It's been a while, so I'm not sure where to start...
Okay, I'll start with the Republican convention:
I rarely watch the convention, except for the nominee's speech. The dog and pony show aspect gets on my nerves. This year, though, I watched a bit more and some things stood out:
1) Trump's children are very good spokesmen for him. Eric, Donald Jr., Ivanka: all turned in strong performances. You will likely see a lot more of them on the campaign trail
2) I though Trump's acceptance speech was workmanlike. He seems less comfortable with the teleprompter than our current "needs teleprompter to take a dump" president, but the delivery was okay. If you hate Trump, you'll have hated it. If you were already a Trump supporter, you probably thought it was the best thing ever. What's important is how it will play with everyone else. My mostly apolitical wife caught and she, in general, liked it. If I had to score it, I'd call it a net positive for Trump.
3) I saw many complaining about Trump's delivery. Let's be clear here: he appeared far more human that Hillary will likely appear next week. I know that she studies well, but her attempts to appear lifelike are usually dismal failures.
The Democrat convention is this week. Looking at the list of scheduled speakers makes me glad I don't have to watch that stuff for a living. An unindicted, corrupt felon will accept the nomination from a major party for the first time every, so there's that bit of history in the offing.
Now on to my crystal ball for this election. This prediction is based solely on how I see the Electoral College shaking out. National polls are more or less meaningless. Hillary will win CA by a gazillion votes, but there's no carryover to other states.
Virginia: I live there and have watched it change over the last few decades. The most dramatic changed has occurred within the last 10 years. The number of federal teat suckers living in NOVA has exploded. The odds of them voting to shrink the government (and their paychecks) is pretty much zero. This has nothing to do with Trump. I had projected Virginia staying blue long before the primary season began. So Virginia goes blue.
North Carolina: Yes, the state has changed a lot, but Hillary is strongly disliked by what I suspect is still a thin majority in the state. Put NC in the GOP column. For the record, if NC goes blue, you might as well go to bed because I think the race is effectively over at that point.
Colorado and Nevada: I could go into the details, but I think both of them go blue.
Pennsylvania and Ohio: Here's where it gets interesting. Trump is polling very well among the disaffected working class, notably the union members, due in large part to Hillary's desire to end coal and cheap energy forever. She will, of course, lie to their faces and some of them will buy it. This time, though, I don't think it will be enough. I suspect that PA and OH go red this year. I will offer one caveat: if the GOP doesn't have lots of poll watchers and armed guards protecting the ballots, the Democrat machine in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia will go into overdrive. Expect lots of counties with >100% of registered voters voting, with ALL of those votes going-surprise-to Hillary. They are going to pull out all of the stops here to make sure those states stay blue. If Trump and the GOP doesn't have enough boots on the ground to prevent it, those states could be stolen.
Florida: I've gone back and forth on this one, but I think Trump is going to win the Sunshine State this year. All that stuff I said about protecting the integrity of the ballots in PA and OH applies here as well. Florida has a history of...interesting vote tallies in some of its counties.
New York and New Jersey: write them both off. Clinton carries both easily.
Entire left coast: crazy Democrat strongholds. I see nothing that changes that this year. No matter how rightfully angry Bernie's voters are, the Democrats have proven time and time again that they will vote in lockstep to prevent the eeeevviiillll RethugliKKKans from winning.
Iowa: I've been waffling on this state for a while. I could make a case either way. But I'm going to lean GOP here.
Illinois: Home to Obama and home to what is possibly the crookedest political machine on the face of the Earth. I see no way that IL goes anything but blue.
Michigan: You'd think that Trump's message to the lower and middle class there and how much of their state has been destroyed by Democrat policies over the last few decades would resonate. It might, but as of right now, I'm still picking MI to stay blue.
Wisconsin: This is a goofy state. Blue in population, but with a successful governor who has won reelection. The state's economy is doing well and you'd think that this would have some effect on how the state will vote. But presidential elections are not the same as gubernatorial elections. If they were, Maryland would go red this year. It won't. Wisconsin could go red, but for right now, I'm putting it in the Democrat column.
New Hampshire: the MA infection is fatal. It goes blue.
Maine's 2nd congressional district: This is where the fun begins. I say it goes red which leads to what you'll see below:
Played w/ the map and came up with this interesting scenario: https://t.co/ZVANhJjSGs— (((Physics Geek))) (@physicsgeek) July 24, 2016