Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Live Blogging The Election Results, 2016

12:34AM
Best anecdotal sign of a disappointing outcome? I just realized that I'm fall-down tired, and am going to bed. I'll leave you with my best guess as to where the map will stand when we all get up tomorrow -- assuming there *is* a tomorrow. My best guess now is that Trump will finish with 289 electoral votes, to Clinton's 249 (or 248, if that guy in Washington keeps his word.)



12:33AM
Hillary Clinton is being projected as the winner in Nevada.

12:25AM
If Donald Trump wins Pennsylvania, and Steve Kornacke thinks he will, Hillary Clinton has no remaining path. All three of Arizona and Wisconsin and Nevada get her to 270, but only if she carries all of Maine and the elector in Washington State doesn't keep his word about not voting for her. Oh, and the NASDAQ and S&P 500 futures have both just hit the "5% loss break," which means that trading has been suspended until the market opens tomorrow, to avert a wider wave of panic selling.

12:22AM
CNN is calling Iowa for Donald Trump.

12:20AM
...And no sooner did I upload those words, than Trump has taken the lead in Pennsylvania. The only county left to report even a single precinct is one that went +60,000 for Romney in 2012.

12:18AM
I'm on the Wisconsin Supervisor of Elections website, and the issue of Wisconsin doesn't seem exactly out of reach for the good guys, yet. There are still 23% of the precincts left to report in Milwaukee. I begin to think that this matter will not be decided this evening either way.

12:15AM
Reuters is calling the Nevada Senate seat for Catherine Cortez-Mato. Which is a Democratic *hold*, not a pickup, since she will replace Harry Reid. That's how far this night has fallen: We're cheering for holds, now. In the Senate.

12:12AM
In case you didn't have enough to worry about, consider these two words: President Pence. And if you think that's less scary than President Trump, don't overlook the possibility that it could be both.

12:08AM
Mainstream media types are talking about Trump's agenda and likely cabinet appointments. Steve Kornacke reports that Trump's lead is widening in Wisconsin. If he peels Wisconsin from the Democratic "blue wall," then only a flip of Arizona will save Clinton. And the rest of us.

12:04AM
Is it possible that Barack Obama set up this whole dynamic by criticizing Mitt Romney, four years ago, for standing on the convention stage and calling Russia our biggest threat? It does appear that Russia didn't take too kindly to being publicly dismissed as a threat.

11:59PM
Donald Trump is within 7,000 votes in Pennsylvania. Obviously, if Donald Trump wins Pennsylvania, the whole shooting match is completely over.

11:57PM
Andrea Mitchell is reporting that the mood at the Clinton HQ is "shell-shocked." There is no live entertainment and no surrogate contacts with the reporters on the floor of the ballroom.

11:55 PM
This is a long and increasingly discouraging night for progressives like me, but let's take a moment to consider how historic it is for things to be this uncertain like this. We don't routinely have elections like this, and it's worth a line or two of column space to say that it's a pretty special moment to be a part of, even if it doesn't turn out the way a lot of us would want.

11:52PM
James Carville isn't expecting Wisconsin to come back to the Clinton campaign. "I'm distraught about the whole thing."

11:50PM
GOP team reportedly "jubilant" at the prospect of Donald Trump becoming the President-elect. Clinton campaign, meanwhile, reportedly has "gone dark" -- with none of their surrogates speaking to the networks, and no social media presence. These are not signs that can easily be spun or ignored, folks.

11:47PM
Here's a pretty astonishing idea: If Trump wins Wisconsin, which shouldn't have happened -- and Clinton wins Arizona, which also shouldn't have happened -- they effectively trade their electoral votes, and nothing changes.

11:45PM
Reuters and MSNBC are calling Georgia for Donald Trump. No surprise.

11:41PM
Steve Kornacke showing that Milwaukee and Madison are going to make things extremely close in Wisconsin. "She needs big numbers out of Milwaukee and there's a good chance that Trump can make some of that back with the western counties."

