Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will hold a rally in Virginia Beach, Virginia this afternoon, his second of three events on Saturday.
Trump will speak at Regent University beginning at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The event can be viewed in the embedded YouTube player via Right Side Broadcasting.
Prior to Trump’s Virginia Beach event, the Republican candidate will be speaking from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and later this evening, he heads from Virginia Beach to Cleveland, Ohio. The way the electoral map is set up, in order to win the White House, Trump needs to secure virtually every swing state including Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina. But even that isn’t enough; he also needs to pick off a state that’s currently in the Clinton column in order to take himself over 270 electoral votes.
Based on this rally schedule, it appears that Trump’s team thinks Pennsylvania and Virginia are two states that Trump could potentially flip from blue to red. In Virginia, where Trump heads this afternoon, Hillary Clinton holds a substantial lead. Real Clear Politics’ polling average shows that she is ahead of Trump by an average of 10 points, a gap that may very well be insurmountable. Her lead in the state has only widened since the presidential debates began in late September.
But Trump evidently is not giving up on the state. Last week, there were some reports that the campaign was withdrawing from Virginia, essentially conceding it to Hillary Clinton. But according to CNN, Trump was furious to hear about these rumors, making clear he still wanted to compete in the state. In fact, just this past week Trump purchased $2 million in television advertising to air in Virginia. Many in Trump’s party feel this is a waste of time, especially considering Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, is a former senator from Virginia.
If Trump is able to win Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Nevada, in addition to hanging on to states like Arizona and Georgia, this would put him at 265 electoral votes, just shy of victory. Stealing Virginia from Hillary Clinton, though, would put him at 278, and if that happens, Donald Trump becomes the next president of the United States. Pennsylvania is another option; if Clinton keeps Virginia but Trump steals Pennsylvania, he winds up with an even larger victory, beating Clinton 285 to 253.
However, what has become difficult for the Trump campaign is lagging poll numbers in all of the swing states he needs to win. Even if Trump can do the impossible and flip Virginia or Pennsylvania, if Clinton wins just one swing state that Trump needs – Florida, North Carolina, Ohio or Nevada – the rest of Trump’s efforts no longer matter, and Hillary Clinton is elected president.