Sometimes the conventional wisdom is right. Views on general electoral college strategy for the Democrats in 2020 may be one of those times, so I was not unhappy to be credited with said conventional wisdom in Ron Brownstein most recent CNN column.
"One year before Election Day, the general consensus among Democratic strategists is that the shortest and surest path to recapturing the White House is by flipping the Rust Belt states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, which Trump won by a combined 80,000 votes last time.
Ruy Teixeira, a longtime Democratic election analyst and co-author of a recent Center for American Progress study on the changing demography of the 2020 electorate, spoke for many when he recently told me that "it does seem like the right path" to stress those three states, while investing in Arizona as a backup if Democrats can't recapture Wisconsin...
Looking toward the general election, Arizona appears likely to become a top-tier Democratic target -- if only, as Teixeira puts it, as "insurance" against the risk that Wisconsin in particular proves too difficult to dislodge from Trump. And any Democrat is certain to seriously contest Florida, whose elections are routinely decided by achingly narrow margins, and possibly North Carolina (though likely to a lesser extent than previously, given Trump's strong showing there in 2016.)
But it's much less certain Democrats next year will seriously invest in the emerging opportunities in Georgia, much less Texas. Both still lean Republican, and Texas, in particular, would demand enormous resources....
Over time, Democratic priorities are likely to tilt more toward the Sun Belt. In an era when Trump has steered the Republican message and agenda so heavily toward the racial anxieties and cultural preferences of older blue-collar whites, Democrats will inexorably face a greater threat in states across the industrial Midwest with large numbers of those voters. That will increase the pressure on Democrats to generate gains in congressional and presidential elections in the rapidly growing, younger and more racially diverse states across the Sun Belt.
Teixeira expresses a widespread party consensus when he says Sun Belt states such as Arizona, Georgia and Texas "are going to be brutally fought over in the 2020s."
But in 2020, that future appears likely to remain sublimated to a Democratic strategy that still views the big Rust Belt prizes as the race's central battlefield. And unless something significantly changes before the party begins voting in February, the most diverse Democratic coalition ever will be marching onto that battlefield behind the banner of another white presidential nominee."
That would seem to be the situation today though of course one must always remain flexible. It's also important to be patient. The Sunbelt's place in Democratic electoral college strategy is likely to grow over time but not all states will arrive at once.