Illinois Primary Today

Illinois primary today. Thanks goodness.

I’ve been watching the campaign from the other side of the Big Muddy, where I can see television ads run on St. Louis-area stations. Illinois, like New York, has long been weighted down by old party boss-style politics and corruptions in which both parties are complicit. The sitting Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, has done a heckofa job standing in the way of doing anything that might, you know, make things better. He ought to be very vulnerable.

Rauner does nothing but run negative ads. His negative ads against his primary opponent, Jeanne Ives, featured clips of her allegedly saying nice things about the Democratic speaker of the Illinois House, Mike Madigan. (Madigan is one of those “permanent” politicians. He has been in Illinois politics for so long one suspects he was around when Illinois was still the Northwest Territory. I think they built the statehouse around him.) Rauner’s video clips of Ives were so obviously and badly edited I wondered if they were produced by Project Veritas. I’m sorry I can’t find any videos of them, but they’re really stupid ads. In any event, the ads had the effect of making Ives seem sympathetic and reasonable until I saw one of her ads against Rauner, which was downright unhinged.

What can one say but … OMG. Seriously, that is a real campaign ad. It isn’t a spoof.

Possibly afraid that Rauner’s ads against Ives were too soft and ineffectual, the Democratic Governor’s Assocation made this one:

Seem noteworthy that the Democratic Governor’s Association would take sides in a Republican primary, but there it is.

There are three men running for the Democratic nomination. Any of them would be an improvement on Rauner or Ives, but I’m guessing the least desirable one will be elected. J.B. Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune, has blanketed the state with an incessant television ad campaign that’s been going on for months. And they are very good ads, well produced and positive, showing all kinds of real folks talking about how J.B. is a great guy. Pritzker has spent $70 million of his own money on those ads, it says here. He took a hit a few weeks ago when Rauner released tapes of an old phone conversation between Pritzker and former governor and current convict, Rod Blagojevich. Pritzker can be heard recommending another politician for an appointment because “it covers you on the African-American thing.” But this appears to have been smoothed over.

The other two Democratic candidates are Chris Kennedy, son of Bobby of Blessed Memory; and state Sen. Daniel Biss, who is the most progressive of the three and who is backed by Our Revolution Illinois.  But I haven’t heard a peep about either guy in all these months of campaigning. I assume they are more visible from within Illinois.

There is a surprising shortage of polling for these races, but I’m guessiing we’re looking at Rauner versus Pritzker in the fall.

Update: I forgot to mention that today Illinois has a shot at getting rid of one of the worst Blue Dogs in the House.

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) spent much of his career antagonizing his own party as an outspoken pro-life advocate who has been hostile to gay rights and has voted against Democratic priorities from the DREAM Act to Obamacare to Planned Parenthood funding. After more than a decade representing a safely Democratic seat stretching from Chicago’s Southwest Side out to largely working-class suburbs, he’s facing the toughest primary challenge of his career from former ad executive Marie Newman, a staunch liberal whose campaign has gotten a major boost from a constellation of national progressive groups seeking his ouster.

Go, Marie Newman!

Update: It will be Rauner vs. Pritzker in November; Pritzker should win easily. Lipinski,  alas, won in a squeaker over Marie Newman.

Trump Gets Long Overdue Kick in the Butt

I would have preferred the Great Orange Mass of Wasted Protoplasm would have gotten his butt kicked a year ago, but I’ll take yesterday as a consolation prize.

Some cheering stories from Tuesday’s elections, in no particular order:

In New Jersey, Ravinder Bhalla was elected Hoboken’s first Sikh mayor. He won Tuesday night’s election just days after being targeted by flyers labeling him a terrorist.

Also in New Jersey, Democrat Ashley Bennet defeated Republican John Carman  for the Atlantic County freeholder seat. Bennet decided to challenge Carman after Carman posted a meme mocking the Women’s March.

Carman posted a meme on the day of the Women’s March that featured a woman in a kitchen and the message, “Will the women’s protest be over in time for them to cook dinner?”

“Just asking?” he wrote alongside the meme.

I don’t know enough about Phil Murphy to know what kind of governor he will be, but his lopsided victory against NJ Secretary of State Kim Guadagno was an obvious repudiation of Chris Christie.

In Montana, Wilmot Collins was elected first black mayor of Helena. Collins arrived in Helena 23 years ago as a refugee from Liberia. He was part of a progressive ticket that swept city commission races.

