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November 9, 2016 [LINK / comment]

Believe it or not: Trump is elected president

Oh, what a night! It was an exhausting ordeal staying up until after the results were reasonably certain (about 2:45 A.M.), and I remain deeply conflicted over what to make of it all. Yes, Donald J. Trump pulled off the biggest upset presidential election victory in modern American history, winning 30 states and nearly matching the number of popular votes received by the heavily-favored Hillary Rodham Clinton. It was probably a bigger upset than Ronald Reagan's victory over President Jimmy Carter in 1980, and the consequences are likewise very unpredictable. This country is entering some very dangerous rapids, with many people already becoming hysterical at the previously-remote prospect of a Trump presidency.

Virtually none of the mainstream pollsters and pundits gave Trump much of a chance of winning. Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball ( forecast Clinton defeating Trump, 322-216. My "last-minute" forecast, done just before the first returns came in had a slightly narrower margin of victory for Clinton: 305-233. While it will take some time to absorb the lessons, we can at least identify the specific places and circumstances where Trump did better than expected.

The map below shows what a broad-based victory Trump won, with states in all regions of the country except the Pacific Coast and the Northeast. His strongest support was in the lower Mississippi Basin and the Great Plains, extending into the upper Rocky Mountains. It is a clear reflection of the growing divide between the ethnically-diverse, urbanized Democratic base versus the largely white and rural Republican base. Two Americas that seem to shut themselves off from each other, almost pretending that the "other" America doesn't exist. It will be a huge (!) challenge for President Trump to govern such a deeply fractured society, and frankly he lacks either the preparation or the temperment to do so.

2016 Pres. Election

The 2016 presidential election. Roll your mouse over the image to see my forecast, and click on it to see the original map with the faulty calculations.

The map highlights (with exclamation marks) the six states that switched parties, i.e., went for Trump this time but went for Obama in 2012. I correctly forecast that Iowa and Ohio would switch toward the GOP, but was wrong about the other four: Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. They were all significant in terms of electoral votes. In my blog post yesterday, I suggested that Michigan might be the decisive swing state this time, in the event of an unexpected Trump upsurge. It might have been, but the vote totals were so slow in coming in there that it became redundant. Around 11:00 when Trump had a clear lead in both Florida and Michigan, the unthinkable outcome became a very real prospect. When Wisconsin went for Trump, he became the clear favorite, and when Pennsylvania was called for him around 2:30, it was essentially all over.

I updated the Presidency page, showing the map above, listing Trump as the 45th president, and including the election results nationwide, in Virginia, and in this local area.

Among the Facebook friends who deserve credit for better "forecasting" than me are Ryan Setliff (a strong Trump backer) and Jimmy Brenneman (not so much).

FUN FACT: Donald Trump, who was born June 14, 1946, will be 70 years and seven months old when he takes the oath of office on January 20. This is about eight months older than Ronald Reagan, who was born Feb. 6, 1911.

Election Night Facebook posts

For the record, here's what I wrote on Facebook last night, excluding comments and repostings of images. I confess to reposting one or two items that made fun of the Democrats, but ceased doing so after the likelihood of a Trump win became clear. One of my Facebook postings acknowledged the deep pain felt by Democrats who had been very confident of victory. The relative time elapsed is based on when I accessed my Facebook page, at shortly after 3:00 this afternoon. I added the approximate clock times in parentheses.

17 hrs ( ~ 10:00 P.M.) --
So far, the election looks closer than most people thought, and that is consistent with my "last-minute" forecast: I have Clinton with 279 electoral votes (48% of the popular vote), and Trump with 259 (43%).

16 hrs ( ~ 11:00 P.M.) --
A note to my Democratic friends, of whom there are many: If Trump does somehow pull off an upset win tonight, please don't freak out and go off the deep end. It doesn't mean that America is being taken over by racist Neanderthals, just that there is a deep upsurge of anti-establishment sentiment that the elites have been ignoring. I'm not a Trump supporter, and I never seriously considered voting for him, but I understand there are valid reasons for doing so. This may be another result like 2000, with the electoral vote winner getting fewer popular votes. That's just the way our system works, and if you don't like it, there are means to make a constitutional change.

16 hrs ( ~ 11:00 P.M.) --
Just curious: Would the number of ex-convicts whose voting rights were restored en masse by our glorious governor account for Clinton's lead over Trump in Virginia?

16 hrs ( ~ 11:00 P.M.) --
Ron Johnson (R) beats Russ Feingold (D) in the Wisconsin Senate race. Now that's something I can take pleasure in!

15 hrs ( ~ 12:00 A.M.) --
I just switched to Fox News and have to give credit to Greg Guttfield for interpreting the Trump upsurge as the average American expressing a big "F--- you" to popular culture, citing Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, et al. AGREED!

15 hrs ( ~ 12:00 A.M.) --
Trump is now projected to win Wisconsin, which is the first (or second) state thus far I have gotten wrong; Florida is too close to call for some news sources, but Trump is favored there too.

15 hrs ( ~ 12:00 A.M.) --
"DO NOT BREAK GLASS EXCEPT IN CASE OF EMERGENCY." This election may reflect the widespread sense that our country really has reached an emergency, and drastic measures are required. Yikes.

