Sunday, November 6, 2016

Election Predictions

For the first time in my life, I not only have a horse in this race, I will be doing a shitload of praying on election night. It is not hyperbole to say that an awful lot is riding on who wins the White House. I've said all I can regarding who and what Donald Trump is, and yet Hillary Clinton only holds a narrow lead over him going into the last hours of this campaign.

Part of that is her own fault. She is a flawed candidate and there's no denying it. The email server has dogged her from the very start of her campaign, and the way she has handled it has allowed her opponents to have their way with her. The media, though, has been complicit in the way it has treated both candidates, opting for a "fair and balanced" approach, when it was clear to anyone with half a brain that their flaws were not even remotely equivalent. Whatever else you might say about Clinton, she is not a thin-skinned, misogynistic, racist, sociopath with a Napoleonic complex.

So, who's going to win? Let's take it from the top.

The Presidency: After a great deal of hand-wringing, I am ready to pronounce that Hillary Clinton will win the election, though not by the landslide that her supporters were hoping for. The reason should be clear enough. The nation is divided not only along economic lines, but along social and racial lines as well and they will play out prominently Tuesday night.

The way I see it, the states whose populations are mostly white will go to Trump; the states with much more diverse populations will likely go to Clinton. The reason I say likely is because North Carolina might be the exception. While it has a significant black population, there are huge swaths of the state that are about as white as you can get. While Clinton doesn't need it, it wouldn't surprise me if it went Red, especially in light of the fact that the early African American voter turnout is down five points from 2012 when Barack Obama lost the state.

As in past elections, the swing states will decide this one. Clinton will win Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Florida. See a trend? Trump will win New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa and Maine's 2nd district. One caveat regarding Pennsylvania: the tightening of the recent polls is a concern, especially in light of the transit strike in Philadelphia. If Clinton doesn't get the high turnout she needs here, she will lose the state. In that case, guess which state will decide this election? Yep, Florida.

One thing to look for election night: the returns from Ohio. I've said it before, but this state's demographics don't lay out well for Clinton. I still don't understand why she spent as much time there as she did. I expect that Trump should win it somewhere between 4 and 6 points. However, if it's too close to call, it will probably be a good night for her across the map.

Clinton 303, Trump 235

The Senate: What was looking like a slam dunk only a couple months ago, is now a crap shoot at best. The good news is that, thanks to a huge early turnout in Nevada, Democrats will keep Harry Reid's seat. Catherine Cortez Masto will beat Joe Heck. More good news is that Democrats are going to flip three states: Tammy Duckworth over Mark Kirk in Illinois, Russ Feingold over Ron Johnson in Wisconsin and Katie McGinty over Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania.

But that's where the good news may end. Evan Bayh, after taking an early lead in Indiana, is now trailing Todd Young. Dems were hoping to flip this state to help them retake the majority; now they have to look elsewhere. Unfortunately, pickens are looking slim. Kelly Ayotte is leading Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire and Richard Burr has pulled ahead of Deborah Ross in North Carolina. As for Florida, looks like little Marco Rubio is going to keep his seat. He gets another six years to accomplish nothing. And while the race in Missouri has tightened, I still think Roy Blunt will hold off Jason Kander.

I haven't totally given up on Bayh in Indiana. He could pull it out. If he does, Democrats will control the Senate by virtue of winning the presidency. Absent that, Clinton will be looking at both Houses of Congress obstructing her. And you thought this nightmare was ending Tuesday? Fat chance.

And getting back to Ohio, again, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Senate race - and that's putting it kindly - between Rob Portman and Ted Strickland. Portman is currently leading by 16 points in the RCP average, which tells you that either Portman is the greatest senator since Lyndon Johnson, or Strickland is the worst candidate ever to run for office. I'm going with the latter, and that's a sad commentary given that Strickland's the former governor of the state who just happened to lose his reelection bid to John Kasich in the Tea Party wave of 2010. I expect this race to be called ten seconds after the polls close.

Republicans 51, Democrats 49

The House. From the start, Democrats were pipe dreaming thinking they could retake the majority. There just aren't enough "swing" districts to allow for that possibility. The fact is that so long as Republicans hold the majority of state legislatures, they will continue their gerrymandering ways and the House majority will continue to elude Democrats. They'll net maybe eight seats; that's about it.

Republicans 239, Democrats 196

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