11:39PM
Reuters calling the Arizona Senate race for John McCain.

11:30PM
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Donald Trump is clinging to a 9,000 vote lead in the partial precincts in New Hampshire, but with only about 65% of the precincts reporting and no discernible pattern. Advantage: PUSH


MICHIGAN: Trump still clings to a 15,000 vote lead but there's less than 70% of the vote in from Wayne County and Detroit. Advantage: CLINTON

WISCONSIN: Trump's partial-precinct lead is about 75,000 but Clinton is waiting on a third of Madison and a quarter of Milwaukee. Advantage: CLINTON

NEVADA: Clinton leads with less than half of Clarke County reported. Advantage: CLINTON

ARIZONA: Trump's partial precinct lead is about 100,000, but less than half of Tucson is in. Advantage: ...CLINTON???

MAINE: Clinton leads with most of Bangor and Portland still to report. Advantage: CLINTON

PENNSYLVANIA: Clinton leads with most of Pittsburgh left to report in. Advantage: CLINTON


11:25PM
Let me see if I can mine the data a little and get everyone a better picture of where things stand. This will probably take a few minutes....

11:23PM
Here, feel better: This is the map I made two days ago for my highest-ever-pageview blog column. You'll notice that Hillary Clinton stands on 274 without North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, or Iowa.



11:19PM
There begins to be the very real possibility that this thing won't be decided tonight either way. If it's close enough in Nevada and Wisconsin to require the provisional and mail-in ballots, then one or the other of those could mean a mandatory automatic recount. Which would mean the Brooks-Brothers riot all over again, of course, but this time with armed militia.

11:15PM
"People are pushing the 'change' button. I mean, Bernie Sanders was never going to be President; nobody cared! And a plurality of Sanders supporters said their second choice was Trump." -Chris Matthews


11:12PM
The MSNBC talking heads are saying, "It is far more likely that he wins tonight, than she does." 

11:10PM
Steve Kornacke just said, "If Trump wins Nevada, Wisconsin, or Michigan, he's the next President." I think that's indubitably true, and has been for weeks. And I also don't think it's going to happen.

11:08PM
Since about 7:45pm or so, this election night has careened from one crisis to the next, and narrowly averted disaster at every turn. It begins to look like Hillary Clinton is going to win in Michigan, and the Clinton team was effectively writing off North Carolina after only narrowly holding in Virginia. But the thing is, if Wisconsin starts to look tricky from the perspective of how quickly the Senate race was called.

11:05PM
MSNBC IS CALLING NORTH CAROLINA FOR DONALD TRUMP. 


11:03PM
AP and ABC calling CA, OR, WA, HI for Hillary Clinton and ID for Trump. No surprises. The big surprise (and disappointment) is that Ron Johnson will beat Russ Feingold for US Senate from Wisconsin.


10:59PM
Wayne County (where Detroit is) is showing a 100,000 vote lead for Hillary Clinton with 50% of the precincts reporting. If you multiply that margin by two, it closes Trump's lead completely.

10:58PM
"Pennsylvania will hold for Hillary Clinton." -Chris Matthews.

10:57PM
Great local friend of mine reminded me of a quote from Chris Matthews just before the first debate: "All Hillary Clinton has to do, to win this debate, is solve a sixteen-sided Rubick's Cube; all Donald Trump has to do, is not eat somebody and then set the building on fire." 

10:55PM
Are we seeing the equivalent of Brexit, here in the US? As you may recall, the polls showed "remain" with a 2-3% tailwind on the eve of the referendum, and the pissed-off old white people just came completely out of the woodwork and overwhelmed the polling metrics. Not much room to doubt that something similar is happening here, tonight. Big poll closings at the top of the hour, so hang tight.

10:52PM
Steve Kornacke showing that Trump needs to find 130,00 more votes in Pennsylvania -- which is closer than we would have wanted, but still too much for Trump to find. 

