…By now we all know what happened. Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. Republicans maintain majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and a majority of Governors seats around the nation. By securing both houses of Congress and the White House, Republicans can now enact their own agenda without having to get support from Democrats.
So, what happens now?
To answer: Democrats have to go back to the drawing board. Hillary Clinton came up short in her own quest to return to the White House for a second time. In 2008 and this year, Clinton was the heavy odds on favorite, and was rejected by voters. Clinton may have won the popular vote, but for the second time in less than 20 years, it all comes down to the Electoral College.
The Electoral College is what actually elects the president. Even though we think of the Presidential election as a national election, in reality it is fifty state elections. The Electoral College is made of 538 electors. In order to win the White House, a candidate must receive 270 electoral votes. There is one elector for every congressional district in each state, plus two senators; Washington, D.C. also has 3 electors. California, the state with the largest population has 55, for 53 congressional districts and two senate seats. Although Hillary Clinton ran up big totals in the popular vote in deep blue states like California and New York, both states were always going to go in the Clinton column. Where Hillary lost was in swing states Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, and (most surprisingly) Wisconsin. Trump was able to motivate rural and suburban voters in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania more than Clinton was able to rally a coalition of voters who elected President Obama from four years ago. In the end it was Trump able to pull off victory in more states that mattered, thus securing him 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
All hope is not lost for Democrats, however. In California, a newly tested election system produced a general election matchup, for an open senate seat, between two Democrats. And the victor in the race, Kamala Harris, is only the second African-American woman elected to the the US Senate. In Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto holds a Democratic-held seat and is the first Latina elected to the upper chamber. In Illinois, Tammy Duckworth picks up a previously Republican-held seat, and is the first female senator to have served in combat and is only the second Asian-American woman.
Rebuilding on the Democratic side begins immediately. The transition to a Trump presidency begins now. The question now is, how will President-elect Trump govern a deeply fractured nation? Will a Republican-controlled Washington look to Democrats to work across the aisle to enact policy for our nation? Only time will tell.
My name is Tom. I know more about politics than I ever cared to, can cook a mean enchilada, and love Snapchat.