My goodness, Virginia, you had quite a night. The single sweetest story of the evening was Danica Roem’s victory over incumbent Robert Marshall for a seat in Virginia’s statehouse. Marshall had introduced a “bathroom bill” in Virginia and called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe.” Roem is transgender.

“Discrimination is a disqualifier,” a jubilant Roem said Tuesday night as her margin of victory became clear. “This is about the people of the 13th District disregarding fear tactics, disregarding phobias . . . where we celebrate you because of who you are, not despite it.”

Marshall, 73, who refused to debate Roem and referred to her with male pronouns, declined an interview request but posted a concession message on Facebook.

Also sweet – Democrat Lee Carter, a Marine veteran from Manassas who openly ran as a socialist, beat Delegate Jackson Miller, a Republican incumbent who serves as  Virginia House Majority Whip.

Democrat Lee Carter, a red-haired, 30-year-old Marine veteran from Manassas, won a remarkable nine-point victory to oust Delegate Jackson Miller, a deep-pocketed Republican incumbent who serves as House Majority Whip. Carter ran openly as a socialist—he and his supporters croonedthe union anthem “Solidarity Forever” after their victory—and he won with almost no institutional support from the state Democratic Party. The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Patrick Wilson reported last month that party leaders “abandoned” Carter after he declined to report campaign metrics like the number of doors he’d knocked and the amount of money he’d raised. Carter told Wilson he “ceased reporting to the House caucus after multiple information security lapses in which confidential information that we reported to the House caucus was leaked outside of the party infrastructure.” But he also said the party leaders “wanted a bit more editorial control over my messaging than I was comfortable with.” Wilson wrote that “Democratic Party leaders were not eager to discuss Carter, preferring to promote other candidates.” In fact, Wilson called Carter “the kind of rogue candidate that gives an apparatus like the Democratic Party of Virginia a fit.”

Another winner in Virginia was Kathy Tran, a former Vietnamese refugee, who became the first Asian-American woman to join Virginia’s House of Delegates

Democrats swept statewide races in Virginia — governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general — and so far have picked up 14 seats in the state legislature. Depending on some recounts, it is possible they could take over the majority.

The only state to not fall into line was Utah, which voted to replace Jason Chaffetz with another Republican. Well, Utah is Utah.

This should fire up Dems and, I hope, inspire them to pour every resource they’ve got into Alabama, where Democrat Doug Jones is running against Grand Inquisitor Roy Moore for U.S. Senate in a December 12 special election.


The Electoral College: Its Hour Come Round at Last?

It’s enormously unlikely that the current Russian hacker flap is going to stop Donald Trump from being inaugurated, but if he is stopped, it’s my understanding it can only happen in the Electoral College. So let’s take a look.

Why Is There an Electoral College? The Founders were opposed to electing presidents by popular national vote, mostly because they figured each state would just vote for its own “favorite son.” They considered having presidents chosen by Congress or by state legislatures. They finally settled on Electors, however, who were supposed to be really smart guys who would choose a president based purely on merit, and without consideration of partisan politics.

The best sense of what the Founders were thinking might be gleaned from Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist #68, in which he expounds in his overwritten way that

It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.

It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.

Hamilton goes on to explain that each state would somehow choose a committee of electors who would convene only once, for one purpose only, and that is to choose a president. In this way this crew would be less subject to being bribed or being under the influence of foreign powers.

The Constitution didn’t specify how the states chose their Electors. I understand that, at first, most of the time they were chosen by state legislatures.

How Was the Electoral College Supposed to Function? In the original wording in the Constitution, Electors were to vote for two people, at least one of whom was not from his state. Then as now, the Electors don’t meet in one place, but within their own states, to vote. The votes were sent in a sealed envelope to the President of the Senate (who would be the sitting Vice President). The votes were to be counted in front of the Senate and House of Representatives. In brief, whoever got the most votes was POTUS and whoever came in second was VPOTUS.

Well, that didn’t last long.  The 12th Amendment, ratified in 1804, provides that Electors vote separately for a president and a vice president. It also provides that if no one candidate receives a majority of all votes (currently the magic 270 number), the House of Representatives chooses the POTUS from among the top three contenders, and the Senate chooses the VPOTUS.

Other than the original provision of voting for one person not from their states, the Constitution places no restrictions on the Electors about whom they can vote for, other than the qualification requirements:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

One little archaic constitutional vestige I did not know — to this day, an Elector cannot vote for a president and vice presidential candidate from his own state. One candidate is okay, but not both. So if both the presidential and vice presidential candidates were from Pennsylvania, for example, the Pennsylvania Electors would have to abstain.

