The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

What's next?

While we can't say for certain what Trump's policies will actually be, or what effects they'll actually have, London-based writer Feargus O'Sullivan has an idea what the atmosphere might be like:

As a British person, the experience of waking up to find that Donald Trump had been elected president of the United States seemed freakishly familiar. Being shaken awake before dawn with shock news, then finding that most people I knew were awake, punch drunk, and already posting on social media—it all feels eerily reminiscent of June 24, when I also woke in the dark to find that Britain had narrowly voted for Brexit.

If the post-election in the U.S. follows the template of the Brexit vote aftermath, you will need to steel yourself for some pretty ugly stuff. Both the Brexit and Trump campaigns were infected with racist rhetoric tinged with violence, both implied and real. In Britain, the Brexit vote aftermath saw an immediate, vicious uptick in racist attacks.

It’s not that racism suddenly appeared overnight. British minorities have frustratedly pointed out that the abuse many have received is just a more intense expression of an ongoing problem that’s been disregarded too long by the white and powerful. The problem is that, with a vote for Brexit being interpreted by many as a vote against immigration, racists felt emboldened that the majority was now on their side. Many non-white or non-British-born friends of mine reported being verbally insulted or even pushed out of subway trains.

The doubly frustrating thing about this turn of events is that the Brexit vote, like the Trump vote, was a protest against so many things: in particular growing inequality and, in Britain’s case, the effect of harsh austerity policies. In the aftermath, these concerns were paid initial lip service by the new government, but they’ve quite quickly been ignored in favor of a focus on immigration.

Oh, goody. This is basically what my side have been warning about for a year. The damage to our national character could take a generation to heal.

Uncertainty

I keep coming back to this: no one has any idea what the Trump administration will actually do. This, more than anything else, is literally keeping me awake at night.

Brian Beutler worries about how the day-to-day business of being president will tax Trump beyond his ability to cope even on slow weeks. I've thought about that as well. You only need to watch an episode of The West Wing to get a sense of what kind of focus a president needs. Even George W. Bush, no scholar he, spent more time studying and preparing than Trump.

But beyond his temperament, we really have no information about what his policies and his relationship with Congress will be. So other than expecting something to go spectacularly wrong within the first few weeks he's in office, we just can't say what that will look like.

His team's lack of experience and discipline will probably give us a lot of signals, though. Think about how few leaks—and a complete lack of scandal—we've had during the Obama administration. With some of Trump's key advisors already under indictment, and the man himself party to more lawsuits than any other president in history even before he takes office, not to mention the unbelievable lack of control the campaign had over leaks from the beginning, it'll be epic. I'd say "pass the popcorn" if it weren't so horrifying.

But still: what kind of president will he be for real? Even his own supporters don't know.

In true Perceiver fashion, I'm going to gather data, at least through the first half of 2017, before freaking out completely. Is the analogy 1828, or is it 1856 (or 1933)? Is Trump Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jesse Ventura? Or is he more like Hugo Chávez or Rodrigo Duterte?

Trump broke nearly every norm of how we've elected presidents since the Civil War. Those norms existed in part because of lessons we learned in the 1830s through the 1870s. What norms will he break as president? What will his supporters do? Even if it doesn't affect me directly, being deep in the heart of one of the bluest cities in the country, what will happen to my friends who live in purple or mauve counties in North Carolina, Nebraska, and Wisconsin?

When George H.W. Bush won in the first election I voted in, I was disappointed. When his son won in 2000, I was angry; when he won again in 2004, I was embarrassed for my country. But in none of these elections did I have much doubt about how the Bushes would govern, or fear that the entire world order would be upended by the administration. Their policies made my blood boil, but I never feared for my liberty or that the Republic would fall. With Trump, I don't have any guesses, only apprehensions.

The world turned upside down...

What happens next?

Today is the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazis' rampage through Germany smashing the windows of Jewish-owned businesses and killing about 100 Jews.

It's also the first day in the countdown to the 115th Congress on January 3rd and the swearing-in of the 45th President on January 20th.

