Clinton 232
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Trump 306
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Click for Senate
Dem 48
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GOP 52
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  • Strongly Dem (182)
  • Likely Dem (18)
  • Barely Dem (33)
  • Exactly tied (0)
  • Barely GOP (90)
  • Likely GOP (45)
  • Strongly GOP (170)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
New polls: (None)
Dem pickups vs. 2012: (None)
GOP pickups vs. 2012: FL IA MI OH PA WI

What Clinton Did Wrong

The Washington Post has an article discussing fatal errors Hillary Clinton made that probably cost her the presidency. First, Clinton took several states, especially Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, for granted. She didn't even poll Michigan until a few days before the election. Upon discovering it was a virtual tie, her superPAC poured millions into the Wolverine State, but by then it was too late. She didn't even set foot in Wisconsin. Her arrogance about carrying the Rust Belt without any work or effort ultimately did her in. It was especially stupid, because Donald Trump said loud and clear that his strategy was focused on winning the Rust Belt. She should have been smart enough to at least poll there to see how well he was doing. By the time she knew, it was all over.

Second, her main strategic approaches were (1) attack Trump, (2) attack Trump, and (3) attack Trump. It was a bad idea and she should have known better. The remarkable campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the primaries should have told her that the electorate was looking for change. While she couldn't transform herself into an outsider, she could have picked a few issues that resonated (e.g., jobs) and hammered on them endlessly. She never gave anyone a reason to vote for her other than she wasn't Trump.

Third, she got too greedy and wasted resources in places like Arizona and Georgia, which were not necessary for victory. They were better employed in North Carolina and Florida, which were much more crucial. In the end she lost them all.

Fourth, when she finally did realize that the Midwest was a problem, her message was all wrong. She emphasized Trump's attacks on a disabled reporter. She should have talked exclusively about her plan to spend a trillion dollars to renew America's infrastructure and create millions of jobs in the process. That would have gone over very well in states hit by job loss.

Fifth, she did very little to rev up her base. They already knew that Trump was an ogre. She didn't have to tell them that. She should have given them something to look forward to when she was inaugurated, other than a sigh of relief that it wasn't Trump. Remember the theme of Obama's first campaign: Hope.

Finally, she spent a lot of effort trying to tell Republican voters that it was OK to vote for a Democrat this one time, due to extraordinary circumstances. It was a mistake. Trump held his base quite well. Elections nowadays are about getting your own base to the polls.

The bottom line here is that trying to win over Republicans was a fool's errand. It couldn't be done, and especially not with a candidate as disliked by Republicans as Clinton. What she could have done—and didn't—is focus mostly on getting her own supporters very excited and to turn out in large numbers. Due to her strategy, 6 million fewer Democrats voted in 2016 than in 2012. If all the 2012 voters had shown up, she would have won the Electoral College as well as the popular vote. (V)

Clinton Blames Defeat on Comey

In contrast to the Washington Post, Hillary Clinton said yesterday that her polling saw her nosedive after FBI Director James Comey announced that he had discovered more of her emails on the laptop of former congressman Anthony Weiner. She then added that his second announcement was even more damaging, since it brought up the issue of her emails on the Sunday before Election Day. There's a bit of denial to this analysis, but also a fair bit of truth. Given how close things were, every little bit matters. And there can be no doubt that Comey's maneuvers hurt Clinton more than just a little bit. So, if he was intending to sink Clinton with his announcements, he did a masterful job. (V)

Infighting within Trump's Inner Circle is Back

Throughout the campaign, Donald Trump's inner circle with rife with infighting, leading to his having three different campaign managers within a space of a few months. According to a report in Politico, the infighting is back. One Republican operative said that everyone has knives out for everyone else. People on the inside said that the pattern now is the same as it was during the primaries, with multiple power centers often giving conflicting directives. With thousands of high-level jobs at stake, a lot of people are looking out only for themselves. In addition, the Washington-based transition team is sometimes at odds with Trump's New York-based inner circle, which includes Trump's adult children. In addition to these two, a third faction headed by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is dealing with outreach to Congress. Sessions is a likely cabinet appointee. (V)

Roger Stone Warns Trump Not to Pick Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff

Nasty trickster Roger Stone warned Donald Trump yesterday not to pick RNC Chairman Reince Priebus as his chief of staff. Stone said that the Republican base would rebel against having Mr. Establishment so close to Trump. Stone went further and said no D.C. insider should serve as chief of staff. Another candidate that Trump is considering is Steve Bannon, the CEO of Breitbart News and the CEO of Trump's campaign. Bannon is a bombthrower, however, and has bitterly attacked Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) in the past. If Trump is going to get legislation through Congress, he is going to need Ryan to do much of the work, and hiring Bannon isn't going to make that any easier. Also, Bannon's history of antisemitic remarks aren't going to play well with Trump's son-in-law and close advisor, Jared Kushner, an orthodox Jew. Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said that an announcement is imminent. Given that the Republican Party is badly split between the base and the establishment, almost every personnel choice Trump makes is going to anger someone. (V)

Trump Will Lay Off Twitter

It may have gotten him hundreds of millions of dollars in free publicity, but Donald Trump says he does not "love" Twitter, and that while in the White House, "I'm going to be very restrained, if I use it at all, I'm going to be very restrained."

Certainly it is possible that Trump means it, and even that he'll follow through. On the other hand, he has not shown restraint since becoming president-elect, having raised eyebrows with his Twitter blast about "professional protesters" on Wednesday. Further, he's promised to dial down his tweeting before, but had trouble keeping those promises. Also unknown is whether he will keep using his personal account, of if he will shift to the @POTUS account created by Barack Obama. The answer to that question may actually reveal his plans, since the @POTUS tweets are the property of the federal government and are archived by the National Archives, while the @realdonaldtrump presumably would not be. So, we will have to take a wait-and-see approach. (Z)

Trump to Work with Granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen

Marion Le Pen, the granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of the extreme right-wing French National Front party, was invited to work together together with the Trump team. The 26-year-old Le Pen, niece of Marine Le Pen, the current leader of the National Front, is a member of the French parliament. An invitation like this is not going to do much to soothe the nerves of people hoping that Trump turns into a normal Republican politician once he reaches the Oval Office. (V)

What Does History Tell us About Trump? (Part I)

Donald Trump will be the 44th man to serve as President of the United States (though number 45 in the overall count, because Stephen Grover Cleveland was both #22 and #24). Generally, at this point in the process, we might look to the past for some insight, comparing a victorious candidate to the presidents to which he seems very similar. However, that doesn't work so well for Donald Trump. People have run campaigns like his—say, William Jennings Bryan in 1896—but none of them have won (well, maybe Andrew Jackson, but that was 200 years ago). People have run for the White House with no political or military experience—say, Wendell Willkie in 1940—but none of them have won. So, there is no clear historical analogue for The Donald. That being the case, let's just compare him to all of the presidents since 1928. Today, we'll do Hoover through Nixon, tomorrow, Ford through Obama.

How was Herbert Hoover (R, 1929-33) like Donald Trump? Hoover was much more a businessman than a politician. A millionaire mining engineer, he did have government service on his resume, but it was entirely in appointed positions, most notably as Secretary of Commerce. At his inauguration, he was given an economy that had been thriving for years, and a Republican-controlled Congress. Amidst this prosperity, Hoover promised to make America even greater, telling the working class that there would be "A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage."

How did it work out? Not so good. The economy went south, as the economy is wont to do after a long period of prosperity, and Hoover was in over his head. The people noted bitterly, "Not only don't we have a chicken—we ain't got the pot." Maybe nobody could have avoided the crisis; certainly, someone with little sense of government and its possibilities couldn't do so. Ergo, it was one and out for Herbie.

How was Frankin Delano Roosevelt (D, 1933-45) like Donald Trump? FDR was a wealthy New Yorker, and was perceived as a lightweight by much of the political establishment. But he had charisma and was a master of a newly emerging mass medium (radio), which he used to great effect to promote himself and his ideas.

How did it work out? Quite well. The New Deal may not have saved the economy, but it did calm domestic tensions, and gave people hope. As he led, FDR continued to make excellent use of his charisma, and of the radio waves that had served him so well while campaigning. His "Fireside Chats," were relatively few in number (30 over 12 years), but they remain the gold standard for a president connecting with the masses.

How was Harry S. Truman (D, 1945-53) like Donald Trump? "Give 'em Hell Harry" was a rabble-rouser with a reputation for being rather vulgar. When music critic Paul Hume dared give Truman's daughter a bad review after her concert, Harry declared, "Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!" (English translation: "I would like to punch you in the face and kick you in the balls.") He had significant connections to the Ku Klux Klan, and his electoral victories were driven by working-class voters, most of whom held racial views that were less-than-enlightened, even by the standards of the day.

How did it work out? Mixed. Truman went against type (and against many of his supporters' wishes) and desegregated the army and the federal government. Unfortunately for him, these moves angered many, as did a little kerfuffle he initiated in the Republic of Korea. Though his bravery and his refreshing honesty earn Truman high marks from historians today, he left office with approval ratings lower than Richard Nixon's.