And that’s where the U.S. Constitution stands on the matter of the Electors and choosing a president.

The Electoral College Today. Today,  of course, people vote for presidential candidates, and then Electors go through the motions of choosing the POTUS as outlined in the 12th Amendment. That way of doing things evolved pretty quickly in the 19th century, rendering the Electoral College vote into a meaningless, archaic ritual. Lots of amendments have been proposed to get rid of the Electoral College. Obviously, none have gotten very far.

The Electors are chosen by the parties, usually in state party conventions. Some are chosen by state party central committees. A handful of states use other methods — they are appointed by the governor, for example, or even appointed by the presidential nominee him- or herself. The point is that they are people chosen not for their wisdom, but for their loyalty to the party.

There are two aspects of today’s Electoral College that are problematic.

One is the “winner take all” method of choosing Electors that all but two states have adopted. This is not in the Constitution at all, and it’s this factor that makes it mathematically possible for one candidate to have a respectable popular vote majority and still lose the Electoral College. If the Electors were chosen in a proportional way, that’s much less likely to happen. Lawrence Lessig has been arguing that the “winner take all” thing is unconstitutional. However, his argument is based on the Court’s “reasoning” in Bush v. Gore, and there are those who don’t buy it.

Still, while we may be stuck with the Electoral College itself — the less populated states like it, because it gives them a disproportional voice in presidential elections — if someday the winner-take-all practice could be done away with, the Electoral College would more accurately reflect the popular vote.

The other “new” aspect is the binding of the Elector’s votes. Twenty-nine states have made it a felony for an Elector to go rogue and not vote according to his state’s vote. In practice, such “faithless” Electors are very rare and are usually only given a small fine, but they could be penalized more harshly.

Over the years, many constitutional scholars have said that the state “binding” laws are blatantly unconstitutional, and that the Electors must be free to vote as they choose. It was clearly the intent of the guys who wrote the Constitution for the Electors, not the people by popular vote, to choose the president. And while we may think that’s stupid, it hasn’t been amended. The Constitution still says that.

And it was also the clear intent of the guys who wrote the Constitution for the Electoral College to be a bulwark against “cabal, intrigue, and corruption,” as Hamilton put it:

These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?

This is the very corruption that the Electoral College is supposed to prevent. The masses of the people may be swayed by passions fired up by demagogues, but the wise and level-headed Electors are supposed to be the ones who make the final decision. Or that’s how the Founding Guys imagined it would work, anyway.

If there was ever a time for the Electors to carry out their Constitutional duties and make their own choice for POTUS, this would be it. And if they don’t, then the Electoral College really has utterly failed in the duty it was given.

Blocking Trump wouldn’t necessarily give the election to Hillary Clinton, since the Electors can vote for anybody. If enough of them voted in a way that denied the majority to Donald Trump — say, by choosing Gary Johnson –  the election would go to the House. The House must choose among the three top vote getters. And since we’re talking about the House, that wouldn’t be Clinton. But maybe it wouldn’t be Trump, either.

(For an interesting take on what a mess that could turn out to be, see “Deadlock: What Happens If Nobody Wins” by Laurence H. Tribe and Thomas M. Rollins, from the October 1980 Atlantic.)

I’m hearing a lot of talk on social media that maybe a court could void the election. Courts have voided Senate elections a couple of times, apparently. But I don’t think any court would touch this mess with a thousand-foot pole, especially since the Constitution provides for the Electors or the House to make the final decision in the case of presidents. (And there is no provision whatsoever for re-doing an election, for any reason, which is another rumor I saw somewhere. )

The Electoral College vote is scheduled for Monday, December 19. Chances are Trump will at least get his 270 votes and be inaugurated. But we can dream …

CIA: Now They Tell Us

The Washington Post‘s “Russia” story is getting real traction, in spite of the fact that we sorta kinda knew this for a long time, as far as I’m concerned.

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”

Let us be clear that nobody officially is saying that Donald Trump is not the legitimate winner of the Electoral College vote. Hillary Clinton might have lost, anyway, for a whole lot of other reasons. And, again, most of this isn’t new. It was kind of obvious.

Some elements of this story were new, however. And the picture that emerges is dirty as hell.