Having studied authoritarian, nativist takeovers in other countries, most notably Germany in the early 1930s, the U.S. in 1828, and Hungary in the last few years, I have some idea what we may be in for, and what we're not.

Our standing in the world will take a hit. How big depends on how stupidly Trump actually behaves. Given his record, and his lack of coherent policies, who knows what he'll do. But the Republican Congress? We know what they'll do pretty well.

It's not just the ACA, the Supreme Court, immigration, taxation, giveaways to private interests; all that's pretty bad. It's also the dozens of Federal District Court judges they've refused to confirm. Arts funding. Action on climate change. The regulations they'll write. The tiny, tiny ways they'll dig in like intestinal parasites to undo the Obama years and hold back progress for another generation.

I'm beyond disappointed with my country today. I'm ashamed. But I'm going to observe the first six months of 2017 intently to decide if we're America 1828, America 1856, Rome 120 BCE, or Germany 1933. Because I think we're one of those things now.

Zip-a-dee doo dah! Now it's off to the races

North Carolina's polls are about to close. So it's now time to open my live blog.

18:30 CST: As the first polls close, we've got Indiana and Kentucky for Trump, Vermont for Clinton. No surprises there. Other states "too close to call."

18:33: First (minor) disappointment: The Times calls Ohio Senate for Portman.

18:37: Interesting. The Times is calling West Virginia for Trump, as expected; but Talking Points Memo calls it for Clinton and Ohio for Strickland. Oh, my, tonight will be a l19ong won.

18:55: Times reporting Strickland has conceded in Ohio. So far, no change in the Senate.

19:04: Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts to Clinton. Tiny states with lots of electoral votes. Times has the race now at 44 Clinton, 31 Trump. Illinois still not called, though our polls just closed.

19:15: Times calling Florida Senate for Rubio, but painting the state blue on the Presidential side. It's looking like there's a lot of vote-splitting today.

19:25: First Senate pick-up: Crain's and other outlets calling Illinois U.S. Senate for Duckworth.

19:44: Times is calling Indiana U.S. Senate for incumbent Republican Todd Young.

20:02: Everybody calls Illinois for Clinton, and the entire 96th meridian for Trump. Also New York and Rhode Island for Clinton. Times has us at 68-69 (because they haven't officially called some of them), MSNBC has us at 104-107.

20:12: Let's recall 2012:

Meanwhile, TPM reports "We don't know how this will play out. But the big story right now in Florida is that Trump is really outperforming Romney in the Republican counties." But remember, urban counties take a lot longer to report. Either way, it's going to be a long night.

20:17: Crain's reports that the (stupid, stupid, stupid) Safe Roads Amendment will probably pass in Illinois. It puts highway money in a lockbox instead of allowing the legislature to spend it on anything else. I don't think this is a good idea. We'll see.

20:25: Times editorial board member Brent Staples reports that 7 in 10 Trump voters long for the world portrayed in 1950s television shows. Unfortunately, this America never existed.

20:37: It may be too early to say this definitively, but I think Gary Johnson voters in swing states are probably closet Trump voters who want to have a bullshit excuse. Or they're crashingly stupid. But I expect, tomorrow morning, a lot of people will be saying, "Well don't blame me, I voted my conscience for Gary Johnson." Uh huh.

20:49: And now, market futures are in a tumble as Trump looks closer to winning.

20:56: TPM and the Times are both talking about polling failures. Bad failures. The Times now shows Trump with a 59% chance of winning. Maggie Halberman: "If Clinton wins, it will be an eked-out victory, meaning that Trump will remain on the scene for potentially a long time. ... But I think it’s going to be hard to grasp how fractured this country is going to be."

21:27: The Times is calling North Carolina U.S. Senate for incumbent Republican Richard Burr. So far we're 1 up. Great. This is scary.

21:56: The Times calls Ohio for Trump, a GOP pick-up. The Detroit Free Press calls Michigan for Clinton.

22:33: Florida to Trump, according to the Times. Gary Johnson got about twice the number of votes than the difference between Trump and Clinton. But my Johnson-supporting friends claim that they voted their consciences, that they opposed Trump, and that third parties are viable in the U.S. Yeah, good work guys. You're either lying, stupid, or delusional.

