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Hillary Clinton Campaign Manager: Odds Are Still in Our Favor

4 minute read

With fewer than 50 days until the election and Democrats increasingly worried, Hillary Clinton’s top strategist on Tuesday night reassured supporters with a simple message: The odds are still in our favor.

A memo penned by Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, circulated to donors and supporters and obtained by TIME, outlines in detail the campaign’s map to victory in November.

As polls between Clinton and Trump tighten, Democrats are relying on a favorable electoral map. Clinton will need to win many fewer of the seven battleground states—Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Colorado and New Hampshire—than Trump, Mook said, where Democrats will depend on high voter turnout to win.

“Here’s the story that no poll can tell: Hillary Clinton has many paths to 270 electoral votes, while Donald Trump has very few,” said Mook.

The campaign’s reasoning is as follows: Clinton is nearly certain to win 191 electoral votes from 16 Democratic states and Washington, D.C., Mook said. She is likely to win Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. The campaign would then just need 10 more electoral votes, Mook said, to get to the 270 electoral votes required to win. Those could come from winning just one out of Florida, North Carolina or Ohio, or Clinton could win any two of Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada.

Put conversely, Trump would have to win all three of Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, Mook wrote, and a total of six of the seven battleground states. “Those aren’t great odds for Donald Trump,” he said.

Trump has risen quickly in polls since his early-August nadir, when he attacked a Gold Star family, did not appear to know Russia had invaded the Crimea and claimed the election could be rigged. Clinton and Trump are within two points of each other in national polls, according to an average by FiveThirtyEight, and Democrats are increasingly nervous about Clinton’s sturdiness as a candidate.

But Clinton has rebounded since her bout with pneumonia last week, and has spent an increasing amount of time with the press in the last two weeks, even as Trump’s handlers have carefully sought to control him. Trump’s rehashing of the birther controversy, in which he falsely claimed for five years that President Obama was not born in the United States, could damage him in the coming weeks.

Mook’s estimation of Clinton’s electoral paths to victory are supported in part by polling data that show her ahead in states that lean Democratic. Of the seven battlegrounds—six of which Trump would need to win—most are tossups. Trump has slight leads in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina (he would need to win all three).

The Clinton campaign has struggled to build bumper-sticker-length mantras for Clinton. But Tuesday’s memo includes message-point reminders for the foot soldiers of the Clinton campaign: Talk about her jobs program, immigration reform, criminal justice reform and her plan to take on ISIS. “Our message is clear: Hillary Clinton has the experience and steadiness to bring people together and get real results—Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit and unqualified to be president,” wrote Mook.

Clinton has sought to shore up its weak spots in recent weeks, putting up Spanish-language ads and targeting millennials, both audiences where campaign officials are worried about turnout more than persuasion. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the Obamas will all hit the campaign trail for Clinton this month.

The president delivered a particularly urgent message on Saturday night to the Congressional Black Caucus, pleading them to continue to turnout in historically high numbers for Clinton after the 2008 and 2012 elections. “There’s no such thing as a vote that doesn’t matter,” he said. “You want to give me a good sendoff? Go vote.”

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