One is that some time back Russian hackers broke into both the RNC and DNC networks. That the DNC and other Democratic networks had been hacked was public knowledge. But the Republicans have denied all along that their networks had been hacked, which was a lie.

The CIA now confirms that Wikileaks received materials from hackers working for the Russian government and released those materials. The Russian hackers apparently passed only material stolen from Democrats on to Wikileaks, however, which is why the CIA concluded Russia wanted Trump to win.

Further, the CIA presented this assessment to key members of Congress back in September. Democrats wanted the information to be made public; Republicans wanted to quash it. And the chief Republican who blocked release of this information before the election was Mitch McConnell.

You might remember that Donald Trump nominated McConnell’s wife to be Secretary of Transportation.  Stinks, much?

One of the individuals who knew about this intelligence was our old buddy FBI Director James Comey. You might remember that the FBI released a statement a week before the election saying there was no clear link between Trump and Russia, and that the Russian hacking was not part of an attempt by Russia to mess with the election. But Comey was fully aware of the CIA assessment that said otherwise.

Today outgoing Senator Harry Reid called for Comey to resign.

“I am so disappointed in Comey. He has let the country down for partisan purposes. That’s why I call him J. Edgar Hoover. Because I believe that,” Reid told MSNBC’s Joy Reid on Saturday.

Later asked if Comey should resign as FBI director, Reid replied, “of course.” Reid also said that Comey should be investigated by the U.S. Senate and other security agencies of the government.

Some senators — including Republican senators McCain and Graham, to give credit where credit is due — are calling for an all-out Senate probe into this situation. And President Obama has asked the intelligence agencies to give him a full report before he leaves office.

Typically, the yam-elect threw a tantrum.

Mr. Trump, in a statement issued by his transition team on Friday evening, expressed complete disbelief in the intelligence agencies’ assessments.

“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” Mr. Trump’s team said, adding that the election was over and that it was time to “move on.”

Though Mr. Trump has wasted no time in antagonizing the agencies, he will have to rely on them for the sort of espionage activities and analysis that they spend more than $70 billion a year to perform.

At this point in a transition, a president-elect is usually delving into intelligence he has never before seen and learning about C.I.A. and National Security Agency abilities. But Mr. Trump, who has taken intelligence briefings only sporadically, is questioning not only analytic conclusions, but also their underlying facts.

“To have the president-elect of the United States simply reject the fact-based narrative that the intelligence community puts together because it conflicts with his a priori assumptions — wow,” said Michael V. Hayden, who was the director of the N.S.A. and later the C.I.A. under President George W. Bush.

Further, the current frontrunner for the Secretary of State job — a bleeping Exxon CEO with no public sector experience whatsoeverhas extensive ties to Russia.

Tillerson received the Order of Friendship from Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2013. Tillerson’s work with ExxonMobil included a stretch working for Exxon Neftegas Ltd., putting him in charge of the subsidiary’s fields in Russia and the Caspian Sea.

Two years before receiving the award, ExxonMobil won a contract to explore for oil in a Russia-controlled portion of the Arctic Ocean, which was made more economically viable for drilling in part thanks to the sea ice decline that’s followed global warming. Putin himself announced the deal at a meeting in Sochi (where the Winter Olympics would be held the next year).

Tillerson’s stake in ExxonMobil will certainly raise questions at a confirmation hearing. Once Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the United States instituted sanctions against Russia that froze ExxonMobil’s Arctic agreement. Were those sanctions to be lifted, the deal would probably move forward — making Tillerson’s shares of ExxonMobil stock much more valuable. (The Wall Street Journal noted that he’d probably have to divest from that stock if appointed to run the State Department.)

Bob Cesca wrote last July that the Russian hacking was a bigger scandal than Watergate; I’d say he was right.

Primal Scream Time

I woke up thinking of this passage from an article Matt Yglesias wrote for Vox last spring, during the primaries.

But though Democrats are certainly the more left-wing of the two parties — the party of labor unions and environment groups and feminist organizations and the civil rights movement — they’re not an ideologically left-wing party in the same way that Republicans are an ideological conservative one. Instead, they behave more like a centrist, interest group brokerage party that seeks to mediate between the claims and concerns of left-wing activists groups and those of important members of the business community — especially industries like finance, Hollywood, and tech that are based in liberal coastal states and whose executives generally espouse a progressive outlook on cultural change.

Sanders’s core proposition, separate from the details of the political revolution, is that for progressives to win they need to first organize and dominate an ideologically left-wing political party that is counterpoised to the ideological right-wing Republican Party.