23:41: Yeah, I'm still up. And California and Massachusetts have just legalized pot. Which is great, but it's still against Federal law, and without an Obama or Clinton administration to stay enforcement of those laws, does it matter?

23:43: Ah, nostalgia. Remember 2012?

23:49: I just realized, it's coming up on 7am in most of Europe now. Bonjour, mes amis! Look who we're giving the nuclear codes to!

00:12: Paul Krugman: "It really does now look like President Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover? ... [A] first-pass answer is never."

00:36: Republican incumbent Pat Toomey re-elected in Pennsylvania. Missouri and Louisiana look grim. So it's looking a lot like we've lost the whole game. This is my country.

01:28: We've lost the Senate. We've failed to take the House. And though a lot of ballots remain to be counted, it looks like we've lost the executive as well. As I posted on Facebook a while ago, it looks like the Republican policies of cutting education funding for 50 years have paid dividends.

I find it no small irony that everyone I voted for this morning won, at all levels. (I include the Democratic electors who will vote for Hillary Clinton in mid-December.) And this is a very, very close election, decided by exactly the people who are already a minority in this country and who are fading away. Clearly they're not going without a fight, even if it destroys everything else around them.

We are Rome. Still the Republic, but Rome nonetheless. Millions of people who voted for Donald Trump tonight will expect their lives to improve, with America returning to the imagined past of "Leave It to Beaver." What happens when they're disappointed? Which Visigoths do they invite to sack Washington?

I'm going to sleep. When I wake up, I wonder if I'll still know my country.

 

When I'll be reaching for Tums...or Champagne

Here are the states I'm watching closely tonight, and the times their polls close. The biggest ones are all around 7pm Chicago time, just over 4½ hours from now.

18:30 CST/19:30 EST

North Carolina, 15 votes, Republican Senate seat: Hillary Clinton* is polling dead-even, and so is Democratic Senate candidate Deborah Ross. It's not a make-or-break state for the presidency but it would be a huge pick-up in the Senate if Ross beats incumbent Republican Richard Burr.

19:00 CST/20:00 EST

Illinois, 22 votes, Republican Senate seat: My home state is all but certainly going for Clinton, and has a very good chance of giving us a Senate pick-up if Democrat Tammy Duckworth* beats incumbent Republican Mark Kirk. Expect the networks to call our results right when polls close.

New Hampshire, 4 votes, Republican Senate seat: This tiny New England state may signal how other older, whiter states will go later in the evening. And it's not nearly as blue in recent forecasts as it was in 2012 or 2008. I'm also looking for Democrat Maggie Hassan to take the Senate seat from Republican Kelly Ayotte. They're polling dead-even in a must-win race for Democrats.

Pennsylvania, 20 votes, Republican Senate seat: Right now it's "leans Clinton" in optimistic forecasts, "toss-up" in some others, with Democrat Katie McGinty* barely edging out incumbent Republican Pat Toomey.

Florida, 29 votes, Republican Senate seat: Another state where Clinton and Trump are polling dead even, I don't expect this race to get called until late tonight. But in the Senate, it looks like incumbent Republican Mark Rubio will defeat challenger Pat Murphy after all.

Missouri, 10 votes, Republican Senate seat: Trump's going to win the state; I accept that. But Democratic Senate challenger Jason Kander has pulled ahead of incumbent Republican Roy Blunt in late polling. That would be a very satisfying pick-up.

19:00 MST/20:00 CST/21:00 EST

Michigan, 16 votes: Clinton is barely edging Trump right now in late polling. This one could go into extra innings. (No Senate race.)

Wisconsin, 10 votes, Republican Senate seat: Both Clinton and Democratic former Senator (and current Senate challenger) Russ Feingold* are polling ahead, but it's still way closer than I want. This one could also go late.

Colorado, 9 votes: Incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennet is comfortably ahead of Republican challenger Darryl Glenn in the polls, so I'm not worried about that. I am interested to see how the toss-up resolves itself in the presidential race.

