In Historic Step, Obama To Visit Hiroshima Later This Month

President Obama will visit Hiroshima later this month, while he’s in Japan for the G-7 summit, the White House has confirmed.

The trip will mark the first visit by a U.S. president to the site since American forces dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

Today Hiroshima is the site of a park and museum dedicated to memorializing the victims of the attack and promoting peace and nuclear disarmament. The president’s visit will “highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,” the White House said in a statement.

As NPR’s Greg Myre noted last month, a presidential visit to Hiroshima “would likely be well-received in Japan, though his visit would almost certainly bring criticism from conservative quarters in the U.S.”

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama was criticized by Republican candidate Mitt Romney for going on an “apology tour,” traveling the world apologizing for American foreign policy. The claim was denounced as untrue by multiple fact-checkers, but the specter of that phrase may return during a presidential visit to the city destroyed by an American atom bomb.

Greg continues: “Some Japanese activists have demanded an American apology. In the U.S., the bombings have generally been seen as necessary to end the war, and saving U.S. lives that would have been lost in a land invasion of Japan.”

Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry became the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the city since the attacks.

His visit fueled speculation that the president would make the trip himself.

Kerry called the Peace Memorial Museum “a stunning display … a gut-wrenching display.”

The secretary of state did not apologize for the attack.

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Spoiler Alert: Curling Up And Telling All

David Prowse as Darth Vader in Star Wars. As you probably know, but many five-year-olds don't.

David Prowse as Darth Vader in Star Wars. As you probably know, but many five-year-olds don’t. Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Getty Images

[A note: In addition to talking about surprises in the Star Wars original trilogy, this piece also talks about some things that happen in the Harry Potter books, the Little House books, Jane Eyre, Bridge To Terabithia, and Great Expectations. It contains multitudes.]

I read to my kids for all sorts of reasons, but to be very honest with you, it’s less about the benefits preached in various judgy mom blogs, and more because it’s an activity I can do with them while horizontal under blankets.

And I like the sound of my own voice. Hey, I work in radio. Sometimes I do a version of snob narration, a vaguely Connecticut clinch meets Downton inflection, like I Am Bear is a merely an efficient version of David Copperfield. Sometimes I read like a crazed kindergarten teacher, drawing out the syllables of longer words, and riding a sing-song rhythm that speeds up toward the end, in order, of course, to get to the pleasure of my own adult reading. (Or an episode of The Americans.) And: I’m not proud of it, but there are nights when I find myself reading in an automatic monotone as my mind strays to whether or not I’ve left my phone in the baby’s room, or what on earth is causing the chemical smell in the kitchen. But there’s still a kind of comfort in the vibration of your voice as an accompaniment to domestic anxiety.

Not long ago, I got into position, curled against the pillows with my oldest son, a Star Wars obsessive. He’s five. We’re reading the novelized version of the early movies — movies he’s never seen. He’s still recovering from Finding Nemo, and I don’t want to pollute his young mind with the image of the charred corpses of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. (I’m already on the fence about the book’s illustration of Leia in the gold two-piece.)

The books are an overwrought scaffolding — they read like a movie treatment. Battle scenes are confusing and badly blocked. There are flashes of personality. Darth Vader “rasps.” Leia “snaps.” They cover major plot points, and there’s a sense of Han Solo’s dashing charm, Luke’s naivete, and Chewie’s bravery. It’s not Tolstoy. But it’s not Goodnight, Moon either.

And there we were, at the denouement of The Empire Strikes Back. Vader and Luke, locked in a lightsaber battle on the catwalk in Cloud City. Suddenly, the red lightsaber clean chops off Luke’s hand. Hank and I both gasped. Hank’s fingers rested lightly on my arm. His mouth breathing got louder (it’s allergy season). I mentally calculated whether or not to backtrack and say “Oh, I meant standoff, not hand off. Time for bed!” It was too late. I kept reading.

“Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father…” “He told me you killed him,” Luke snapped at his sworn enemy. “No,” Darth Vader said. “I am your father.”

“I, am your father!” I stopped, and drew my breath, elated. I had said the words. I was overcome, like the Sith Lord, by what I could do. I, his mother, was the first one to expose what may be the greatest plot twist since Mr. Rochester’s wife turned up screaming in the attic. I was drunk with power, and my entire history as a sentient consumer of story flew through my head. It felt so good, I contemplated spoiling every other thing I knew. Professor Snape is a good guy! Mary’s going to go blind! The bridge to Terabithia isn’t well constructed! Magwitch is the mysterious benefactor! READER, I @#$%^&%$#%ING MARRIED HIM!!