Well, Clinton certainly dominated the liberal coastal states, no question. Plus Illinois. And I understand she’s got Minnesota.

There’s a lot of finger pointing going on today, but until someone has time to do an in-depth crunching of the final numbers we don’t know that the third-party candidates made any difference. Jill Stein only got 1 percent of the popular vote. Gary Johnson got 3 percent, but my impression is that his support came more from Never Trump voters than Never Hill voters.

Here’s a graphic I borrowed from the New York Times that I think speaks volumes about what happened yesterday.

There’s your Electoral College loss, folks. The Dems needed most of those upper Midwest “rust belt” states, and she probably was counting on getting most of them. She got Illinois and Minnesota. Michigan hasn’t been called yet, but she’s behind there.

This map is revealing, also:

These are people the Dems have ignored for decades. The GOP hasn’t ignored them, however. The GOP is brilliant at manipulating them, and persuading them that down is up, the sky is orange and liberals are the boogeyman. It’s true that these voters often are not sophisticated thinkers, so they are easy to manipulate. And it’s true that there’s a lot of racism and xenophobia in this crowd.

But the Dems haven’t bothered to reach out to them in any meaningful way in many years. The Dems were too busy mediating “between the claims and concerns of left-wing activists groups and those of important members of the business community,” as Yglesias wrote. White blue-collar rust-belt folks were not part of that picture.

And yesterday those  white blue-collar rust-belt folks screamed out loud, We are still here. We matter. Pay attention to us.  As wrong as I think they are about Trump, I can’t really blame them.

A day or two ago some talking head on the teevee said that most voters couldn’t name five things Clinton stood for, but they knew what Trump stood for. I had said something like that to a Clinton supporter awhile back, and she pooh-poohed the idea and began to rattle off Clinton’s policy positions, which I knew as well as she did. But, I said, I don’t think most people who are not politics junkies are getting that information. And then I was told that if people were too lazy to study Hillary Clinton’s website to learn how wonderful she is, that was their own fault.

Harry Truman wouldn’t have made that mistake.

But the problem isn’t just Hillary Clinton, but the whole attitude of the Democratic Party. We’ve needed them to be an ideologically left-wing party for a long time. We’ve needed them to go to those rust-bucket states and sell people on progressive economics for a long time. And nobody bothered. The only messages received by most voters not in the liberal coastal states are ideologically right-wing messages.

Having spent most of the general election campaign season in Missouri, I can tell you that people here weren’t hearing any reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton. Almost all of the Clinton campaign ads on television here were intended to scare people away from voting for Trump. Obviously, that didn’t work.

A lot of the discontent here is about Obamacare. This is a state that didn’t expand it, of course, so genuinely poor residents don’t get it. And there’s a lot of genuine poverty here, especially in rural areas. I’m not sure people here in Missouri ever understood what Obamacare even is. They believe that whatever is screwed up about the health care system is the fault of Obamacare, because that’s what right-wing media keep saying, and they want it abolished.

I say the single biggest failure of the Obama Administration is its failure to communicate to most Americans what it was doing and why.

Now, a lot of this is a problem with news media going back many years. Most people get their information on television, and you and I know that books and books and books could be written about all the things wrong with television news coverage. It hardly mattered that the New York Times and Washington Post wrote big exposes on Trump as a failed businessman and cheat. None of that reached Missouri. It wasn’t on the television news that most people watched.

But I am old enough to remember when there were was a progressive Democratic vote even in the rural areas. The state went to Carter in 1976 and to Clinton in 1992 and 1996. Now all the Republicans have to do is run oppo ads with the words “liberal,” “Obamacare” and “Clinton” in them, and it’s over.

We’re probably going to be told (if they haven’t said it already) that Clinton under-performed with millennials and nonwhites compared to Obama. I expected nonwhites to come out and vote against Trump, big time, but I could have told them to not count on millennials. In fact, I believe I did say that from time to time.

For the past several years the Democrats have been assuring us that, some day, all the stupid old conservative, bigoted white people will die off and be replaced by younger, more liberal, voters. And then the Dems will be winners!

But now I’m watching the establishment Democrats kiss off a whole generation of voters, telling them to go home and play with their toys and leave politics to the grown ups. Good luck turning those people into Democratic voters in the future, geniuses.

