Based on polls, traditional voting behaviors in the states, anticipated closeness of final votes and poll closing times (based on EDT), I asked how late I should stay up on Election night before I know the next President. To avoid any drama, it is going to be Hillary Clinton.
Before 7:00, since polls in Kentucky close at 6:00 and Trump will win Kentucky, the electoral vote count is 8-0 Trump.
Several polls close at 7:00 p.m., but some races in these states will be close, so they will not be called until later in the night, but Trump ends the 7 pm- 8 pm hour with a lead in the electoral vote count, 44-3.
Uh-oh! Lots of polls closing at 8:00 now and many are not surprises. Clinton is starting to catch up with support from Mid-Atlantic States and New England. Heavy turnout in New York delays calling that race. But by 8:30, Trump still leads in the electoral count 95-79.
Only one poll closes at 8:30 and that is Arkansas. Although the race is closer than most thought, the Great Orange One prevails and leads now 101-79.
Trump does surprisingly well with the states closing their polls at 9:00 and leads by 9:30 with a 147-111 lead in the electoral vote count. The Great Negotiator is more than half way to the magic number of 270. Could this be an upset in the making? Still, the GOP has to worry because states like Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina have not yet reported in where we can call the races. The signs are not good for Trump given this delay and Virginia was called for Clinton rather early.
It is now 9:30 and we can call some states. Michigan, where Trump thought his populist rhetoric would resonate, goes for Clinton…ouch!! Finally, New York weighs in and goes for Clinton by double digits. As a result, Hildebeast jumps into the lead in the electoral vote count, 161-152. But it is close and the 10:00 hour looms.
Most people are tuning in to their television sets and on the Internet now. World leaders are engaged in a major prayer meeting crossing their fingers Trump loses. Although Western states go for Trump, all eyes are on Pennsylvania. And true to form, the Keystone State delivers a victory to Shrillary. She still leads in the vote count 181-171, but where the hell are the Ohio results?
Major ouchies!!!! Both Ohio and North Carolina are called at 10:30 with both states going to Clinton. Now we know why it took so long to call North Carolina- a narrow 1 point victory. Ohio, it turns out, was easier for Clinton who now leads 214-171 in the electoral vote count.
As people turn on the 11:00 news which relay the results of local elections, more races are being called. And it is looking bad for Trump when Florida is called for Clinton who pulls off a 2-3 point victory. Missouri, whose polls closed hours ago, narrowly (by 1 point) goes to Trump. And although he performs admirably in Wisconsin, the results are the same- a Clinton victory. By time the 11:00 news goes off, Clinton leads 253-181 needing only 17 more votes. The band starts to heat up at Clinton’s celebration at Trump Towers…he rented it to her.
We’re just waiting for those last polls to close and results to start dribbling in before we can declare this race all but over. We kind of expect California to be late, but we haven’t heard from states like Iowa and Minnesota whose polls closed hours ago. Could they be that close?
Finally, we find that Trump prevails in Arizona by a very slim margin. But when Iowa and Minnesota report Clinton victories, it puts Clinton within 1 electoral vote of the Presidency. And she has California, Nevada, and Hawaii left. It all doesn’t matter because by time midnight rolls around, Clinton wins the Presidency with 275 electoral votes- 201 for Trump at this time. Nevada puts her over the top. Balloons drop from the ceiling at Trump Towers where Hillary is celebrating her victory.
In Mar-a-Lago, Florida where Trump has set up shop, there is nothing but somber silence among his assorted guests which, surprisingly, includes an inebriated Bill Clinton. Finally, the other states weigh in and the final count is 334-204 electoral votes for Clinton.
At 12:15 a.m., Trump, with his weeping family by his side, concedes defeat to Hillary Clinton. Bill has slipped out of Trump’s Florida residence headed for Lolita Island. Trump will be remembered by these words in his concession speech: “Well, when you think about it…what difference does it make?”
Meanwhile in an office miles away, a Senator from Texas calls an ex-Senator from Florida with these words: “Next time, Little Marco, we don’t screw this one up.”
“You got my word, lyin’ Ted…you have my word,” comes the reply.
“That’s what scares me,” says the Senator from Texas.