I looked at Hank. His face was slack, his cheeks quivering. He looked like a baby again. It was the very definition of shock. He looked at me in bafflement. “I have to tell Daddy,” he said. “Do you think he knows?”

It was a crucial moment, and I almost failed the test, because I wanted to continue to be the main character in our story. I didn’t want him to be distracted. I wanted to let him know that Luke will never be driven to the dark side. I wanted to keep spoiling the story, to tell him that there would be a rapprochement, that Luke would, eventually, hold his father in his arms as he became Anakin again. But Hank’s eyes were glossy. He needed to see his own father, to reassure himself that of all the astonishments he would encounter, the one he would never, ever see — was his father, masked and evil.

Hank scrambled out of bed. “Daddy!” He screamed over the bannister. “Dark Vader is Luke Skylockers father!” Hank’s dad came up the stairs and I saw him struggle — should he feign ignorance? “Can you believe it?” There was a pause. My husband’s eyebrows shot skyward. “No way!” He yelled. Pleasure overtook Hank’s face, as he, too, wielded the power of the plot twist. He whirled around and stomped back to the bed. “Yeah,” he said, before he tossed out, “Also, Obi-wan’s dead if you didn’t know.”

Hank climbed back into bed. We finished the chapter. There was some light discussion about where Luke’s hand went, and whether he’d get it back. A little back and forth on the power of the dark side, and whether it was something that a preschooler should be aware of (answer: you have to keep your brother’s body safe, even if he pees on your Legos). And we had a brutal negotiation about how many of his animals needed to say goodnight to me before I sent his dad into the room for a formal goodnight (six, including the one he’d been chewing on during the story — reader, it was wet).

I shut the door, and put the book away. I looked at the bookshelf. I felt a slight emptiness.

“Hank, I am your father!” came booming from his room, accompanied by uncontrolled giggling. I picked up Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and curled up, to look ahead.

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Science, Fiction And Philosophy Collide In Astonishing 'Lightning'

Too Like the Lightning

“I am grateful, so grateful, tolerant reader, that you read on,” says Mycroft Canner halfway through Too Like the Lightning, Ada Palmer’s awe-inspiring debut novel. Yes, Canner addresses the reader throughout the book; as the main character and narrator, he breaks the fourth wall so pervasively that he feels compelled to explain himself. At length. This jarring form of narrative is just one of the many challenging things about Lightning. Dense and complex, the book is a beast. It imagines Earth in the year 2424 as a radically different place, with every facet of society reordered from top to bottom. Ostensibly a utopia, this new world order isn’t entirely new; its blueprint is drawn from the philosophies of Enlightenment thinkers such as Diderot and Voltaire, in the same way Canner’s narrative frames the tale as if he were Dr. Ralph in Candide.

That said, Palmer’s utopian vision of Earth isn’t exactly the best of all possible worlds. Rather than nations as we know them, humanity has divided itself into Hives: Masons, Cousins, Humanists, and the list goes on. (Don’t worry, there’s a handy chart, including a detailed statistical analysis, provided within the story itself.) Advanced transportation allows people to cross the Atlantic in an hour; that system helps facilitate a largely conflict-free arrangement between Hives.

It’s an uneasy peace, and a recently stolen document of mysterious importance doesn’t help matters any. Nor does Canner, a criminal sentenced to be a Servicer — a person whose punishment requires devoting themselves to helping others — or Carlyle Foster, a holy man in a world where religion must be practiced privately. Making things even more volatile is a boy named Bridger, who has the ability to bring inanimate objects to life — with one of his toys seeming to have an intriguing, cosmically horrifying potential.

The plot is knotty, but it’s nothing compared to the tangle of ideas at play. Palmer, a professor at the University of Chicago with a doctorate from Harvard, packs a textbook’s worth of learning into Lightning. Historical references abound, as do bits of economics, genetics, and sociology. Politics, though, lies at the heart of the book. The world Palmer creates is extraordinarily intricate, with forces and organizations forming a delicate web of tenuous coexistence.

