The Networks’ Nightmare: Election Decided Early Tuesday Night

Whichever your go-to election coverage source may be, even among commercial media outlets considered left leaning, there may be a good chance they’re rooting for Donald Trump, to an extent. If you play around with any interactive Electoral College map combined with poll averages, you will quickly see that Trump has a very narrow path to victory. In fact, if you give the win to Trump in all so-called battleground states west of Ohio, you will find that Trump cannot win the election without winning Florida and at least two out of three states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

The significance of this is that all four of those critical battleground states are in the Eastern Time Zone. Winners are typically called in those states between around 8PM and 11PM Eastern time on average. There is of course always the potential for significant exceptions, such as Florida in 2000 or Pennsylvania in 2008 (called before 8PM.) But with such a narrow path, it is very possible that analysts, pundits, and statisticians could effectively deem the election over before West Coast voters have even left the polls. All it would take is for a Donald Trump loss to be called in Florida, or, in two of the three other battleground states I mentioned even with Florida being called for a Trump win. With the increase in early voter turnout, this could potentially happen as early as 8PM Eastern, 5PM Pacific, which would not be good for network ratings.