10:49PM
There's not much going on right now, so my home-state followers will like to hear that Amendment #1 -- which would have monopolized solar power generation for the utility companies -- was defeated. 

10:42PM
My social media feeds (and my text-message inbox) are positively overtopped with Democratic angst about this thing, and make no mistake: Donald Trump has seriously over-performed most people's expectations so far this evening. OK, got it. But here's the thing: Which campaign would you rather be, with the Detroit Free Press already projecting Michigan, and seasoned veteran Jon Ralston already calling Nevada? Because with those two, you understand, Hillary Clinton surpasses 270 electoral votes and she's the next President.

10:35PM
REUTERS IS CALLING COLORADO FOR HILLARY CLINTON.


10:30PM
"There are paths to 270 opening up for Donald Trump at this hour." -Steve Kornacke.

10:26PM
REUTERS AND MSNBC CALLING VIRGINIA FOR HILLARY CLINTON. 
10:24PM
ABC calls the Colorado Senate race for Democratic incumbent Michael Bennett, and MSNBC calls the Iowa Senate for Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley.

10:20PM
MSNBC and REUTERS CALL OHIO FOR DONALD TRUMP. 



10:14PM
The official margin in Florida is 133,000 votes, and the big Democratic counties are down to counting their vote-by-mail ballots. I think it's over in the Sunshine State. Also, ABC and Reuters are calling the NC Senate race (very quickly!) for Richard Burr. This is shaping up to be a long -- perhaps even disappointing -- night for Democrats.

10:12PM
If you look at what's happened so far tonight, the polling error is definitely favoring Trump -- which is exactly the opposite of what I predicted, perhaps importantly so.

10:10PM
"We make the mistake of assuming that the south's all in the south." -Chris Matthews.

10:06PM
AP making it sound like Michigan is consolidating for Clinton, and MSNBC calls New Mexico for Clinton. And Missouri for Trump.


10:03PM
I hate to say this, but I might be the "journalist" to break that Trump is going to win Florida. The precincts left to report in Broward and Dade just aren't big enough.

10:00PM
Iowa is being called "Too Close to Call," which means Clinton is doing better than expected. Nevada is too close to call, which means either that Trump is doing better than expected, or the networks are being gutless. 

9:57PM
Only Nevada counts as a big state to close at the top of the hour, except possibly for Iowa -- if you call Iowa a big state. And both MSNBC and AP are hedging on Michigan. 

9:56PM
STEVE KORNACKIE REPORTING THAT HILLARY CLINTON HAS TAKEN THE LEAD IN VIRGINIA, WITH ONLY DEMOCRATIC-LEANING PRECINCTS LEFT TO GO.

9:54PM
So far no luck determining which precincts have yet to report in from The Granite State. Will continue to try to track that down for you.

9:49PM
NBC's Chris Matthews -- who I can't help but love to listen to -- says there's no chance that Trump can win in Pennsylvania. ("Ed Rendell said that his bosses in Philadelphia have all broken through their targets.")

9:44PM
Here, this will make everyone feel better. Let's assume Hillary holds very narrowly in Virginia, and give everything else that has surprised us so far to Donald Trump (including both Florida and Ohio). In that case, the whole thing comes down to Nevada -- where I've been reporting all week that Jon Ralston thinks the early vote for Clinton is insurmountable.

HYPOTHETICAL *** HYPOTHETICAL *** HYPOTHETICAL *** HYPOTHETICAL
HYPOTHETICAL *** HYPOTHETICAL *** HYPOTHETICAL *** HYPOTHETICAL


9:42PM
The Florida vote is extremely close, but the reason we're effectively standing still on precincts is because the ones which haven't reported yet still have people standing in line to vote. And that much is terrific news for the Clinton team. 

9:40PM
"The votes appear to be there for Hillary Clinton in Virginia." -MSNBC.