It’s a thrilling feat of speculative worldbuilding, on par with those of masters like Gene Wolfe and Neal Stephenson. Her eye for political dynamics goes all the way down to the personal: Gender-specific pronouns are considered obscene and have become taboo. Yet as Mycroft tells the story, he consistently uses gendered pronouns — unreliably, it turns out — and what seems at first to be a minor detail winds up having more profound consequences. Not to mention plenty important to say about our current debate on the issue.

Lightning is dizzying, and not always in a good way. Despite its frenetic intelligence, the first half of the book is bogged down by too much, too fast. It takes some work to get used to, but it’s worth it. As Mycroft warns the reader at the start of the book, his narrative is written “in the language of the Enlightenment, rich in opinion and sentiment” — but all those philosophical musings and discursive asides serve a subtle purpose, especially when Palmer starts dropping bombshells about the characters. The pace picks up considerably by book’s end, and it becomes clear how much fun Palmer is having with her orchestrated onslaught of concepts, characters, language, and plot. It’s a genius kind of energy, and it’s infectious.

The biggest drawback is the ending: Lightning is the first in a series, and it ends abruptly. The next book, Seven Surrenders, is due in December. That may be just enough to fully savor and digest this first installment, a novel that’s one of the most maddening, majestic, ambitious novels — in any genre — in recent years. Like the Enlightenment from which it draws inspiration, Lightning is in awe of the fundamental questions of human civilization, chief among them: Can society be engineered? And if it can, should it? Palmer doesn’t answer those questions, but she frames, ponders, and dramatizes them as only the greatest science fiction writers can.

Jason Heller is a senior writer at The A.V. Club, a Hugo Award-winning editor and author of the novel Taft 2012.

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Through The Looking Glass: How Children's Books Have Grown Up

Kindergarten students read before class starts at Walker-Jones Education Campus in Washington, D.C.

Kindergarten students read before class starts at Walker-Jones Education Campus in Washington, D.C. Elissa Nadworny/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Elissa Nadworny/NPR

In Sarah Parrish’s second-grade classroom, the colors are loud, but the kids are quiet.

It’s Thursday morning. Her students sit at their desks, reading to themselves. Books about Ramona and Junie B. Jones. Mystery books, fantasy books …

Marisa Sotelino has just finished Horse Diaries #3: Koda. She grins when asked about it, showing a mouthful of light green braces.

“It’s interesting to see other people, or animals’ point of view,” she explains, “because, well, you can’t be a different person.”

Nearby, a boy named Alec Mahini talks about his love for fantasy books: “It makes me feel that I’m in the adventure kind of, like the narrator.”

Their teacher thinks all these genres — fantasy, mystery, biography — are worth reading. “Any book that can hook their interest is wonderful,” Parrish explains. “Because we want to encourage that reading. The fun and excitement of it — that kind of spark is really important.”

It might seem totally obvious: Children should read fun, fantastical books in the classroom and outside of it, so they can learn to love to read. But it turns out that this particular view of children’s books is relatively new.

American classrooms have had some form of children’s books since the 17th century, but the books teachers have used, and the way they use them, have changed dramatically. For our Tools of the Trade series, we decided to go back to the beginning.

Chapter 1: Once upon a time (in the late 1600s), in a land far, far away (England), there lived a British philosopher named John Locke.

He’s mostly remembered for his works of political theory. But for our purposes, let’s focus on a short book he wrote in 1693, called Some Thoughts Concerning Education.

Locke wanted to change education — and one of his big ideas was to make reading fun. The alphabet, he wrote, should be taught with dice games, and readers should start with “easy, pleasant” books, even books with pictures.

These are not unusual ideas today, but they were relatively new in their time. The first widely-printed picture book for kids — the Orbis Pictus had been published only a few decades before, in 1658.

As Locke put it, ” … ’tis usually long before Learners find any Use or Pleasure in reading which may tempt them to it.”

The popular school books in Locke’s time, like the American New England Primer, were not about storytelling. The Primer did have some pictures, but it was mostly tables of letters and syllables, used to help people learn to read the Bible.

As Locke’s theories took hold, both in England and in the United States, they shaped many of the children’s books that were published in the 1700s.

Take The History of Little Goody Two Shoes, from 1765. It sticks closely to Locke’s educational model of making learning a game. Little Margery Meanwell, also known as Goody Two Shoes, grows up poor, but betters herself through charity and education. For most of the book, she goes around teaching spelling through games, as she does in this passage:

An edition of the The New England Primer, from 1803.

