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What to Watch on Election Night

Who will win the election? If you haven’t been paying attention lately, well, good for you! But beyond that it’s all about Clinton at this point at the top of the ticket. As Barataria said many times, everything changed with the debates. People may not feel that they like Clinton, but the alternative is horrible in far too many ways. But this is far from what’s up on 8 November.

We also have the Senate, under Republican control with 54 seats going into the election – and 24 of the 34 up this year are held by Republicans, last elected in the big 2010 sweep. And let’s not forget the House, which hardly anyone thinks is in play except … well, Paul Ryan is more than a little nervous.

If you were thinking that election night might be boring with a Clinton landslide in the cards, think again. There is a lot to watch on election night if you know what you are looking for.

"I got this."

“I got this.”

Let’s start at the top simply because it’s far more popular to do so. Nevermind that we live under a system specifically designed to make the President fully accountable to Congress for a moment – the press and the public seem to genuinely believe we have some kind of system akin to a developing nation where the top has nearly unlimited power, including command over the economy.

The short answer here is that with states like Arizona in play, the possibility of a Clinton landslide is considerably greater than a Trump win. The states to watch include Georgia, which hasn’t gone Democrat since 1992, and Texas, which hasn’t gone Democrat since 1964. You can bet it’s really over if these flip – and they might.

We can reasonably expect the name Trump to be synonymous with “Loser” by the end of the night.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) is unlikely to be smiling on the night of 8 November.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) is unlikely to be smiling on the night of 8 November. 

If that’s not interesting enough for you, congratulations! You may have passed High School civics! There is indeed much more, after all.  The Senate is very likely to flip to Democratic control by the end of the night, allbeit far from fillibuster proof in any way. The states that will flip for sure include Illinois, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. But New Hampshire and Indiana are also likely, as is Missouri. The interactive map at fivethirtyeight tells the story better than anyone else, so click on it for details.

Early on, watch New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. If Florida flips we know it’s going to be a long night for Republicans, but Missouri will be the real key.

Then there is the US House. No one really predicts the House will flip to the Democrats, but it is a possibility. Going into this election, the Cook Report estimates that going into this there are 201 safe Republican seats and 177 Democratic ones. That means that of the seats left, Democrats would have to pick up 41 of 57 remaining, a very tall order. This includes 25 seats thought to be likely or lean Republican, where Dems need a solid 10.

Paul Ryan has many regrets about now.  Some are very public.

Paul Ryan has many regrets about now. Some are very public.

We will have some indication if this is even possible early in the evening. Florida has two seats, Districts 02 and 27, the latter including longtime veteran Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. New York 21 and 23 are also possible flips in a Clinton landslide, as are Pennsylvania 06 and Virginia 05. Of these six, the Dems better win three or four to have a chance of taking the House.

Let that decide if you want to stay up until the last seats in play come in from California.

What are the odds of this happening? Realclearpolitics has an average of all the generic congressional polls, which ask people if they are going to vote for a Republican or a Democrat for Congress. The average right now is 46.5 Democrat to 42.1 Republican, a 4.4 point spread. It’s unclear where this has to be with gerrymandering to put the House in play, but most experts agree that it’s at least 5 points. Given the ten point undecided/other vote shown in these polls, it’s entirely possible the Democrats could work magic.

But we really won’t know until election night. Watch those six seats in Eastern Time Zone if you want to follow this. There is really nothing else that makes sense at this point.

So who is going to win? The American People, of course! But if you want to leave aside the rah-rah of civics for a moment we can see that 8 November is very likely to be a good night to be a Democrat. It comes down to just how good it will be.

Without the House, a Clinton landslide is not as significant as it may sound. But there is a chance that this may be the moment that the US really does change. We know what to watch.

16 thoughts on “What to Watch on Election Night

  1. There is no way the US House will flip but it might be close. Trump is not likely to affect Republicans downballot plus voters have shown in the past that they like a divided government.

  2. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Once again Barataria writer Erik Hare has done it sooner and better than I could have, so I am re-blogging his excellent assessment of what to look for on November 8th. His analysis of not only the presidential race, but also the equally important Senate and House races is spot on, so please take a few minutes to read his post … I think you will be glad you did! Thank you, Erik, for the post and implicit permission to re-blog!

  3. Dear Erik Hare,

    I do want a big win to where the republicans are scared into working across party lines to finally get things done.

    I want government to work effectively with accountability. And I don’t want to read another story like the NY Times’ report that the EPA had been informed about a crucial chemical not being added to the water supply as early as April 2015 but its agents did not act to prevent harm to the Flint residents.

    Ciao, Gronda

    • I love the practical nature of your statement – “scared into working across party lines”. Amen! We should never want one party to absolutely rule everything – even my party, much as I like us! Our system works best when everyone is engaged and working to make things better. If a good scare will do it, then let’s scare ’em!

  4. these are definitely interesting days, hard to believe that we are less than three weeks away! I will be watching the results, local seats mean so much now, and I’m encouraging everyone I know to vote!

    • Yes, I said nothing about State legislatures – which we need by 2020 to influence redistricting. I guess I am less interested in those now, but in the future they will be the biggest deal.

  5. I am really interested to see how this election goes for the House and Senate. Possibly one of the most exciting elections in history.

    • Right? Biggest blow-out and a major yawner if you only look at the top, biggest change if it runs down the ballot. Excitement is where you find it, eh?
      (No, I’m not talking about baseball … but I could be, yes? 🙂 )

  6. Pingback: Final Thoughts | Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

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