9:35PM
There is, of course, that other possibility for things being this artificially tight. The one of which we dare not speak. So I won't. But it rhymes with Bladdimir Klutin. Is that tinfoil-hat of me, to think out loud? That if the desire was to cook this outcome electronically, the best way to do it would be in a manner that was so razor-thin that there was no obvious place to point and say, "That can't be right"?

9:32PM
Here's your updated map:


9:29PM
Finally some good news for the Clinton team! The Detroit Free Press is projecting that Clinton will hang on in Michigan, and win. That's not exactly the election-consortium, but that cuts both ways since the DFP wouldn't stick their necks out like that if they weren't sure. Hat-tip, fellow Iowa State Cyclone and Yankee Fan, and all-around incredibly terrifically nice guy, Mike Patterson. 

9:27PM
No polls close at the bottom of the hour, so I'm going to see if I can get a county-level read on what's the matter with New Hampshire.

9:23PM
Trump is doing better with men than Romney did four years ago, according to Larry Sabato. This could be the hidden X-factor of this election, if things stay this tight. Is it possible that men outside of Trump's electoral wheelhouse are making it a point of voting against a woman President? I sure hope not, but it's one possible explanation for why things seem so incredibly tight right now. The Orange One is making it genuinely difficult to call at least some states that were considered safe for Clinton, and he's doing it with effectively no turnout operation whatsoever. If he continues to over-perform Romney among men, that could well be the reason why.

9:18PM
At the moment, Trump leads in the partial precincts of Virginia by 1.33million to 1.28million, and if you take the remaining precincts to report in Fairfax County, and you award them proportionately to Clinton and Trump, the state comes out exactly -- exactly -- tied. 

9:12PM
AP and Reuters are both showing the first congressional district in Nebraska as too close to call, which would be good news for Warren Buffet's promise to Hillary Clinton to deliver it. There's no sugar-coating that the Democrats are enduring a really, really nervous stretch of this election night right now. It isn't nearly as likely as it was even thirty minutes ago that Team Good Guys are going to win Florida, Michigan is going to go down to the wire, and Virginia comes down to Fairfax County, which won't report until late.

9:09PM
Chuck Todd honestly doesn't know -- and I've heard him in four elections now -- whether Clinton is going to win Florida when the rest of the precincts come in. "She gets 100,000 more votes from Broward, but she has to find another 30,000 from the I-4 corridor."



9:06PM
Great quote by Chuck Todd on MSNBC: "These two campaigns weren't fighting over a single voter. Instead they were each just trying to turn out their own voters." Good news for Clinton, all other things equal, since the Clinton turnout operation was assumed by everyone (including me) to be so much better.

9:00PM
No real surprises from the top-of-the-hour closings. Michigan was looking like a slow call for about a week now, and that's really the closest thing to a surprise in these closings. Also, AP has called South Carolina and Alabama for trump. Map to follow.

8:56PM
Let's all use the little dead-spot before the top-of-the-hour closing times to just step back and take a breath. Yes, Donald Trump is doing better than expected. (Heck, I'd put it that way if Trump got a single vote, anywhere in the country, if it comes to that.) But Hillary Clinton is doing much better than expected in several areas, too. And for proof, look no further than the fact that neither South Carolina nor Georgia have been called.

8:53PM
Just tried (semi-successfully) to scan the Virginia Supervisor of Elections website, and it looks like effectively all of the un-reported vote left in Virginia is in pro-Clinton parts of the state.

8:48PM
MSNBC is reporting a pro-Republican imbalance in turnout in Michigan, and that Virginia is too close to call on account of unusually high turnout across all regions of the state. 

8:44PM
I misspoke earlier and it's a doozy: It's not that 15% of the vote is still outstanding in Broward County. It's that only 15% of the vote has *reported* in Broward County. That's positively enormous, and I think the difference will be more than enough to deliver the state for Secretary Clinton. The blue precincts are always the last ones to report in, regardless of the state or circumstances.

