Sweet: Clinton campaign focusing on real magic number

SHARE Sweet: Clinton campaign focusing on real magic number
583824540_62734032.jpg

Delegates and attendees hold up signs during the evening session on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Follow @LynnSweet

PHILADELPHIA  — A few hours before President Barack Obama on Wednesday forcefully argued for Hillary Clinton to follow him in the White House in his Democratic National Convention speech, the Clinton campaign emphasized the only number that counts: 270.

It takes 270 electoral college votes to win the White House. Every other number – polls, fundraising, staff on the ground, Twitter followers or Facebook likes – for the Clinton campaign, as it was for Obama’s two campaigns, is merely information to be used to force an outcome – not predict it.

In 2016 – as in 2012 and 2008 and 2004 and 2000 – the presidential battle boils down to a handful of swing battleground states: Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Iowa, Colorado, Wisconsin and, of course, Florida.

“What I have not seen from Donald Trump yet in these states is a comprehensive ground game,” said Marlon Marshall, the Clinton campaign Director of State Campaigns and Political Engagement at a briefing.

Obama won all the key battleground  states in 2008 and 2012. He lost Indiana in 2012 after a 2008 victory, perhaps a contributing factor for Trump picking Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate.

OPINION

Follow @LynnSweet

In 2008, Obama became president with 365 electoral votes to Sen. John McCain’s 173. In 2012, Obama’s edge was reduced a bit; securing a second term with 332 electoral votes to 206 for Mitt Romney.

Marshall was also a top staffer in Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, a data driven operation devoted to the analytics that Trump has said is a waste of time. With a trim organization – and spending relatively little – Trump won the GOP nomination.

But the path to 270 is something else.

“The other candidate doesn’t believe in campaign or data organizing,” said David Plouffe, Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, who helped steer Obama’s 2012 re-election from a perch in the White House.

RELATED: Obama: Clinton a cool, capable confidante who ‘never, ever quits’ Clinton camp: Trump urging Russian ‘espionage’ in email flap Duckworth: Kirk running from record as Republican Brown: White House not only race on some Chicago delegates’ radar Conventional wisdom: What to watch for Thursday

Plouffe is skeptical that Trump can shrug off building a robust traditional campaign – one that he is very late in putting together. Marshall said that in the past days, Clinton installed her 50th state director, in Alaska.

“Some people believe we’re in a ‘black swan’ moment and none of that will matter, and they’ll win,” Plouffe said.

Plouffe, now a top advisor to Uber, painted a picture of a Clinton campaign as consumed with data as much as Obama’s – not a surprise since many of the staffers worked in both.

“Every decision the Clinton campaign makes is a super-sophisticated decision,” Plouffe said, whether “allocation of time, resources, where Barack Obama is going to go” or Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate.

The stunning and surprising Trump candidacy means more “volatility” that Obama had to deal with in gaming out McCain and Romney.

“Our ’08 race, you know, was a thing of beauty. 2012 was a much grittier deal,” Plouffe said.

Obama and George W. Bush secured two terms each because they attracted moderates.

“The person who wins the moderate vote wins the presidency,” said Plouffe.

Here’s Plouffe big prediction.

Trump wins if four stars align:

  • Historically bad Democratic turnout.
  • Historically good Republican turnout.
  • Trump overperforming Ronald Reagan in some rural areas
  • Clinton underperforming in suburban areas.

Said Plouffe, whose focus is only on 270, “I don’t see any of those things happening.”

A Twitter List by Suntimes

The Latest
Amid calls to fire Officer Enrique Delgado Fernandez and Sgt. Jerald Wallace in the wake of the video release, the Sun-Times has found they’ve faced dozens of investigations into their on-duty conduct.
Al menos tres autobuses llenos de migrantes recién llegados fueron dejados en una antigua escuela del lado sur que ha sido transformada en refugio. Dos manifestantes intentaron impedir que un autobús llegara a su destino.
Selvin Argueta y su hijo, que ahora tiene 21 años, dijeron que no quieren que ninguna otra familia pase por lo que ellos vivieron.
La Oficina de Protección Estudiantil y el Título IX está investigando el incidente, y el miembro del personal involucrado ha sido destituido durante la investigación.
They want to remember how he played, not how he treated his wives. It’s not a good look.