A landslide victory for the Republican Party
On election night, 538 Electoral College votes, 34 Senate seats, 435 House seats, 12 governors’ mansions, 10 attorney general races, 1,212 state senate seats, 4,711 state house seats and 162 statewide ballot measures in 35 states were in play across the United States.
Inflection point, pivot, disruption—call it what you will—last night’s results defied the odds, defied the polls, and laid bare the stark divide in the American electorate. Donald J. Trump went all in to claim the mantle of outsider, change agent, and people’s champion, and was rewarded with a commanding electoral college victory. Just over two months from now, he will be sworn in as America’s 45th President with a mandate for change—although the contours of that change remain unsettled.
As Winston Churchill once remarked, “it is easier to break crockery than to mend it,” and with Secretary Hillary Clinton still leading in the popular vote totals, while losing the electoral college, the divide in the American body politic will remain. President-elect Trump will have Republican majorities in both the US House and Senate, and the demands of the electorate for early legislative action is unmistakable.
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US Election Insight 2016 offers a detailed analysis of the key races, themes and impacts of last night’s historic elections. It looks at the policy priorities of President-Elect Trump and his potential team. It also profiles the new leaders and priorities that will form the contours of the 115th Congress, and examines issues that will be seen at the state level.
The Trump Card Triumph
Donald Trump significantly outperformed his standing in most public opinion polling, crashing through Hillary Clinton’s supposed Rust Belt “firewall” to win key battleground states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. With Arizona, Michigan, and New Hampshire all deemed “too close to call”as of Wednesday morning, Trump has 279 electoral votes to Clinton’s 218. Clinton called Trump to concede early Wednesday morning. Although Trump has won the electoral college, many are reporting that Clinton won the popular vote, with a recorded 59,390,851 votes to Trump’s 59,215,097 with 98% of the votes reported.
In Congress, Republicans won most of the closely contested Senate races and will hold a narrow majority in the 115th Congress. Republicans won close Senate races in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Democrats won a toss-up race in Nevada and defeated a Republican incumbent in Illinois. As of this morning, New Hampshire has been deemed “to close to call.” In Louisiana, Republican John Kennedy is heavily favored in a Dec. 10 runoff against Democrat Foster Campbell. In the House, Democrats managed to flip five seats as of this morning, but the GOP will maintain a large majority in the lower chamber.
With the dust still settling after a surprising election outcome, the outlook for lame duck remains uncertain. Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell are surveying their caucuses, coordinating with the Trump transition team to determine the scope and length of lame duck. With a number of policies in the “must pass” category, including fiscal year 2017 spending bills and the National Defense Authorization Act, and others in the “wanting to pass” including 21st Century Cures and Mental Health Reform, a framework exists for Congress to get unfinished work completed.
Here is the bottom line: Tempering that perspective is the reality that Republicans will control both chambers and the White House in January and many will push to have a limited lame duck, empowering Republicans to put their party’s stamp on many of these bills.