8:40PM
Yes, partial precincts are useless. No, that doesn't make this graphic out of Texas any less fun to look at. (It's faint to read, but it shows HRC with a substantial lead among a rather sizable clump of votes already counted. Again, useless but fun to look at.)



8:37PM
CBS is calling the Indiana Senate race for Republican Todd Young, who defeats centrist Democratic candidate and high-name-recognition darling, Evan Bayh. So far things are going improbably well for Republicans in the Senate, which could indicate a significant amount of ticket-splitting that was targeted specifically at trying to block Hillary Clinton's "agenda," assuming she wins. Here's the updated (Presidential) map:



8:35PM
MSNBC says that some unofficial Democratic Party operatives are "nervous" about Michigan. It rained all day in Detroit and the turnout numbers aren't what the Democrats are used to.

8:30PM
ABC and MSNBC both calling the House of Representatives for the GOP. That's a big disappointment, but the upside is that the partial precincts in Florida show Trump with a 60,000-vote lead, despite the fact that 20% of Palm Beach, 15% of Broward, and 15% of Dade are still un-reported, together with all of (reliably Democratic) Alachua County, where your intrepid columnist lives. Also, Arkansas is being called for Trump. Map to follow.

8:27PM
AP showing Clinton with an "official lead" in all four of North Carolina, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Michigan. This implies that the polls are closed, but there are still people standing in line to vote -- which would make it inappropriate to call the state. But as with 2012, we may consider it highly unlikely that a state which is shown with a "lead" for one candidate, would then subsequently be called for the other one later. And that, folks, would be the 2016 Presidential election. Trump simply cannot win if he loses all four of those states.

8:26PM
Arkansas the only state to close at the bottom of the hour.

8:21PM
MSNBC reporting that Trump is over-performing with union members in Ohio, and that Hillary Clinton has already vastly exceeded Barack Obama's margins in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, at this hour. And you've waited long enough for the first map which, aside from an un-called South Carolina, has no surprises on it so far.



8:14 PM
Thanks for your patience, everyone! We have some news -- both in the positive and the negative. Marco Rubio and Rob Portman appear to be victors in two closely-watched Senate races, and South Carolina (as I predicted earlier today) so far stubbornly refuses to be called for Donald Trump. Map to follow, but I wanted to at least let it be known that I hadn't collided with a pickle truck, or something.
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Things to Watch For (and Not to)!

***Just a quick reminder: I will once again be live-blogging the election returns this evening, but this time around I won't be able to start until roughly 9:00pm because of a teaching commitment.***

 Well, it's official. No, not that. Rather, I've officially given up trying to think about anything else today, regardless of relative personal importance. It's true what the pros say about election day: There isn't really all that much to do except sit around, gossip, fret, and wait. Mercifully that wait is once again almost over. In the meantime, thanks to all who've gotten back on the Cinema Democratica bandwagon: yesterday was our biggest single page-view day, ever -- surpassing even the 2008 live blog -- and I doubt any of this would be nearly as much fun without you all. And none of us, apparently, can stand the suspense.

And so as we all await the results of this at-once-wacky-and-yet-maddeningly-stable election, I thought I would take a few moments of excess nervous energy to share some thoughts about what sorts of tea leaves might make the best reading material before the final calls are in. To my thinking, the "pre-available information," if you will, falls into four categories: red herrings, stubborn and quick-to-fall states, partial precinct data, and demographics. Let's have a quick look at all four, with a word or two about how seriously to take each one. 

Red Herrings
Every election cycle the major polling firms all conduct exit polls, and every year the exit polls turn out to be completely useless. There's a simple reason for this, which is that there's no way to adjust exit polling data to reflect the larger voting cohort: Whomever happens to be emerging from the polling place at a given time, and is willing to be interviewed about it, finds his or her way into the data, regardless of whether he or she proportionally reflects the true mood of the state in question. This is called self-selection bias, and it's an instant deal-breaker as to the reliability of the data in question.