An edition of the The New England Primer, from 1803. Rare Book and Special Collections Division/Library Of Congress hide caption

toggle caption Rare Book and Special Collections Division/Library Of Congress

“The usual manner of spelling, or carrying on the game, as they called it, was this; supposed the word to be spelt was plumb pudding (and who can suppose better) the children were placed in a circle, and the first brought the letter p, the next l, the next u, the next m, the next b, and so on, until the whole was spelt; and if any one brought a wrong letter, he was to pay a fine, or play no more.”

But even though Goody Two Shoes had a plot, it was not the kind of fantastical adventure we’re familiar with today.

“Locke was very suspicious of anything that might be thought to escape the real,” explains William Gleason, a professor of English at Princeton University who researches children’s literature.

“It doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any fantasy,” Gleason adds, “but the dominant strain — and particularly the strain that was educationally approved — was highly rationalized.”

Chapter 2: Then, we fell down the rabbit hole.

Lewis Carroll published Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865.

“It offers such an amazing imagined world of curiosity that it really kind of changes the game,” says Gleason. Alice kicked off a whole series of books that focused on imagination — Peter Pan, Tom Sawyer, The Little Princess, The Secret Garden — books now considered staples of the “Golden Age” of children’s literature.

Gleason says these books were part of a shifting sense of what childhood really meant. In the late 1800s, a child, or, at least, a middle-class Anglo-American child, was becoming less of an economic unit and more of an emotional one. Childhood was seen as a space of protected innocence.

So Alice embraced childhood curiosity and wonder, reinventing children’s books. She did not, however, reinvent the American classroom.

Alice attempting to play croquet using a flamingo in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Alice attempting to play croquet using a flamingo in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. John Tenniel – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Wikipedia Commons hide caption

toggle caption John Tenniel – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Wikipedia Commons

Books like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn sold well, but they weren’t really taught in schools.

That’s partly because they took an almost anti-educational stance. Huck, for the most part, doesn’t go to school and Alice’s book-smarts don’t get her very far in Wonderland.

There may be another reason, though, that authors like Twain and Carroll didn’t make it into classrooms. Seth Lerer argues that those books didn’t align with a major purpose of U.S. education in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: the assimilation of immigrants.

Lerer studies children’s literature at the University of California, San Diego. He points out a widely popular children’s book from that time that did make it into schools: Hendrik van Loon’s The Story of Mankind, an illustrated walk through the history of Western civilization. Its central themes are individualism and democratic participation — ideals that schools at that time were seeking to instill.

“The classroom,” Lerer says, “is the educational Ellis Island for early 20th century America.”

Chapter 3: The Russians are coming.

In the mid-20th century, the U.S. competition with the Soviet Union drove a re-evaluation of children’s books in the classroom, according to Philip Nel, who studies children’s literature at Kansas State University. Suddenly, the whole country was afraid that the U.S. was falling behind, and that education was to blame.

Irving Flesch’s best-seller, Why Johnny Can’t Read, And What You Can Do About It and a piece in Life magazine titled, Why Do Students Bog Down On First R? led the charge.

The Life article, by the journalist and author John Hersey, suggested that boring Dick and Jane readers were to blame for Americans’ sub-par literacy.

“Many children understandably prefer lurid comic books and television shows to insipid, goody-goody school readers,” he wrote. “In bookstores, anyone can buy brighter, livelier books featuring strange and wonderful animals and children who behave naturally, i.e. sometimes misbehave.”

So began the effort to make early readers that children might actually enjoy.

An illustration of the shift from manpower to machine power in The Story of Mankind.

An illustration of the shift from manpower to machine power in The Story of Mankind. Hendrik Willem van Loon /Ohio State University Library hide caption

toggle caption Hendrik Willem van Loon /Ohio State University Library

The result?

The Cat in the Hat. Green Eggs And Ham. Are You My Mother? The Berenstain Bears. Go, Dog. Go!

Seuss and Sendak were unleashed in schools, and the shift away from morally improving, no-frills lessons that began with Alice a century earlier was complete.

Chapter 4: To The Hunger Games and beyond.

William Gleason, the Princeton professor, sees another shift taking place, slowly. A shift toward books that confront the complexity — and deep emotional challenges — that children and adolescents face. There’s also been a growing move toward books that reflect the diversity of the current student population.