19:00 PST/21:00 CST

Nevada, 6 votes, open Senate seat (currently Democratic): Who will succeed retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid? Democrat Catherine Masto is polling just a smidge ahead of Republican Joe Heck. This is an important Democratic hold. It would be a shame if New York's Chuck Shumer becomes Majority Leader just as the previous leader's seat changes to the other party.

20:00 PST/22:00 CST

California, 53 votes, open Senate seat (currently Democratic): Since both candidates running for Senate in California are Democrats, I am confident that we'll hold Barbara Boxer's seat. And Clinton is polling so far ahead in the Golden State that, again, I don't anticipate anything dramatic happening. But it's always nice, in any presidential election, to see my candidate's numbers go up by 53 at 10pm. If Clinton already has 199 votes in called states by this point, the triple whammy of California, Oregon (7 votes), and Washington (12 votes) means it's all over.

Will we know who'll be the next president by 10pm? I hope so. But I'm prepared to wait up all night to find out.

* Disclosure: I have contributed financially to these candidates.

How's the weather where you are?

The Weather Channel has the forecasts for battleground states in one convenient location:

Today is Election Day, and you may be wondering, not only what conditions will be like as you head out to the polls, but also whether the weather may factor in the battle for control of Senate, not to mention the presidency.

A 2012 poll commissioned by The Weather Company found weather can have a game-changing effect on turnout in a close election, with party affiliation and demographics key factors.

Possibly Wet

  • Michigan: Some rain showers will move through the state from west to east along a cold front during the day, but widespread heavy downpours are not anticipated. Highs will range from the 40s in upper Michigan to the 50s in lower Michigan.
  • Ohio: Light rain showers will increase during the day, particularly in western and northern Ohio. It will be much warmer-than-average with afternoon readings in the 60s for most.

But most of the U.S. is precipitation-free today, and many places, including Chicago, have near-record warm temperatures.

So what does it mean? It means we may have the largest voter turnout in U.S. history, which will help the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton more than the other guys.

It's gonna be a long day...

Welp, I voted, and now I'm getting in to the office only an hour late. Nothing left to do but wait until 7pm Chicago time when the first big batch of polls close, including ours in Illinois.

First of two posts: all the politics

Before discussing the most important sports story in North America since...well, since the States were United, let me highlight some of the political and professional stories percolating:

Stay tuned for the real story of the day.

Some thoughts about tonight

The Cubs' World Series Game 7 tonight in Cleveland may be "the biggest game in Chicago sports history," according to Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. I agree.

But still, I'm trying to maintain perspective:

  • This is the only the second time in franchise history they've played in November. Last night was the first.
  • They won the National League pennant after a 71-year drought. That's not trivial.
  • If Cleveland wins, maybe they'll be so happy there it will tip Ohio into Hillary Clinton's column.
  • They have played some amazing baseball during this series, and during this season.
  • They'll be back next year.

So let's see what happens. And go, Cubs, go!

Still reading this

In between meetings and client visits, I've been paging through New York Magazine's article from last week, "The Final Days of the Trump Campaign:"

Perhaps the most surprising thing to ponder at this late stage in the election is just how close the race could have been had he taken nearly any of the advice offered to him by advisers. “This thing was doable if we did it the right way,” one adviser told me.

When Paul Manafort, a veteran Republican lobbyist and operative cut from Establishment cloth — he’d worked on Gerald Ford’s, George H.W. Bush’s, and Bob Dole’s presidential campaigns — came onboard to serve as campaign chairman at the beginning of the general-election season, he suggested a strategy that was the exact opposite of the one Trump pursued in the primaries. He wanted Trump to lower his profile, which would force the media to focus on ­Clinton — a flawed opponent with historic unfavorable ratings who couldn’t erase the stain of scandal, real or invented. “The best thing we can do is to have you move into a cave for the next four months,” Manafort told Trump during a meeting. “If you’re not on the campaign trail, the focus is on her, and we win. Whoever the focus is on will lose.”

But Trump is Trump, after all, and his entire campaign is based on him being better than "so-called 'experts.'" Kind of like the Brexit folks. I just hope Clinton's actual experts know how to beat this dangerous charlatan.