Suppose for example that a college -- even one which shall remain nameless -- decides to abandon the time-perfected practice of conducting student opinion surveys in class, on paper, preferring instead to allow students to elect to participate in the opinion-survey practice entirely on their own. Two things will naturally follow: First, those students who have the strongest opinions about the professor or the class will of course be unscientifically over-represented in the results. Second, since the poll itself is anonymous, there will be no way to weight the results in such a way as to better reflect the opinion of those students' non-responding counterparts.

The most famous example of this problem in electoral politics was election day of 2004, in the afternoon of which staffers for John Kerry confidently predicted that he would win -- basing their confidence entirely on the results of exit polling. More generally the problem seems to be (in part) that patterns of voter turnout over the course of the day are non-randomly distributed across party affiliations, and there just isn't time for the polling firms in question to carry out the sorts of labor-intensive adjustments necessary to correct for this phenomenon before getting scooped. Point being, readers would be well advised to take any news about exit polling with about a 250-pound block of salt.

This year a new source of potential information mischief has waded into the murk, in the form of a series of geek-based efforts to pre-project the outcomes of entire states in full view of the public. Cooler heads will refrain from even clicking through, but it's an open question whether the political commentariat can resist the temptation to meta-cover these scientifically dubious efforts, and the fear on the part of many is that any crack in the mainstream media's traditional embargo on this sort of thing could tip the result somewhere. It would be a fool's errand to ask readers not to patronize the geek-off, but don't let the media stories about it (if any) concern you too much either way, because the reporters in question won't know that they're talking about people who don't know what they're talking about.

Stubborn / Quick-Call States
It's utterly shameless self-promotion to say this, but I consider it no small feather in my cap to have correctly anticipated that Indiana's stubborn refusal to be called in 2008 would set the tone for that historic night for Barack Obama and the Democrats. (And entirely by the way, is it just me or does that moment seem like it happened a hell of a lot less than eight years ago?)

This year the two states to watch are New Hampshire and South Carolina. Both of them close relatively early -- South Carolina at 7:00pm and New Hampshire finishes its staggered closing times at 8:00 --  and any combination other than an immediate call for S.C. and a stubborn lack of resolution to New Hampshire is almost certainly the end of the road for The Orange One. I predict exactly the opposite: that, despite the two weeks' worth of solid media narrative about how tight New Hampshire has become, Secretary Clinton will be called the winner at the first possible second, while South Carolina will be this year's Indiana, just hanging there, and hanging there, and hanging there.

Barack Obama eventually won Indiana in 2008, but it was far from necessary and almost certainly won't happen again. The real point is that an surprise un-called state alters the media coverage disproportionately -- precisely because it's such a surprise. I'm sticking my neck out on this one more than usual, but I honestly think that the combination of a sneaky-high percentage of Hispanics in the Palmetto State, together with Mr. Trump's less than flattering words for George W. Bush, will bring the matter at least to within the margin of error, and set much of the tone of the night for the major anchors.

Partial Precincts
I am not popular company with my closest friends when questions of expertise are at issue: it's a blind spot of mine, owing its origins to a childhood in which no one could correctly pronounce my (very, very easy to pronounce) last name, and which was solidified when I chose economics as my field -- an area of human intellect in which every single drunk asshole at the bar has a self-awarded honorary Ph.D. Point being, I don't do well when I know something, and it's right, and other people won't just take my word for it. The most successful people in the world have all sorts of coping mechanisms for this, and I am forty-seven years old and not about to learn any of them.

How this is relevant in the present context, is that every four years I find myself saying the same thing about the partial-precinct reports that scroll across the bottom of the news channels: as an overall barometer of how the two campaigns are doing statewide, they are utterly, sumptuously, radiantly useless. Yes, precinct reports come in at random, in terms of their distribution across a given state, but that's just the thing: The voters themselves are *not* evenly distributed across that same state. The most notorious case of this leading to some distortions in the public's perception of how things are going was in 2000, when the last precincts to report in Florida were (as they always are) from the deep-blue enclaves of Palm Beach, Broward and Dade Counties. And if you've seen Fahrenheit 9/11, then you don't need me to tell you how this fact was manipulated by Karl Rove to create the appearance that Mr. Bush had won the state before he had.