How was Dwight D. Eisenhower (R, 1953-61) like Donald Trump? Eisenhower was a manager of large numbers of men. He was skilled at seeing the big picture, communicating it to others, and then letting those others do the actual work. Also, he had no hair on the top of his head.

How did it work out? Very well. Ike's CEO-style approach continued when he moved into the White House, where he delegated much of the business of running the government to his very talented Cabinet. Ike even had a serious heart attack in 1955, moved to Pennsylvania for nearly a year, and the government didn't miss a beat (no pun intended). When he left Washington, Republicans across the nation lamented the newly adopted 22nd Amendment, which forbade Eisenhower from running for a third term.

How was John F. Kennedy (D, 1961-63) like Donald Trump? Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and powered to prominence by his father's considerable wealth, Kennedy's substantial charisma was just enough to carry him to a razor-thin victory in the presidential election, where he defeated a Washington insider (Richard Nixon) with close ties to the popular, outgoing administration. The key was JFK's narrow victories in the Rust Belt states of Pennsylvania and Michigan.

How did it work out? Very well, indeed. Kennedy was beloved by the American people (many of them, at least), with his administration being dubbed "Camelot." That said, not all of these comparisons necessarily work well. JFK benefited enormously from his youth and his calm temperament, which Trump—respectively—definitely does not have, and apparently does not have. If Lloyd Bentsen were still alive, he would surely tell Trump: "I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Donald, you're no Jack Kennedy."

How was Lyndon B. Johnson (D, 1963-69) like Donald Trump? Johnson was a wheeler-dealer par excellence, and would bulldoze those who showed any sign of weakness. He put even Harry S. Truman to shame with his crude behavior; for example, LBJ was notorious for inviting visitors into the bathroom while he did his business, knowing that it would embarrass and weaken them. Like Trump, Johnson liked to brag about the size of, well...his Johnson. On one occasion, he was speaking to a reporter, and unzipped so that he might relieve himself on one of the bushes located on the LBJ Ranch. The reporter warned the president to be careful of rattlesnakes; Johnson's retort: "Hell, son, it's part rattlesnake."

How did it work out? Not so well. Johnson had a lot of successes in the early years of his term, but the social unrest triggered by the Civil Rights movement, Black Power, feminism, and particularly the Vietnam War plunged much of the nation into chaos and violence and derailed his presidency. Since the adoption of the 22nd Amendment, he is the only sitting president who could have run for another term and declined to do so.

How was Richard Nixon (R, 1969-74) like Donald Trump? Nixon had some concerning ethical questions when he ran, many of them dating back decades and involving potential financial improprieties. He won the White House nonetheless, by catering (pandering?) to angry, white voters, and was a particularly skilled user of dog whistles.

How did it work out? Poorly. Like Truman before him, Nixon went against type and pursued an agenda that would be positively Democratic today. This included environmental protections, aid for Native Americans, a progressive policy on drug addiction, and (eventually) ending the ongoing Vietnam War. Tricky Dick's early successes powered him to a massive victory in his 1972 re-election bid. However, his corrupt nature also revealed itself (again) during that election, in the form of the Watergate burglary. A minor news story at first, it snowballed faster than an e-mail server, and forced him to resign the presidency less than two years into his second term. Had he not resigned, he would unquestionably have been impeached, convicted, removed, and possibly imprisoned.

So, there you have presidents 31 through 37. 38 through 44 will come on Monday. (Z)

Five Reasons Hillary Clinton Will Not Be Prosecuted

Law professor Steve Vladeck, writing for CNN, believes Hillary Clinton will not be convicted of any crime in relation to her infamous e-mail server. He gives five reasons; here they are:

  • The Law: As has been noted many times this election season, is not criminal for a government employee to be careless with classified information. To violate the law, there has to be an intent to share information with those who should not have it. And there is no evidence or suggestion that Clinton intended to reveal America's state secrets.

  • The Justice Department: Though the top level of the Justice Department will be composed of Trump appointees, most employees there are career government lawyers. They are likely to push back against a prosecution that is not supported by law, and has obvious political overtones. Trump could try to do an end run around the career lawyers by asking for the appointment of a special prosecutor, but that is typically only done in cases where a conflict of interest exists within the Justice Department.

  • The Grand Jury: Even if the Justice Department agrees that charges be brought, an indictment would have to be returned by a grand jury. While the standard of judgment here is pretty low—"probable cause" for believing the accused's guilt—the case against Clinton appears weak enough that they would likely decline to indict.

