as you know, the media has been extremely unfair to me and to the Republican Party.”
Despite Trump's ego and Lauder's report, Democrats remain divided on their prospects for 2020, with some noting that the outcome is influenced by where Democrats focus their energy over the tenure of their new majority in the House of Representatives.
In a political climate plagued with uncertainty and dread, it's only natural that the prospect of both parties for a 2020 Presidential victory will be divided as well. But as Lauder's report indicates, Republicans may need to rethink their tactics if they do indeed want Trump to be a two term president.