This being said, partial precincts can shed useful light on the state of a state -- provided that they are viewed against the voter splits in previous elections. If, in Duvall County Florida, for example, Hillary Clinton is running well ahead of where Barack Obama ran in that same part of the state in 2008 or 2012, then -- then -- we know something. Not based on the raw numbers from there, which will almost certainly show Trump with a lead.

Demographics
We're already seeing big indications that the Hispanic portion of this year's vote was badly under-anticipated in the demographic modeling of the major polling firms. Hispanics (and by the way, women too), are turning out in larger numbers than anyone expected, and if this trend continues it will spell a very bad night for the GOP. So as you follow the news -- including here -- pay special attention to any apparent surprises vis-a-vis the makeup of the electorate (if the non-affiliated electorate in Florida continue to include an outsized proportion of Hispanic voters, for example).    

Well, that's it. At this point, all of us have done what we could, and all that's left is to wait, and enjoy the live-blog. Thanks again for following these pages, and if you haven't done so already -- for God's sake, *VOTE*!

Dave O'Gorman
Associate Professor of Economics
Santa Fe College
Gainesville, Florida


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Monday, November 7, 2016

The States to Watch are Not the Ones You Might Think

First, a bit of light housekeeping: As in 2008 and 2012, I will once again be live-blogging the election returns as they come in tomorrow evening -- with a big caveat: I have a teaching obligation that doesn't permit me to begin until roughly nine o'clock on the east coast. But I promise to be here as soon as possible, and to get caught up as quickly as I can.

Second, with all the kerfuffle about whether the race is tightening, or stabilizing, or tightening only in the battlegrounds, or not, I thought it might be an idea to point out that little has changed about the structural underpinnings of this election: Donald Trump didn't really have a plausible path to 270 electoral votes in late September, and he doesn't really have a plausible path to 270 electoral votes, now.

To emphasize this point, I want to take a moment to imagine a scenario in which, late tomorrow night, we all find ourselves unable to call any of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, *or* New Hampshire. (These are the states that have consistently been listed as the most likely tipping points for the 2016 contest, in some combination.) I know this scenario would require an odd set of circumstances, but just play along while I spring the punch-line on you:

As long as Secretary Clinton holds Michigan and Pennsylvania, and consolidates her leads in Virginia, Colorado, and Nevada, nothing else actually matters.


...And nothing else actually does.

As far as I can tell, Clinton stands on 274 absolutely solid electoral votes. That is, before any of the supposedly decisive states are even factored into the equation.

Nevada, as it happens, and the positively gob-smacking performance of the Harry Reid machine in securing such a prohibitive early-voting lead for Team Blue, will be the story of things tomorrow night. If it even gets that far, which it may well not, since I think Clinton is going to win in Florida before the polls in Nevada have even closed.

I'm a homer, so I also think Clinton's vaunted ground game is going to make the difference in Ohio (late indications are that her position is improving there), as well as in North Carolina (where the GOTV effort is only being helped by the presence of a polarizing race for US Senate *and* the Governor's Mansion. I also think she'll hold in New Hampshire, as her non-response bias problem with recent polls there fades into the dusty archives of history alongside Director Comey's Fifteen Minutes of Fame. As other commentators have noted elsewhere, a quick blue call for New Hampshire after polls close there will spell a seriously long night in a certain gilded Manhattan penthouse. Mr. Trump, meanwhile, will hang on in two out of Iowa, Arizona, and Georgia, but not the third one -- though at this hour I'll admit that I have no idea which.

