With the last Friday before the 2016 Presidential Election behind us and all the October and November Surprises having been sprung, the question is what is going to happen. Nothing dropped Friday that would change the current trends that started the prior Friday. The Clinton Email Bombshell did have an effect on the race: reminding people of the inherent corruption of Clinton, Inc. The downside (besides being demoralizing for the Democrats) appears to be having brought a lot of Republicans back into the fold and for Trump. And that, in turn, probably caused a lot of Democrats to back their candidate fearing a “mine shaft gap“.
Despite the Cubs winning the first World Series in 108 years, there will be no such miracle for the Libertarian Party. Gary Johnson doing better than any previous Libertarian candidate, his campaign never got the necessary spark. For all the benefit in fund-raising and media coverage Bill Weld gave, Weld gave away enthusiasm with his tepid support of his own running mate and his continual vouchsafing of Hillary Clinton. While Johnson may get 5% of the National Vote (the highest ever by the LP and probably more actual votes than all previous LP candidates, combined), there is no scenario in which he wins a single state. (After the election we will discuss were the Libertarians went wrong).
So, what the most likely outcomes? Well, it appears to be a coin toss and depends on how some states break. Looking at the polling data, including the RCP averages as well what appear to be trends, here are the most likely scenarios:
Clinton Wins Convincingly
In the end, the American People decide the Devil they know (Crooked Hillary) is better than the Devil they don’t (Deplorable Donald). Hillary Clinton is elected the 45th President of the United States by a convincing majority. With the House of Representatives safely in GOP hands (and possibly the Senate as well), the Republican Party decides to pretend 2016 and Donald Trump never happened. As such, it coalesces as the opposition, Clinton gets few achievements (but her pardon), and the government gridlocks (which the American people seem to want) for the next 4 years.
The Clinton Firewall Holds
The American People, shaken by the revelations of the multiple ongoing criminal investigations in the Clintons and their business/”charitable” interests start breaking towards Trump. But the Clinton ground campaign is able to hold the line and the Democratic Candidate ekes out a victory. The Trump campaign and its surrogates mutter darkly about rigged elections involving the media. The Republican Party begins its re-enactment of “The Night of the Long Knives” as accusations fly as “Who Lost 2016”. There is gridlock through 2018 (aided by all the investigations into the activities which gave rise to her Pardon), but the Democrats sense chances to recapture both Houses of Congress by portraying the GOP as ineffectual and incompetent.
The Levy Breaks
The American People, shaken by the revelations of the multiple ongoing criminal investigations in the Clintons and their business/”charitable” interests start breaking towards Trump. When the dust settles, Trump ekes out a victory. The Clinton campaign and its surrogates mutter darkly about rigged elections. The Democratic Party begins to pretend the Clintons don’t exist and continues it leftward drift. While not holding the levers of power, the Senate Democrats do everything they can to gridlock the government.
Welcome to Trumpistan
The American People decide they want nothing to do with Clinton, Inc. and all of the attendant scandals that would be a part of the Clinton White House. Donald Trump becomes the 45th President. The EverTrumpers rejoice and the coastal elites are in shock and continually hounded by pro-Trump forces to fulfill their pledges to flee the country. While there is some gridlock, the Democratic Party reenacts “The Night of the Long Knives” as the Sanders/Warren Wing of the Party argues the party needs to go full Socialist while the remnants of the (Bill) Clinton coalition tries to prevent the Democratic Party from going full Corbyn. Hillary Clinton becomes the most reviled Democrat as she is the one who lost to Trump and is thus accorded status as am “unperson”. She also does not get a pardon and Trump’s pledge to “Lock Her Up” is fulfilled.
Now this being 2016 there is one more likely scenario:
Our Long National Nightmare Continues
With all of the NeverTrumpers and NeverHillarys returning to the flock, the Anyone But Trump and Anyone But Clinton forces cancel each other out, producing:
Neither candidate gets 270 Electoral Votes*. The American Public is subjected to ad-nauseam lectures about the role of the Electoral College. Conspiracy Theories abound that one side or the other is engaging in nefarious plots to “corrupt” electors. If the electors don’t go rogue, the election gets thrown to the House and Senate where the Republican House elects Donald Trump. Then things proceed as they would under The Levy Breaks scenario.
(The one exception might be if the Democrats pick up 4 Senate seats. Pursuant to the 12th Amendment, the Senate votes for the Vice President. Since the current Vice President would be the President of Senate during that vote, the Democrats would have 51 votes. So would they vote for Pence since Trump would be President. Or would they vote Tim Kaine as VP? However, the current RCP polling data suggest the Dems will get net three seats, picking up Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania while the GOP will pick up Nevada. The last Indiana poll suggests it might stay Republican and Russ Feingold is clinging to a low single digit lead as of Friday night. In Pennsylvania, Tommey is still behind, but he is steadily cutting into McGinty’s lead. By Wednesday we may find the Senate remains 54-46, with Illinois and Nevada swapping parties.)
*AP has a story claiming a Washington State Electoral Voter has said he will not vote for Clinton. I’m not convinced this will really happen. Not do I think he would turn around and vote for Trump. It would be more likely he would cast a vote for Sanders.
Now, even though there is no chance of Gary Johnson winning the Presidency, or even a state, there is on possible scenario:
President McMuffin of Utah
Evan McMullin, the Bill Kristol backed neo-con insurgent candidate has gained no traction and virtually no publicity for his Presidential Campaign. Except in Utah. At one point, shortly after Trump’s “Grab ‘em by the P*ssy” comment came to light, McMullin actually led in Utah. If the country opts for an “Anyone But Trump” Scenario, it is possible McMullin wins Utah. It has no lasting impact other than to reinforce the anti-Trump forces in the GOP.
The last possible scenario: SMOD wins, upends everything, including creation itself.
Since most of the states Trump needs to win to have a chance of becoming President are in the Eastern half of the US, we should have a fairly good idea of his chances Tuesday night.