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Wake Up To Politics - November 9, 2016

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

71 Days Until Inauguration DayI'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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  • It wasn't suppose to end this way. From the beginning of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump was dismissed by pollsters and pundits, and by the ruling elite in American politics. Up until the polls closed Tuesday, Trump was seen as having an outside shot of beating Hillary Clinton. Then, he won the Presidency.
  • Never having held elected office, Republican Donald J. Trump was chosen as the 45th President of the United States on Tuesday, in a shocking upset over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump managed to do what Republicans have failed at in the most recent national elections. He won Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida: five states that 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney lost. The latter two were expected to be carried by Hillary Clinton for the entire 2016 campaign, up until Tuesday night.
  • With a winner yet to be declared in four states (Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, and New Hampshire), President-elect Trump stands at 279 electoral votes - nine more than the amount needed to win the White House, while Clinton stands 218 electoral votes. Of the key swing states, Clinton has won only Nevada, Colorado, and Virginia, ceding the others. Trump currently leads in Arizona, 50% to 46%; Michigan, 48% to 47%; and New Hampshire, 48% to 47%; Clinton is winning Minnesota, 47% to 45%.
  • At about 2:30am Eastern Time on Wednesday morning, the Associated Press and other news outlets declared Trump the winner of the presidential election, after awarding him victory in both Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The President-elect took the stage at his victory party minutes later, after receiving a concession call from Clinton (who is expected to speak later this morning.)
  • "Now it's time for America to bind the wounds of division...To all Republicans and Democrats and Independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people," Trump said a room of his supporters, striking a conciliatory tone in his acceptance speech. "It's time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me."
  • Trump also spoke about the "incredible and great movement" which ushered him in to office Tuesday against all odds, and promised that "working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream." Trump declared in his address that in his Administration, "Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals."
  • Answering a nation - and a world - wondering how President Trump will act, he opened his remarks by graciously mentioning his vanquished rival after a nasty campaign. "She congratulated us...on our victory, and I congratulated her and her family on a very hard-fought campaign...Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country," he said. "I mean that sincerely."
  • Trump's election cemented a likely Republican takeover of all three branches of government, with the billionaire moving in to the White House on January 20, when he will appoint a nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, who will be confirmed by the Republican Senate. The GOP remains in power in both houses of Congress, after months of speculation that Democrats may be able to win the majority in at least the Senate.
  • With votes still being counted in New Hampshire, and a runoff election needed in Louisiana, Republicans already stand at 51 seats, Democrats a 47. If New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) keeps her seat and Republicans win the December runoff in Louisiana, the party makeover of the Senate will barely change when the new Congress takes office on January 3. After millions of dollars were spent on the Senate elections, only one seat changed parties: Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk (R) was vanquished by Democrat Tammy Duckworth. Control of the House stands at 236 Republican seats to 191 Democratic seats (eight races remain uncalled; a majority is 218). Meanwhile, the Republican Party also dominated in gubernatorial races. After this election, the GOP will hold at least 33 governorships, more than the party has controlled since 1922.
  • So how was Donald Trump able to pull off the impossible and win the White House against all odds? By throwing out everything we thought we knew about politics in America. Trump had his finger on the pulse of America throughout this entire campaign, successfully vocalizing the positions on immigration and trade that are clearly shared by nearly half of America, and realizing the potential for an anti-establishment candidate. Throughout this entire campaign, he was doubted by nearly the entire political world, which failed to recognize these essential truths.
  • How did so many people miss these things? Again, Trump represents a radical shift in all conventional wisdom in electoral politics. For months pounds and pounds of ink have been spilled noting Clinton's far superior ground game and data-driven campaign, her superior fundraising machine, her ad spending, and her consistent leads in public polling. Pundits noted that Trump had done everything you're not supposed to do when running for President: after every bombastic comment, they discounted him. After every time he refused to release his tax returns as all other candidates have done. None of that mattered came Election Day, and it is possible that those metrics will never again be effective in predicting the next President. From the very beginning, on account of his lack of political experience, Trump's candidacy as regarded as a joke. Clearly, that was the opposite view of tens of millions of Americans - a fact that the political elite missed while they were busy discounting him, as he truly built a movement unlike barely anything ever before seen in the country.
  • After every comment Donald Trump made that was said to be offensive towards Hispanics, exit polls show that he outperformed Mitt Romney among Hispanics. Remember the RNC's 2012 autopsy of Romney's list, which declared that the party would need to appeal to Hispanics and soften its position on immigration to win the group over, and that no Republican would win without the group? Wrong. Almost entirely by raising white voter turnout to a level never seen before, Trump managed to blow bast all of that. Not too long ago, it was assumed that states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were Democratic for good: Trump's victory in those states is a seismic shift going forward.
  • Clinton's loss is also being attributed to lower turnout than expected: so far, the turnout recorded is the lowest since the 2000 election, and nearly 10 million votes lower than in 2012. The Democratic nominee also appears to be under performing Barack Obama among African-American voters (by five percentage points) and voters under 30 (by six percentage points), while Independents rejected her and went for Trump, 47% to 42%. In the lead-up to polls closing on Tuesday, Clinton was the universally-assumed winner, but the results trended in Trump's favor from the beginning of the night. The New York Times forecast of the chance of each candidate of winning the presidency showed Hillary Clinton with an 80% chance of victory at the beginning of the night. By 9pm Eastern Time, the chances were split, 50-50. By 10:30pm, the tables had completely turned: Trump had an 88% chance of victory, Clinton a 12% chance.
  • Interestingly, while public polling missed the mark in a number of battleground states, the polls that have shown her winning the national popular vote could still be proved correct. As of this writing, according to the Associated Press (the source for all of these election results), Hillary Clinton leads Trump in the popular vote, 47.6% to 47.5%, a difference of 131,565 votes (out of over 118 million ballots counted). A New York Times analysis of the areas where votes are still be counted shows they are mostly Democratic strongholds like Washington, California, Colorado, and Connecticut, creating the possibility that Trump will win the Electoral College but lose the popular vote (only the fifth time that has occurred in American history).
  • What happens next? No matter the popular vote total, Trump is now the undisputed President-elect of the United States. The billionaire and his staff now move from the Trump for President campaign to the Trump presidential transition: the first step of that transition will take place on Thursday, when President Barack Obama meets with his successor at the White House. Obama has already spoken to the President-elect, congratulating Trump on his victory in what Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway described as a "very nice talk."
  • At 9:30am Eastern Time, Hillary Clinton will address her supporters, formally conceding the race after speaking to her rival hours ago. Then, the transition to the Trump Administration will begin in earnest. Many of the figures who joined Trump on stage at this acceptance speech on Wednesday morning are those who are being discussed for jobs in the new White House: former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, Gen. Mike Flynn, and RNC chairman Reince Priebus. According to an NBC report, Priebus is in the running to become White House Chief of Staff, while Giuliani is being considered as a potential Attorney General and Gen. Flynn is in line to become Defense Secretary or National Security Advisor. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is also under consideration for Secretary of State, according to the report. Trump's choice for these offices and many others will all be announced in the coming days and weeks.
  • The story of this election is still being written. I have to go to school right now, but I still have more to say and more results to write. Stay with Wake Up To Politics in the coming days and months as we continue to make sense of this election, and move into a new presidential administration. Also, thanks for all the birthday wishes!
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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.