Probably Clinton wasn’t hurt by Stein supporters as much as by left-leaning young people who just weren’t excited enough about Mrs. Establishment to go out and vote for her. And that’s on her, but it’s even more on the Democratic Party establishment that cleared a path for her to get the nomination.

Jim Newell wrote this morning:

The party establishment made a grievous mistake rallying around Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t just a lack of recent political seasoning. She was a bad candidate, with no message beyond heckling the opposite sideline. She was a total misfit for both the politics of 2016 and the energy of the Democratic Party as currently constituted. She could not escape her baggage, and she must own that failure herself.

Theoretically smart people in the Democratic Party should have known that. And yet they worked giddily to clear the field for her. Every power-hungry young Democrat fresh out of law school, every rising lawmaker, every old friend of the Clintons wanted a piece of the action. This was their ride up the power chain. The whole edifice was hollow, built atop the same unearned sense of inevitability that surrounded Clinton in 2008, and it collapsed, just as it collapsed in 2008, only a little later in the calendar. The voters of the party got taken for a ride by the people who controlled it, the ones who promised they had everything figured out and sneeringly dismissed anyone who suggested otherwise. They promised that Hillary Clinton had a lock on the Electoral College. These people didn’t know what they were talking about, and too many of us in the media thought they did….

…The Democratic establishment is a club unwelcoming to outsiders, because outsiders don’t first look out for the club. The Clintons will be gone now. For the sake of the country, let them take the hangers-on with them.

Dems: In future nomination fights, assuming there are any, let the people decide. Oh, and kill the superdelegate thing. Thanks much.

I was wrong to think that Trump was such a terrible candidate even Clinton could beat him, but I wasn’t wrong to predict that the nomination of Hillary Clinton could signal the beginning of the end of the Democratic Party. That I saw pretty clearly. I just didn’t think it would happen this fast.

Election Return Live Blog

Well, folks, hang on to your butts.

Everybody says that Florida will tell the tale. If Clinton hangs on to Florida, Trump is probably shut out, the bobbleheads say.

Indiana and Kentucky already called for Trump. Clinton takes Vermont.

There was a shooting near a polling place in California. No indication the shooting was related to the election.

Rudy Giuliani is on MSNBC saying that Clinton got away with multiple crimes, and Chris Matthews isn’t challenging him to be specific.

(7:30) West Virginia called for Trump. No surprises so far.

Steve Kornacki tells us that Trump is doing better with non-college-educated whites than Romney did four years ago.

South Carolina called for Trump; again, no surprise.

(8:00) Okay, they are calling a bunch of states. Let’s see if I can get it straight.

States just called for Clinton: Illinois, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.

Tammy Duckworth will be a Senator from Illinois!

Trump picks up Tennessee, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

Marco Rubio re-elected in Florida. Damn.

Florida — 59 percent of precincts reporting, and it’s dead even.

Evan Bayh, centrist Dem Senate candidate, loses in Indiana, MSNBC says.

(8:30) Arkansas called for Trump.

Returns seem awfully slow this year.

New projections — Clinton wins New York. Trump wins North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Clinton wins Connecticut.

Florida — lots of votes to be counted in Broward County yet.

(9:30) Trump wins Louisiana.

This is making me crazy.

Fox News has called New Mexico for Clinton, I understand.

(10:00) Trump wins Montana.

Missouri called for Trump.

The fivethirtyeight crew is saying that Republicans probably will keep the Senate.

NBC is calling Ohio for Trump.

Clinton is pulling ahead in Virginia.

Clinton wins Colorado.

Virginia called for Clinton, finally.

Florida called for Trump.

Clinton wins California.

People, this is not looking good. Clinton has to win some states in which she’s behind right now to get to 270. And I doubt she can do it.  I think she’s going to fall short.  Assuming she takes all of the states she’s currently leading, she’s going to be short. She’ll need Michigan — possible, but she’s behind right now — and one other state with at least 5 electoral votes. And I don’t know what state that would be.

So, folks, it looks like we’ll lose this one.

If there’s a possible silver lining here, it is that it’s going to shake up the Democratic Party.

(1:45 am) Some news outlets are officially calling the race for Trump, sorry.

This Miserable Election Is Almost Done

We’ve reached the point in the election that the closing arguments are done, and we’re waiting on the verdict. I plan on spending today and most of tomorrow trying to distract myself from politics as much as possible. I plan to live blog returns tomorrow night and hope some of you will be here.

Here, watch some people being happy.

And here are puppies.