The mist is lifting from the map of the United States and the moment of clarity for the 2016 general election campaign has arrived. Yes, there is still uncertainty about some states in the Electoral College. But nearly all of it comes in states that Mitt Romney won in 2012 or a couple of Barack Obama states that Hillary Clinton doesn’t need to win.
In the broad sweep of U.S. history, very occasionally one of the major parties simply disqualifies itself from the contest to win the White House by nominating an unelectable, non-mainstream candidate. We suspect that there will never be a better example than Donald Trump. The Republican Party chose a deeply divisive figure — one not supported by many senior figures in the GOP even before the release of Trump’s raunchy 2005 discussion with Access Hollywood ’s (and now The Today Show ’s) superficial, celebrity-worshipping Billy Bush. (Yes, he is of the Bush family, so a Bush finally speared Trump, however unintentionally.) Their X-rated discussion, and Trump’s insistence on discussing Bill Clinton’s sordid past, has caused voters to usher children out of the room when the TV news comes on. Is this the most embarrassing campaign ever? It must be close.
As we await the second debate, it’s obvious that Hillary Clinton got a bounce from the first debate and has re-established a clear lead in the presidential race.
The first debate is over! At least everyone survived.
To slightly modify Ronald Reagan’s famous rejoinder to Jimmy Carter in their single debate in 1980 (“There you go again”), here we go again — into the debate season.
There has been at least one televised presidential debate every four years for four decades now. The streak began in 1976. Every four years, the debates seem very important. Whether they are or not is open to, ahem, debate.
And then, everything changed.
Well, not everything, but enough to generate the first major revision in our electoral map, and all of it is in Donald Trump’s direction for now .
Every presidential election is different, but nobody’s going to tell us that this one isn’t notably different from any other in the modern period.
They aren’t getting much national attention because of the races for the presidency and Congress, but this year’s gubernatorial contests seem to be just as confounding as the ones from 2014 — and they could produce some equally head-scratching results.
It seems like only yesterday when the Republicans took over the U.S. Senate. Actually, nearly two years have passed since that big moment, when the GOP gained nine seats and took a 54-46 majority (including two independents who caucus with the Democrats) after eight years of Democratic control.
New Hampshire may just have four electoral votes, but it’s important. If you doubt it, just ask any Granite State citizens, and they’ll tell you about their first-in-the-nation primary. Even that quartet of electoral votes can matter; in 2000, if Al Gore had just won them (and without Ralph Nader on the ballot, he probably would have), Gore would have been president even without Florida. He didn’t and he wasn’t.