15 hrs ( ~ 12:00 A.M.) --
If Trump holds his lead, it will be an earthquake like nothing this country has seen in decades. Stock markets will tank, people will jump off buildings, but not all is lost. One positive consequence would be that Democrats will suddenly discover that constitutional limitations on government power can come in handy sometimes.

14 hrs ( ~ 1:00 A.M.) --
Adding to the HUGE surprise of this evening is the fact that Trump currently leads in the nationwide popular vote, as well as the electoral vote. But he will probably end up with a bit less than 49%. That calls attention to my recent letter to the editor calling for a reform of the presidential nomination and election process. I would require an absolute majority of both the popular vote AND a majority (26) of the states, and if no candidate qualifies, then you revert back to the traditional electoral college system.

14 hrs ( ~ 1:00 A.M.) --
Sen. Pat Toomey (R) wins reelection in Pennsylvania!

13 hrs ( ~ 2:00 A.M.) --
Forecast correction: Based on the states I picked, the electoral vote totals would have been Clinton 308, Trump 230. Stupid spreadsheet error on my part. (Before it was Clinton 279, Trump 259.)

13 hrs ( ~ 2:00 A.M.) --
Washington Post calls Pennsylvania for Trump, which puts him at 264 -- just six EVs short. Won't be long now...

13 hrs ( ~ 2:00 A.M.) --
After all the talk (justifiable, I think) about what sore loser Donald Trump was likely to be, Hillary Clinton now faces a huge task in making a graceful concession speech. John Podesta just told the crowd to go home and sleep, as there will be no speech tonight. It seems strange for them to hold out hope, given the mathematics of the situation.

13 hrs ( ~ 2:00 A.M.) --
Now I get it. MSNBC won't call Pennsylvania because of all the provisional ballots yet to be counted. Armies of lawyers about to descend upon Harrisburg?

12 hrs ( ~ 3:00 A.M.) --
One thing's for sure: The Republican Party is no longer the party of wealthy, privileged elites from the northeast! (Wait a minute...)

12 hrs ( ~ 3:00 A.M.) --
I can't believe I am watching President-elect Donald Trump make his acceptance speech. What a crazy world we live in. Well, we'd better get used to things being done differently from now on.

12 hrs ( ~ 3:00 A.M.) --
It is distressing to me to see so many people threatening to unfriend those who have a different world view on Facebook today. I only unfriend people who habitually use extreme, vulgar, or otherwise hostile language likely to incite violence. Be cool, folks, we'll get through this.


4 hrs ( ~ 11:00 A.M.) --
A couple months ago, I brought up the name of a long-forgotten Virginia politician named Mary Sue Terry. She had a lock on the race for governor in 1993, and then an uncouth upstart named George Allen ruined her best-laid plans. Know what I mean now?

3 hrs ( ~ 12:00 P.M.) --
Good for Hillary. She said what needed to be said, and did so in an emphatic, sincere way. I just hope her supporters take her words to heart and accept the results of the election. (It won't be easy for me either.)

Elections in Virginia

[Here in the Old Dominion, Mrs. Clinton won by a comfortable margin, 49.5% to 44.7%. It wasn't that long ago that Virginia was a reliably Republican state, and for many years it was a "bellwether" state, an early indicator of nationwide trends. This election, it not only went Democratic, but went against the nationwide trend. When reports surfaced that the Trump campaign was pulling out of Virginia in mid-October, it seemed like it was a sign of desperation by a losing candidate. Not quite.]

As for the House of Representatives, the Democrats picked up one seat in Virginia, as a result of the court-mandated redistricting that took place earlier this year. (See my July 13 blog post.) In the newly-redrawn 4th Congressional District, Democrat Don McEachin (an African-American member of the State Senate) defeated Republican Mike Wade (Sheriff of Henrico County) by about 14 percentage points, 57% - 43%. In the 2nd C.D., Republican Scott Taylor easily won the seat vacated by Scott Rigell, who decided not to run again. In the 5th C.D., formerly held by Robert Hurt (Republican), Tom Garrett (also a Republican) defeated Democrat Jane Dittmar by a wide margin, to my surprise. In the 10th C.D., incumbent Republican Barbara Comstock won reelection by a substantial margin, also a bit of a surprise to me. So instead of an 8 - 3 Republican advantage, it's now 7 - 4, which is closer to the total statewide popular vote by party.

District Republican % Democrat %
1 Wittman 60.71% Rowe 35.78%
2 Taylor * 61.57% Brown 38.17%
3 Williams 33.25% Scott 66.52%
4 Wade 42.79% McEachin * 56.99%
5 Garrett * 58.21% Dittmar 41.60%
6 Goodlatte 66.60% Degner 33.18%
7 Brat 57.66% Bedell 42.15%
8 Hernick 27.29% Beyer 68.36%
9 Griffith 68.59% Kitts 28.31%
10 Comstock 52.67% Bennett 46.94%
11 (write in) 12.35% Connolly 87.65%

* : new member; name of winner in bold face.
SOURCE: / State Board of Elections

The Politics in Virginia page has been updated to show the new and returning members of the House from Virginia as of next January.

I'll write about congressional races across the country tomorrow.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 10 Nov 2016, 12: 16 AM

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