Any path to a Trump victory in November goes through Ohio, period. It's the one state he absolutely has to win, no Republican has ever claimed the White House without it. If Trump wins Ohio, he could certainly lose the presidency and almost certainly will if he loses Pennsylvania and Florida as I expect he will. But if he loses Ohio, he's done for, and as usual the Cincinnati suburbs up in Boehner Country will decide the state.
Take the cluster of counties around Cincinnati, in southwestern Ohio, which constitute a crucial Republican counterweight. Trump needs to run up large margins there to offset Clinton’s built-in advantages in the cities of Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland.
Warren County, Ohio, hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964. A typical Republican nominee is expected to notch 70 percent of the vote there.
This year, however, there is a prominent Never Trump movement in Warren, and the county’s Republican chairman, Jeff Monroe, indicated that that dynamic could cut into what are typically strong turnout numbers for the GOP nominee.
“We anticipate our folks will certainly turn out for a Trump campaign,” he said. “Whether or not they turn out in the numbers we want is another question, and that’s yet to be answered.”
Winning the bulk of the rank-and-file — which Trump currently looks poised to do — isn’t enough.
“If we don’t get Republicans to turn out in Warren County, it is extremely difficult for the Trump campaign to win Ohio,” he said, adding that even an underperformance of 2 percent there could make a difference in a state that Obama only won by around 100,000 votes in 2012—and it would also signal an enthusiasm gap in a critical region for Republicans.
“Warren County is important because it provides a net gain for Republicans to offset where Republicans are disadvantaged,” he continued, pointing to the major urban areas. “If we don’t show up to vote, it does two things: One, it tells us we can’t have the net gain, and second, it’s likely indicative of what we’re seeing elsewhere, which means their Republican vote would also be down.”
That worry is playing out in suburban and exurban areas across the state, in counties like Delaware and Licking, outside of Columbus; and in Lake County, near Cleveland, Weaver said.
In those places, “Donald Trump has many people on the sidelines wondering whether to vote Republican this year. These are folks who voted for Romney last time, John McCain the time before that. One of Trump’s biggest challenges is to convince these Republican-leaning voters that it’s OK to vote Republican this year.”
Trump doesn't need to piss off a lot of Republicans in order to lose in November. He just needs to do so in the right counties in the right key battleground states to flip it to Clinton. I believe that's how she's going to win and win big.
They don't have to vote for Clinton, but if they don't vote for Trump, he's toast.