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Now Where Were We? – The 2016 Presidential Election

November 13, 2016

376 days ago the Politics department here at MassCommons World Headquarters grudgingly posted its first—and last—piece about the 2016 US presidential election campaign. (And they remain oddly proud of their non-participation in the past year’s political punditry and prognostication.) Let’s see how it held up, shall we?

On Election Day 2016, Clinton will win a narrow but solid victory and become the first female president in US history. 

Well…that’s not looking very good, is it?  You could argue that Clinton won a “narrow but solid victory” in the popular vote—she’ll likely end up with a 2 million vote lead—but presidential elections in the US are decided by the anti-democratic electoral college, and Trump has a “solid victory“there…which, in the end, is all that matters.

Republicans will still control the House of Representatives.  Democrats may (or may not) narrowly retake the Senate.

That’s a bit more accurate. Republicans control the House; Democrats didn’t retake the Senate.

Any of a thousand unexpected and improbable events could reshape the campaign.

Getting warmer.

This is going to be the election campaign equivalent of World War I trench warfare—not because it will be so ugly, but because it won’t move more than a few yards back or forth.

Probably the most accurate statement in the entire post.

Not only did Clinton end up with over 2 million more votes than Trump, Democratic Senate candidates garnered over 6 million more votes than their Republican counterparts. In 2012, Democratic House candidates won a majority of total votes cast but Republicans won a majority of seats; the same may happen this year, once all the ballots are counted.

So Republicans will find themselves with (effectively) unchecked power in all three branches of the federal government (once Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee is confirmed).  And they’ll do so despite strong signs that a small but growing majority of the electorate opposes them.

It won’t be the first time in US history something like that has happened.  The dominance of slave states before the Civil War is the most notable example. The tight grip on national politics held by the Prohibition movement in the 1920s is another.

What it means and where we go from here is the subject of another post (or many).

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