Books like Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, which deals very frankly with puberty, are a part of this shift. And young-adult dystopian books like the Hunger Games series, with its dark themes of violence and frustration, continue it.

“We’re taking childhood anger and fear and anxiety seriously and turning it into powerful representation,” Gleason says, “That is something different.”

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Demographics And History Tilt The Map In Clinton's Favor Over Trump

Hillary Clinton would have a significant electoral advantage over Donald Trump in the general election, based on an NPR analysis.

The Democratic former secretary of state would start out with already exactly enough electoral votes to win the presidency, 270-191, based on states considered safe, likely and lean toward either candidate. The ratings, which will be updated at least monthly until Election Day, are based on fundamentals — historical trends and demographics, plus reporting and polling (both public and private).

But there is also the potential that this fall’s presidential battlegrounds could be re-sorted — pitting white, working-class voters, who Trump is appealing to, against Latino voters, who appear to be in Clinton’s corner. Traditional ways of thinking about the map should and will be challenged. So in addition to our current ratings, we also explore several possibilities and scenarios, including Trump’s potential path and even two potential ties, based on Trump doing well in the Upper Midwest and Clinton racking up wins in competitive states where the Latino vote is important.

First, the May NPR General Election ratings:

Clinton 270-191

Safe D (164): California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine* (3 electoral votes), Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, D.C., Washington state
Likely D (37): Maine (1 EV), Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon
Lean D (69): Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin
Pure Toss Up (77): Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio
Lean R (11): Arizona
Likely R (44): Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska* (1 EV), Utah
Safe R (136): Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska (4 EVs), North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming

*Nebraska and Maine allocate their electoral votes by congressional district – 3 in Maine and 4 in Nebraska are considered safe for Democrats and Republicans, respectively; 1 each could potentially be in play. Barack Obama won 1 delegate out of Nebraska (Omaha) in 2008.

Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio are considered pure toss ups at this point, according to the analysis. So even if Trump, who is the de facto Republican nominee, were able to get all of those, he would still come up short.

Based strictly on polling, it’s a Clinton landslide

Clinton 332-206

Considering strictly who is leading in public surveys, as curated by the web site RealClearPolitics, Clinton would be ahead by a landslide 332-206.

But that includes states, where polling is within the margin of error. And, at this point, polling is almost irrelevant. The cases have not been litigated yet; the campaigns have not been waged; neither candidate has even officially crossed the magic number to win their respective primaries yet.

Bottom line: There is a lot of time to go.

(One note about Colorado: The only poll in the RCP average of the state is one Quinnipiac poll from November showing Trump up 11. That’s hardly a good indicator of what will happen this upcoming November, but for the sake of having something to go on, it’s why we put Colorado red. For a more up-to-date primer on the state of play in Colorado with on-the-ground reporting, check out Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus’ report here. It notes how the gender gap may be the biggest hurdle for Trump in Colorado.)

The Democratic head start

Clinton 164-136 (safe)
Clinton 201-180 (safe+likely)

Democrats start out with an electoral edge because of demography, especially growing Latino populations in key states, as well as Democrats’ clustering in big cities in big states, like California, New York and Illinois.

Republicans, on the other hand, have seen their greatest appeal in the South and rural areas of the West and Midwest. Their biggest electoral vote state is Texas.

So looking at just the seats considered “safe,” Clinton — or any Democrat — would start with a 164-136 advantage.

Adding in the “likely” states, Democrats still lead 201-180.

Can Trump win New York?

Donald Trump would argue that he can pick off some of these traditionally safe and likely Democratic states, notably his home state of New York, as well as bordering New Jersey, where Trump-backer Chris Christie is governor. But there’s just no evidence of that yet. Here’s why:

-Trump may have won the New York primary, but the Republican primary was 91 percent white, according to exit polls. In the 2012 general election, it was only 67 percent white. (New Jersey’s primary comes up June 7, and Trump will probably win it. But it, too, is far more diverse in a general election than a GOP primary.)

-Neither state has gone Republican in almost 30 years.

-And Barack Obama won them both twice – New York by at least 28 points; New Jersey by at least 15.

Because of Christie and because of Trump’s proximity, we move New Jersey to “likely” instead of “safe.” But more would need to happen to move either into a “lean” category. And if polling does show them coming into play, it means other, more potentially reachable states have also likely moved in Trump’s favor.

