This article originally appeared in Business Insider.
Donald Trump’s campaign strategy is pushing an unpredictable policy response to Trump’s political history on every issue: criticizing conservatives, firing Comey, and using undocumented immigrants as wedge issues. In this case, the strategy may even be working.
Overall, Trump is moving closer to securing the power to prevent the election from happening on November 8. Three of the remaining five congressional seats in the country that are currently Hillary Clinton-defeating contests are currently races rated as leans Republican.
Republicans and their allies have been pressing the election date issue for almost a decade.
The main strategy revolves around a handful of conservative-governor primaries that were largely won by anti-Trump Republicans.
Two of these – Utah and Wisconsin – are states Trump won comfortably over Clinton. One of the largest issues in these states was immigration, and in the 20th Congressional District in Utah, immigration is a top issue.
And in Wisconsin, Trump won the anti-Trump race by just a few points, suggesting that voters there are tired of policy solutions that rely on punishing the elected, meaning that Wisconsin’s next governor could potentially usher in a new wave of “it’s not you, it’s me” legislation.
You may remember former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) as the man who helped popularize a new wave of “ideological purity” that forced the resignation of more moderate Governor Scott Walker (R). By charging Walker with playing partisan politics, especially in the state’s environmentally conservative areas, party-line Democrats (as well as rising-star Republicans) attempted to keep him in office through the recall election.
In Utah, Trump won easily, outdoing Clinton’s performance by a wide margin. In Wisconsin, however, which went for Clinton with a healthy plurality, a difficult campaign included a crackdown on illegal immigration and a “It’s not you, it’s me” strategy involving a state with high rates of illegal immigration.
By attacking Republican incumbents for opposing immigration reform that’s illegal and dangerous, Trump is probably aiming to dissuade supporters from voting for GOP rivals in the primaries and continuing their tradition of supporting the Party’s nominee.
The other sticking point for progressives in Utah is another migration issue. The GOP adopted a policy that includes some border enforcement in exchange for a border wall that’s highly unpopular. Trump has been saying for months that the wall will not be paid for by Mexico. And while voters have elected to pass a major immigration crackdown, Utah doesn’t want to be seen as soft on illegal immigration. The question is how far Republicans will be willing to go to cut this deal.
Florida, Michigan, and South Carolina also have interesting races that are currently trending toward Trump. Although Democrats won these contests by wide margins, these three places represent potential breaks from the GOP.
Trump won Florida and Ohio by a wide margin – 5.3 million and 6.7 million votes, respectively – with somewhat stronger percentages than Clinton. However, these two states were not favorable contests for either candidate. Clinton narrowly won Michigan by just 1.2 million votes.
Clinton won South Carolina by 1.3 million votes, compared to Trump’s 1.6 million. Donald Trump still has several advantages against both candidates; however, Clinton was a more energized candidate, and Trump was better-known.
Southern states that look ripe for up-and-coming political risks, such as Montana and South Carolina, have general election-leaning boundaries that may make them ripe for border-control efforts. If the party gets in some trouble in these states in the midterms, there’s a good chance it could take a temporary break from the path to power.