Bottom line is that Trump needs to win his home-away-from home-state of Florida. It’ll be very similar to Al Gore, who lost to George W. Bush because he couldn’t win his home state of Tennessee and Bill Clinton’s home state of Arkansas. Gore didn’t want to be associated with the Clinton corruption, but ultimately paid the price by not winning either state.
Winning Ohio (18) and/or Pennsylvania (20) is optimal. But he can also win if he takes Virginia (13) and Iowa (6) in lieu of one of those states. What makes Ohio and Pennsylvania so attractive is that they are part of the Appalachian Region that can help Trump win:
This is where the hand-to-hand combat takes place. In 2012, Obama won Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, while Mitt Romney won North Carolina, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Question here is whether Donald Trump can win Ohio and Pennsylvania, while holding onto North Carolina. It’ll be a great battle to watch.