Explaining the “Lean” (and not “Lean”) states

It’s tempting to be safe and put the usual suspects in the toss-up column. Significant resources will be spent in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Hampshire and Virginia. Those are places where the fight will be waged.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re toss ups. It also doesn’t mean Republicans can’t win there, but Clinton starts with an edge, in some places, because of history and, in others, demography.

Obama won all of these states twice. He won them by an average of 6 points in 2012 and 10 in 2008. Pennsylvania and Michigan haven’t gone Republican since 1988, Wisconsin since 1984 (although it was the closest state in 2004).

Nevada, Virginia and New Hampshire had all once been swing states — George W. Bush won all three in 2000, but John Kerry won Nevada and New Hampshire. And Obama won all of them. Nevada and Virginia, in particular, have shifted more Democratic because of demography — Hispanics in Nevada, and in Virginia, Hispanics as well as Asians and ex-urban growth.

What about…?

Arizona: On the Republican side, the only lean state is Arizona. The state has gone Republican for the last 20 years — and arguably Bill Clinton only won it because Ross Perot pulled votes from George H.W. Bush. But the state has a significant percentage of Hispanic voters. It’s something that has sitting Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP nominee, concerned that with Trump at the top of the ticket, it could fire up Latinos and get more out to the polls. Even though the state is 30 percent Hispanic, they made up just 18 percent of the electorate in 2012.

Georgia: Another state to watch. Its demography has become much more non-white, and Republicans only won it by 5 and 8 points in 2008 and 2012, respectively. One poll showed a Trump-Clinton race a dead heat, but given its presidential and down-ballot history, we are leaving it as “likely” GOP until there’s more hard evidence.

Utah: Though one poll in March ahead of the GOP primary showed Clinton winning by 2 points, we put that in likely for Trump, because (a) Utah has a long history of voting Republican (it hasn’t gone Democratic since 1964), and (b) there was a very high number of undecided voters. In other words, no one was near 50 percent, and a Republican is far more likely to get there.

Florida: You could argue that the Sunshine State is at least a finger on the scale for Democrats given its rapidly changing demography. The poll average has Clinton with a 5-point lead — and better ones in the average have it high-single digits. That all makes you think. But, for now, we leave it toss up, given its history. In addition to the tight races in 2000 and 2004, Obama only won it by 2 points in 2008 and less than 1 point in 2012.

White, working class versus Latinos

The real sorting, though, will be between white, working-class voters and Latinos. Which group is more motivated could determine the election.

Republicans start at a demographic disadvantage in 2016 and have been at one for the past couple of election cycles, in large measure, because the face of America is changing. It’s especially getting more Hispanic and Asian. Latinos, in particular, have affected American politics in profound ways, and they are still underrepresented at the polls.

Pollsters project that the share of the white vote will be its lowest in history, being at or possibly even dipping below 70 percent for the first time. That gives Democrats a significant advantage in key states like Florida, Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada. It also could put in play places like Arizona and Georgia. Democrats hope one day that will mean Texas, too, which is already majority-minority. But there are more Latino Republicans in Texas than anywhere in the country.

Plus, in the Midwest, an area Trump has to likely do well in if he hopes to win compete, the population has decreased and voters, especially white ones affected directly by trade, have gotten older.

Trump’s path — The trade winds

Trump 276-262

This path is dependent on Trump being able to use his populist, protectionist and anti-globalization rhetoric to fire up white, working-class voters affected by outsourcing in the Rust Belt and Upper Midwest. Trump believes he can do that with an anti-free trade message, especially against the wife of the president who signed the North American Free Trade Agreement.

To do it: He would have to win all the “likely” and “safe” Republican states, then sweep Pennsylvania (20), Ohio (18), Michigan (16), Wisconsin (10) and Iowa (6). That would mean he could lose Iowa, Virginia, Florida and Colorado and still get to 270.

Trump 285-253

It also means he could trade Florida for Pennsylvania and win, too, by a wider margin, 285-253.

Of course, this is also dependent on Trump being able to maintain Arizona and even North Carolina and Iowa, which have seen Latino growth.

Possible Ties


There are at least two different 269-269 ties that we could come up with through Trump’s “Trade Winds” route. They both, of course, depend on Florida. If there is a tie, it goes to the House, which is controlled by Republicans. (Here’s an explanation.)

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