Joe Biden will win on Election Day. The question is what will come next.

David Paul
5 min readJan 23, 2024

There is every reason to believe that Joe Biden will win enough votes in the Electoral College to win a second term. It may not even be close.

While the national media continues to be consumed by polls showing Joe Biden falling behind Donald Trump with key voter groups, those numbers are not as bad as the headlines would suggest. Yes, Trump has made substantial gains among young, Black and Hispanic voters. According to a recent New York Times/Siena poll, Biden’s support of Israel has cost him dearly with young voters, a group that Biden won 60% to 36% in 2020, as Trump now leads Biden among those voters 49% to 43%. Among Black voters, Joe Biden’s lead has slipped from his 87% to 12% advantage in 2020 to 75% to 17% lead in the Times/Siena poll today. And among Hispanic voters, Trump has leveled the playing field, whittling Biden’s lead down from 65% to 32% in 2020 to an effective dead heat today at 42% to 41%.

Lost in the media focus on Trump edging out Biden among young voters and voters of color was the decline in support for Trump among two of his strongest voter groups in 2016 and 2020: white and older voters. According to the same Times/Siena poll, Trump’s advantage over Biden among white voters has narrowed from 58% to 41% in 2020 to 53% to 40% today — a small, but significant number, considering that whites remain far and away the largest share of the electorate. Among voters over 65 years old, a group that Trump won by 52% to 45% in 2020, Biden now has the edge by 52% to 41%.

Of course, presidential elections are not about the national popular vote, but rather the results in the Electoral College. For years now, the number of states that matter on Election Day has narrowed, as most states have fallen into solid blue or red status. CNN political analyst Ronald Brownstein and others have argued for several years that in 2024, at most six states are likely to constitute true battleground states, including Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Wisconsin, and possibly Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The math is fairly simple. If Trump maintains his grip on the states that he won by six points or more last time around, and holds onto both North Carolina and Florida, which he won by narrower margins but are generally viewed to be strongly leaning Republican, he begins the race with 235 of the 270 electoral college votes he needs for victory. By the same measure, if Biden holds on to the states he won by six points or more, and holds onto Michigan and Pennsylvania, which are similarly viewed to be strongly trending Democratic, he begins the race with 259 of the 270 electoral college votes he needs for victory. Between them, the remaining four states — Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Wisconsin — total 43 electoral votes.

The argument that Biden has an advantage in the Electoral College, regardless of the national numbers, is straightforward. Pennsylvania and Michigan are states with strong Democratic governors, where Democrats have dominated in recent statewide races. For its part, Wisconsin has swung decisively Democratic in recent races — the last statewide race focused on abortion, and Democrats won by 200,000 votes, or 55% to 45%.

If Biden wins those three states he would win a 270 to 268 majority in the Electoral College — the narrowest possible majority, but a majority nonetheless — regardless of the results in Nevada, Georgia and Arizona. With North Carolina, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona realistically in play, Biden could win as many as 319 votes in the Electoral College.

I believe Joe Biden will win Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, regardless of whether he is facing Donald Trump alone in those states, or Trump, Robert Kennedy, Cornel West, and perhaps others. The economy in those states is as strong as it has been in decades; inflation is down; and, perhaps most important, the University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment has jumped 28% since November, indicating that the reality of the strong economy is starting to break through. But the single most important factor is that both Donald Trump and his MAGA supporters are more rabid this time around, and I believe Trump’s inability to allow the race to be about anything other than himself will ultimately alienate the independent and suburban women voters that he will need to win those states.

If 2020 taught us anything, however, it is that winning the votes on Election Day is just the beginning of what it will take for Joe Biden to be awarded the votes in the Electoral College by Congress on January 6, 2025, and ultimately be inaugurated two weeks later. Poll after poll suggest that roughly three-quarters of Republicans have fully bought into Donald Trump’s Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen, and there is little evidence that Trump’s supporters will be willing to quietly accept the results of the election should Joe Biden win an Electoral College majority in November. Indeed, Trump attack dog and running mate hopeful Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R–NY) said the quiet part out loud last week: Democrats have already begun efforts to steal the fall election, and Republicans have no intention of taking a loss at the voting booth lying down this time around.

And it may not require another sacking of the Capitol, or the long threatened civil war. Writing in the New York Times this week, constitutional scholars Lawrence Lessig and Matthew Seligman explain how simple it actually could be for a political party that controls state legislatures to steal the upcoming election, and get away with it. They emphasized that there are any number of ways in which the Constitutional democratic order could be subverted, before describing the one they believed would be the easiest to execute, and likely have ratified by the Supreme Court. Their description of the vulnerability of our democracy was a reminder of the essential truth that the founders of the country understood: that at the end of the day, the survival of the democracy they created depends as much on the civic virtue of our politicians and citizenry as it does on the system of laws upon which it is constructed.

I am very confident that Joe Biden will win a majority in the Electoral College on Election Day this coming November. But I am far less confident that one of the key underpinnings of our democracy — the notion that winners and losers alike accept the will of the voters on Election Day — will survive the Trump era. As much as Joe Biden and his advisors are focused on winning an Electoral College majority on Election Day, they better have a plan in place to combat the sweeping effort to steal that victory that is likely to commence the following day.

You can find all of David’s recent posts at, and his writing dating back to 2004 at

Artwork by Joe Dworetzky. Follow his cartooning on Instagram at @joefaces and his journalism at



David Paul

Financial advisor to city and state governments. Lifelong Red Sox fan (don't hold it against me).