  • The Court: If all these other barriers are somehow overcome, the case would come before a federal judge with a lifetime appointment, who would have the power to toss out the indictment at his or her discretion. If the trial was allowed to go forward, then a jury of 12 of Clinton's peers would have to unanimously vote to find her guilty.

  • The Precedent: Pursuing an overtly political court prosecution would open a possible Pandora's Box, in which defeated partisans on either side could find themselves subject to spurious prosecutions. That alone would, hopefully, give Trump and the Republicans pause.

So, the hurdles to a successful prosecution are quite large. And Vladeck does not even touch upon a sixth major issue: The Politics. If Trump were to try and prosecute Clinton, tens of millions of voters would be very unhappy, regardless of the result. And if he were to fail, a different group of tens of millions of voters would be very unhappy, as The Donald would be left with egg on his face. So, this seems like an idea that will quietly fade away. On the other hand, just about every prediction made about Donald Trump this year has been wrong, so who knows? (Z)

Trump Might Be Impeached

The professor whose model correctly forecast a Donald Trump victory this year has another prediction: Trump will be impeached. This prediction is not based on his model, but on his observation that many House Republicans detest Trump, and are strongly supportive of vice president-elect Mike Pence. By impeaching and convicting Trump, they would get a very conservative and predictable president they know well from the 12 years he served as a House member from Indiana. Of course, a president can only be impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanors." When former House minority leader and later president Jerry Ford was asked by a reporter what that meant exactly, he said it was whatever 218 members of the House thought it meant. In other words, the House could impeach Trump for any real or imagined misdeed, just to get him out of the way and get Pence into the White House. That is a maneuver that should go over well with all the anti-Washington "burn it all down" types that voted for Trump. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Nov12 Another Take on Why Trump Won
Nov12 Trump Won White Women
Nov12 Breaking Out of the Bubble
Nov12 Whither the Electoral College?
Nov12 Christie Out, Pence In as Transition Chief
Nov12 The Map that Should Have the GOP Nervous
Nov12 Trump Open to Keeping Parts of the Affordable Care Act
Nov12 Facebook Under Scrutiny
Nov11 Democrats Lost Because Democrats Didn't Vote
Nov11 Was the Trump Voter Motivated by Economics or by Racism
Nov11 Other Key Findings from the Exit Polls
Nov11 Things Are Turning Ugly
Nov11 Classes, Exams Canceled on Wednesday
Nov11 Did Hillary Clinton Have a 98% Chance of Winning?
Nov11 President Ryan?
Nov10 Exit Polls Reveal a Deeply Divided Nation
Nov10 Third Parties Had a Huge Effect on the Election
Nov10 What Went Wrong?
Nov10 Trump's Business Conflicts Present Some Serious Issues
Nov10 Preliminary List of Trump Cabinet Officials Leaks
Nov10 Maggie Hassan Defeats Kelly Ayotte
Nov10 Democrats Have No Leader and No Direction
Nov10 Jihadists Happy About Trump's Win
Nov10 U.S. Elects LGBT Governor for the First Time
Nov09 Possible Electoral Vote: Trump 310, Clinton 228
Nov09 Popular Vote Is Very Close
Nov09 What Happens Next?
Nov09 How Did This Happen?
Nov09 How Does This Result Affect 2018?
Nov09 Election Postmortem, Take One
Nov08 Live Blogging Will Begin this Evening around 6:30 PM EST
Nov08 Our Prediction: Clinton Will Win
Nov08 Clinton Leads in Eight of Nine New National Polls
Nov08 Latino Vote Is Surging
Nov08 Justice Department to Monitor Polls in 28 States
Nov08 Candidates' Final Day Is Hectic
Nov08 Democrats Vote Early
Nov08 Americans Don't Think the Election Is Rigged
Nov08 Supreme Court Declines to Overturn Appeals Court on Voter Intimidation Order in Ohio
Nov08 Obama Campaigns in Michigan for Clinton
Nov08 Stock Market Zooms Up
Nov08 Clinton Draws First Blood
Nov08 Final Senate Update
Nov08 Will Republicans Really Obstruct SCOTUS Nominee?
Nov08 Will Trump's Movement Outlast Him?
Nov07 Comey: After Reviewing New Emails, Clinton Will Not Be Charged
Nov07 Clinton Continues to Lead in the Electoral College
Nov07 National Polls Give Clinton a Small Lead
Nov07 Prediction Models Agree that Clinton Will Beat Trump
Nov07 Betting Markets Say Clinton Will Win