Several weeks ago, I began a look at the electoral map by region and/or state. It concluded yesterday with Florida. In the intervening weeks, there have been changes based on events that have taken place which would seem to indicate a closer race than expected. This would then have a ripple effect on Senate races. In that series of articles, I predicted that Clinton won the presidency with 294 electoral votes and that the GOP would lose control of the Senate 52-48. In addition, the GOP would lose 16 seats in the House.
With regards to the presidential race first, based on recent polling and trends, I am predicting that Clinton will win 279-259 with the difference being North Carolina who I predict will break for Trump. This is a very close final margin and if Trump could flip Nevada and New Hampshire- assuming he takes North Carolina, Florida, Ohio and Iowa- then we have history: a 269-269 tie. New Hampshire is early in the night; Nevada much later. Of course, if Clinton takes North Carolina or Florida or Ohio earlier in the night, it’s lights out for Trump. Trump’s best path to the White House is an electoral tie. The other option- taking all the aforementioned states plus one of either Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania would give him a victory outright. I do not see him winning any of those states.
As Trump’s fortunes have improved somewhat, so have those of GOP candidates in the Senate. I still predict an overall loss and some tight races. As for those changes, I stand by my prediction that Mark Kirk is done in Illinois. If we believe the polls, Todd Young is now tied with Evan Bayh in Indiana. I just cannot fathom Indiana sending two Democratic Senators to Washington, hence I am adjusting my prediction and saying Todd Young will pull off an upset here.
My prediction in Missouri was primarily predicated upon the propensity of voters there to split their ticket. Assuming Trump wins the state, I believe that will still happen and Jason Kander- a Democrat who may be best suited for Missouri- will win over Roy Blunt in an anti-incumbent wave. Despite Ron Johnson’s recent gains against Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, I expect the Democrat to regain his seat.
In all, I am predicting a three seat loss in the Senate for the GOP which would keep them in control. Although some races may have changed in the House, I am still predicting a 16-seat GOP loss.
As for the House, obviously Paul Ryan will have to deal with a smaller GOP majority. As it stands now, his biggest opposition is the House Freedom Caucus which represents 14.6% of the total Republicans in the House. Of the 36 members of this caucus, it appears that the following will be missing come January- Rod Blum of Iowa, John Fleming of Louisiana, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, and Marlin Stutzman of Indiana. Assuming nobody takes their place and the GOP loses 16 seats, that would put the Freedom Caucus membership at 13.5% of the total Republicans in the House. Of course, Garrett and Blum can win reelection, but it would not be a major change from the current alignment. This also does not take into account potential new members. Do 13.5% of the GOP caucus, or 7.1% of the total House members have enough clout to thwart Paul Ryan? That will be a huge question going forward.
Win or lose, it is safe to say that Reince Priebus will be out as head of the RNC. A Trump loss will be blamed on Priebus and a win will lead to Trump essentially picking the next chairman. Several names are in the mix- too numerous to mention here. However, the choice of someone like Carly Fiorina would send a serious signal to the Trumpbots that they had their day and they failed.
Either way, American politics may never be the same. Donald Trump violated so many rules along the way that they are now obsolete. Even coming close may prove that all those admonitions about GOTV campaigns, voter databases, etc. meant nothing this year. This was a bizarre reality television campaign where all those usual cries about outside spending and the importance of big donors fell by the wayside. The biggest winners may be the Koch brothers who sat out the presidential sweepstakes proving that the GOP is not their puppet. But can the Democratic Party say the same about George Soros?
We may wake up on Wednesday morning knowing that whoever wins the election will face a severely divided country with extreme feelings on both sides. A President Clinton or a President Trump has an unenviable job of healing those rifts. The prognosis is not good. Perhaps the best thing we can say about this election is that whoever wins will have an extremely difficult time come 2020. Let the speculation begin.