Your final map, early Wednesday morning, would thus look (something) like this:


Whether I've got the exact states right is (semi-obviously) beside the point of this column, and also of this election: Barring something genuinely unforeseen in any of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado, or Michigan -- and assuming Jon Ralston isn't wrong about Nevada in a way he's never been wrong before about anything in his life -- we will all wake up two mornings from now to the first female President-elect in our nation's history. Eventually to succeed the first black President in our nation's history, next January.

And in this white man's opinion, it will be about, freaking, time


Dave O'Gorman
Associate Professor of Economics
Santa Fe College
Gainesville, Florida
 
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Cinema Democratica Exclusive: Conversation With Ohio

With the early-voting data out of Florida and Nevada so encouraging for Team Blue, your faithful correspondent turned his sights to trying to get a better handle on what's happening in Ohio. As luck would have it, a seasoned political reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Andrew J Tobias, was gracious enough to take time from his impossibly hectic schedule to talk with CinemaDemocratica on the record about where things stand in the Buckeye state, and to bandy some possible theories as to why. Links for following Mr. Tobias on social media are provided at the conclusion of this column.

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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sorry, Donald (and Nate): Any Polling Error Will Favor Clinton

For much of this last Sunday before election day, I grappled with the challenge of how to write -- and then stagger -- two separate blog columns. (#whitepeopleproblems.) The first of these two hypothetical columns was supposed to be a summary of where things stand with respect to early voting; the second one was supposed to be a friend-of-the-court brief regarding the geek war between the editors of the Huffington Post, and Nate Silver. And it's no small testimony to the sloppy file structures inside my head that it took until late this afternoon for me to realize that these had actually been the same column, all along.

Unless you've been vacationing on Neptune, you probably know by now that most of the leading polling firms have shown a marked tightening of the electoral horse race between Trump and Clinton -- presumably in response to the October cudgel delivered to Trump campaign HQ on a silver platter by the Director of the FBI. Timed to inflict maximum political damage, Director Comey's letter to Congress about his re-opening of the Clinton/email investigation was released at the precise moment that early voting began in many of the most crucial battleground states.

The effect has been to dramatically alter both the complexion and the media narrative of the race: from one in which Clinton was as inevitable as any Presidential candidate since Nixon's reelection bid in '72, to one in which literally anything could happen and probably would. But a funny thing happened along the way to Comey's role in upending the fate of the world: In terms of the actual dynamics of the race, there seems to have been much less impact than the polling data might otherwise suggest. The polls are, with apologies to Mitt Romney's supporters from 2012, genuinely and provably missing the drift of this thing, this time -- and Secretary Clinton is the direct and ubiquitous beneficiary of their collective mistake. This is an unusually long column even by my standards, so I hope you'll bear with me.

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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Don't Kid Yourself; Hillary Clinton is in Trouble (But Still Leads)

If you've been anything more than a one-time-casual reader of these pages, you're almost certainly a progressive who -- grudgingly or otherwise -- supports Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in this year's Presidential Election. And like me you're probably troubled on more than one level by the FBI's October bombshell, and you're probably worried about the possibility that the bombshell could actually explode the election and deliver a most improbable victory to Donald Trump. Well, the point of today's column is that you'd be absolutely right: This is no time to shrug these latest twists off -- but neither is it time to panic. Yet.


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Monday, October 24, 2016

The Most Effective Campaign Commercial of All Time

For whatever reason the internet loves hyperbole -- particularly of the sort that ignores all but the last eighteen months in the sweep of human history. I had this pointed out to me in 2002 by a smart colleague at my workplace, recounting the tale of a student of his who had just uploaded an essay entitled "The Twenty Greatest Blu-Ray Movies of All Time," and who then refused to see the irony of same when my colleague patiently tried to point it out to him. We all do this, now: Things change so much faster than they used to that we forget how recent the distant-seeming stuff really is.

So forgive me while I chew some precious bandwidth to make the argument that Hillary Clinton's latest one-minute spot, "Captain Khan," is very probably -- and will very probably be remembered for a long time as -- the single most devastatingly effective political advertisement, ever.

But first do yourself the honor of watching it again, because it's worth it.

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