10 min read

Wake Up To Politics - November 8, 2016

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

ZERO DAYS (!!!!) until Election Day 2016 + my 15th birthdayI'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!

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From the Editor's Desk

  • Take a deep breath, America: we've finally made it. Election Day is here. It truly has been a long campaign. In fact, I did a search through the Wake Up To Politics archives - and found that I began the countdown to the 2016 election (which runs at the top of every newsletter) on October 28, 2013. On that day, the countdown stood at 1,107 days. Today, we are at zero - and I have barely missed a day since (although I promise to wait a little bit before putting up the 2020 countdown!)
  • Together, we've journeyed through a lot of twists and turns this election season. This has truly been one of the strangest and least predictable cycles we have ever seen, which has made it at times frustrating but also very excited to cover.
  • Personally, this election cycle has been a big one. Before the first votes were even cast, I traveled twice to Iowa: for a Democratic debate (which was almost exactly a year ago) and a Republican debate. I've attended rallies held by a number of the candidates. I've interviewed Greenn Party nominee Jill Stein, as well as primary candidates like Martin O'Malley, Ben Carson, and Rand Paul, among others. And, almost every morning, I've woken up before 6:00 to attempt to share the day's news with you. I hope I have been informing and helpful in getting you through the election. I know the notes that I have received from many of you throughout the past months have helped me get through it.
  • So, to end this cycle which was momentous for America and for me personally, perhaps it is fitting that today is my 15th birthday, as many of you know. In lieu of sending gifts to WUTP's headquarters, my final patriotic plea to you is: GO VOTE! Read today's newsletter first, of course, but then (if you haven't already), make your voice heard and cast a ballot. You don't have to vote for every office, but it is important that you vote for at least some of them. Truly, the continuation of our democracy - whether we can "keep the republic," as Ben Franklin famously said, depends on it.
  • Election Day is always a special day for me. I'm always filled the entire day with a huge sense of excitement and patriotism (which may or may not last through my biology test later today). In a lot of ways, I believe that after all of the fighting and nastiness the previous months may have brought, Election Day is a time to come together united as a nation, as we vote, watch returns, and then move on together, no matter what the results are (I, of course, will only be participating in two of those three actions).
  • Finally, I will be live-tweeting as results flood in tonight. Follow me (@WakeUp2Politics) on Twitter to stay tuned throughout the night. And, since it is my birthday and all: why not also like me at facebook.com/WakeUpToPolitics and send the link to wakeuptopolitics.com to a few friends. I definitely plan on continuing the newsletter from November 9th on, and you don't what your friends, relatives, and co-workers to miss out on the WUTP Results Issue, do you?
  • I can't believe we finally made it...now here is the Final Newsletter of the 2016 Election:

Election Central

  • Welcome to Election Day! Today is a big one: not only is America elected the 45th President and Vice President of the United States, but also 14 governors, 34 U.S. Senators, 435 members of the U.S. House, and countless ballot propositions.
  • With a pair of historic nominees - the first female major party candidate versus the first nominee with an entirely business background, and no political or military experience - the 2016 presidential election is truly one that has been unpredictable. According to polling, however, Hillary Clinton does hold a consistent, if narrow, lead in the race, with the final RealClearPolitics average showing Clinton at 45.5% and Trump at 42.2%, with Libertarian Gary Johnson at 4.7% and Green Party nominee Jill Stein at 1.9%.
  • There is no guarantee that polling will be correct, but most major polls are showing Clinton with some lead, with surveys released Monday ranging from Clinton advantages of 2% (Rasmussen Reports) to 6% (Monmouth), as well as a single IBD/TIPP Tracking poll showing Trump with a 2-point edge.
  • Meanwhile, in the swing states, the race is as close as ever, and in some states trending in the other direction: according to the final RealClearPolitics average of recent polls conducted in each state, Trump holds razor-thin leads in Florida (0.2%), Ohio (3.5%), Maine's 2nd congressional district (0.5%), North Carolina (1%), Georgia (4.8%), Nevada (0.8%), Arizona (4%), and Iowa (6%). Meanwhile, Clinton holds similarly small advantages in Michigan (3.4%), Pennsylvania (1.9%), New Hampshire (0.6%), Virginia (5%), Colorado (2.9%), and New Mexico (5%). In other words: plenty of those states are going to be close, and while the national popular vote may seem trended for Clinton, both candidates have a path to Electoral College victory based on how those states shake out - although, before those tossup states are even put into consideration, most maps show Clinton either just approaching or just ahead of the 270 electoral votes needed, due to a built-in advantage with larger, Democratic strongholds.
  • In their final rallies on Monday, both candidates made final appeals to voters. At late-night rallies that stretched into Tuesday morning, Trump in Grand Rapids and Clinton in Raleigh (and Philadelphia before that), both candidates appeared optimistic of their chances. "Today is our independence day. Today the American working class is going to strike back,” Trump declared in Grand Rapids. Trump seems to have woken up confident as well, tweeting early Tuesday morning: "TODAY WE MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"
  • Meanwhile, President Barack Obama (joining Clinton at her Philadelphia event) told her supporters: “I’m betting that tomorrow you will reject fear and you will choose hope.” That message was echoed in Clinton's remarks, in which she said: "We choose to believe in a hopeful, inclusive, big-hearted America."
  • In addition, while today may be Election Day, records show that over 46 million Americans have already cast their ballots, with record-breaking early voting showing high Hispanic and female turnout, an encouraging sign for Hillary Clinton, as well as heightened Republican turnout, a good sign for Donald Trump. And then, of course, there's the Midnight vote: three small New Hampshire hamlets (Dixville Notch, Hart's Location, and Millsfield) traditionally vote at midnight, right as Election Day began. Trump came out ahead, taking 32 votes in the combined total of those three towns to Clinton's 25.
  • Again, the presidential race is not the only tonight. Control of Congress also hangs in the balance, with Republicans at risk of losing their Senate majority - and potentially, their House majority as well (although the latter is less likely). Important races to watch are in some of the same states as the tossup races presidentially; states that will indicate who will win the battle for control of the Senate include Indiana (Democrat Evan Bayh vs. Republican Todd Young), North Carolina (Democrat Deborah Ross vs. Republican Richard Burr), Illinois (Democrat Tammy Duckworth vs. Republican Mark Kirk), New Hampshire (Democrat Maggie Hassan vs. Republican Kelly Ayotte) and Missouri (Democrat Jason Kander vs. Republican Roy Blunt). It is difficult to know which party holds the upper hand; while many have assumed for months that Democrats have the advantage to regain control fo the Senate, recent polling has showed incumbents like Rob Portman (OH), Marco Rubio (FL), John McCain (AZ), and Ron Johnson (WI) performing better
  • The GOP House majority seems mostly safe, especially after FBI Director James Comey's letter to Congress reactivating the Clinton email investigation (which has now been closed again) caused Democratic poll numbers to take a hit down the ballot. While Democrats need to gain five seats to win the Senate gavel (four if Tim Kaine is elected to act as tie-breaker), 32 seats would be needed to hand Nancy Pelosi the Speakership. Many only expect Democrats to pick up about half as many as the needed seats, or even a few less.
  • However, opposition to Trump among Republicans and Independents may give Democrats opportunties to knock off a number of GOP incumbents, including John Mica (CA), Darrell Issa (CA), Bob Dold (IL), Scott Garrett (NJ), and Rod Blum (IA).
  • Viewing Guide Of course, Wake Up To Politics will be featuring all the results you need to know in special issues on Wednesday and Thursday - however, you also may want to join me in excitedly watch them as they come in tonight (if you can). Most every news network will be airing live results; even a number of newspapers are streaming coverage online through Facebook Live, including The Washignton Post and The New York Times. In addition, Twitter is streaming BuzzFeed's coverage at election.twitter.com. Both major-party nominees will be watching election results from New York City: Hillary Clinton at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Donald Trump at the New York Hilton Midtown.
  • When will YOU really want to tune in? Nothing will be called until 7pm Eastern Time, when polls close in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia. Of these, Georgia and Virginia are somewhat competitive, although they are led pretty comfortably by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, respectively.
  • A half-hour later, polls will close in North Carolina and Ohio: two states featuring close presidential, Senate, and gubernatorial races, where calls likely won't be made for hours.
  • By 8pm Eastern Time, polls in 17 states will be closed. The key states to watch at this hour will be the hotly contested prize of Florida, as well as New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. All three also have competitive Senate races, as do Missouri and Illinois (closing at 8pm as well). In addition, Maine's polls will close at this time, giving an indication of how its conservative 2nd district will vote (Maine is one of two states that awards some electoral votes by congressional district; Trump has targeted the 2nd district, attempting to pick up a single electoral vote in an otherwise-blue state.)
  • At 8:30pm, polls close in Arkansas, Bill Clinton's home state, tonight expected to easily vote for Trump and not his wife. At 9pm, polls close in competitive states like Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, and Wisconsin, many of which are trending blue but will likely be necessary for either candidate to win tonight. There are also a number of red states (Teas, Kansas, Louisiana, the Dakotas, and Wyoming) closing now, as well as deep-blue New York (the major-party nominees' shared home states), and Nebraska (the other state with congressional district allocation; Clinton has a shot at the state's 2nd district.)
  • Then, at 10pm Eastern Time: polls in Iowa, Montana, Nevada, and Utah all close. Iowa and Nevada will be hotly contested; final polling both show them leaning in Trump's direction, the former much more than the latter. In addition, Utah will be fascinating to watch, with Independent candidate Evan McMullin attempting to pull off a long-shot win, denying Clinton or Trump six electoral votes. Polls show McMullin running close behind Trump in the deep-red state, highly populated with Mormons who dislike the GOP nominee.
  • 11pm: California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington end voting. If Hillary Clinton is having a good night, this could be the moment she clinches the presidency. If a number of battleground states remain too close to call when these Democratic strongholds are announced for her, then it may just boost her closer to 270.
  • Finally, Alaska is the last state where polls will close, at 1am Eastern Time. Who know's where we'll be by then, although it is likely that the races for the White House and Senate will be wrapped up, although it may be later until all the House races are called. By this moment, we may well have a victory speech from a new Commander-in-Chief, and (maybe?) a concession speech from the runner-up as well.

Go. Vote.

  • Right now is kind of the calm before the storm: not much breaking news for a few hours, and then it will all hit us tonight. So today's newsletter I kept pretty concise, since there will be PLENTY to report tomorrow morning.
  • At this moment, the most important thing is that (if you haven't already) you GO VOTE. Not sure where to go? Simply search "vote" in Google, select your state, and find your polling place. It doesn't matter (to me, at least) who you vote for, but I really hope that all of my readers do cast a ballot. If you're not influenced to do it for any civic reasons, then at least consider it a birthday present to yours truly!

Have a great Election Day! I'll be back in your inbox bright and early tomorrow morning, helping you make sense of the returns.

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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation", St. Louis Public Radio, the Political Junkie podcast, and on StoryCorps; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki"; and read about Gabe in Politico, the Washington Post, Independent Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Salon, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light.