|August & October|
With a little less than four weeks to go, his campaign has pulled the plug in one of the key swing states of 2016:
Donald Trump's campaign is "pulling out of Virginia," a move that stunned staff in the battleground state, three sources with knowledge of the decision told NBC News.Notice which states are missing from Trump's "four state strategy"? Colorado is gone. New Hampshire doesn't look close. Nevada is slipping away. Even Iowa is edging back to Clinton.
The decision came from Trump's headquarters in New York and was announced on a conference call late Wednesday that left some Republican Party operatives in the state blindsided. Two staffers directly involved in the GOP's efforts in Virginia confirmed the decision.
The move to pull out of Virginia shows Trump is "running essentially a four state campaign," with the focus now shifting to battlegrounds critical to his chances in November: Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio, a source with knowledge of the decision told NBC News.
But the bigger problem is that Trump is also noticeably behind in each of his four must-win states. To reiterate, Donald must win Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina and Ohio or he won't be president.
In other words, he won't be president...as the polls in Pennsylvania alone make clear. In fact, he's on track to lose all of them.
So what would the map look like if the election were held today? Here's my best (ever-so-slightly optimistic) guess:
Things could change before the final election day. For instance, I suppose it's possible Trump could somehow regain his footing in Arizona, Georgia and Utah. But there's an equal or better chance, considering the incredible headlines, that he could collapse even further as we approach "epic landslide" territory. If so, maybe the map will look more like this:
This map isn't a prediction. But in this bizarre and unprecedented year...nothing would surprise me.