Polemic Forecast

Hillary Clinton will win the presidency, but have a very short Honeymoon period to win voters over because she will be badly bruised by the election which, though she will win, will be given next to no credit for doing so. Trump being a bad candidate, Obama being popular, Bernie Sanders ultimately throwing his weigh behind her, and the economy will all be mentioned as “reasons” for her success with the notion that people support her agenda and don’t hate her as much as is advertised almost unmentioned.

In the end, the map will look very similar to the last two elections with only North Carolina moving into HRC’s column varying from 2012. However, though they will stay red in the end after third party voters come home, the races in Arizona and Georgia will confirm they are swing states going forward.

The Democrats will win a bare majority with 50 senate seats with holds in all states and pickups in Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.

In the House, a modest pickup of 16 seats will leave the Democrats shy of a majority in the House by 9 votes.

With Congress on such a razor’s edge, she will have to decide between controversial appointments and consensus legislation like her proposed jobs bill.

With the likelihood that the TPP and Merrick Garland are approved in the lame duck session, some intra-party disputes will be quashed for her, but it will be increasingly difficult to hold the left flank of the Congressional party together with the demands of the 10 or so Republicans in each house she will have to work with to accomplish anything. The only thing that will be attempted will relate to the economy and jobs. Nothing of the liberal social agenda will be attempted including guns. The public option will not get a vote, though Obamacare will finally receive a technical fix bill.

Whether there even are 10 such senators and representatives remains to be seen. The GOP will tell itself that Clinton’s election, by less than the landslide many foretold, was both a rejection of Trumpism and only a tepid endorsement of Clinton and that she will be easy prey in 2020. There will be a strong urge to reinvoke the McConnell doctrine in an attempt to oust her in 2020. Amnesia will set in in the GOP, who still retain the House and filibuster veto points, and the scandal machine used against the last two Democratic presidents will continue. The anti-Trump Republicans will rejoin the fold and attempt to hold the party out as the conservative party despite its animating principle being white nationalism just as it was before Trump.

Any kind of disruption—another Supreme Court vacancy, a economic shock, a terrorist attack, a political scandal—will erase any likelihood of broad Clinton agenda in Congress. The best hope for that is a strong rebuke by voters in 2018 in a beefed up Democratic party at the state and Congressional district level to take advantage of voter disgust with gridlock in time to reverse some 2010’s gerrymandering in the 2020 census. Though it is likely that intraparty conflict in primaries in 2018 could do to the Democrats what it did in 2010 and prevent the degree of victory, (I am not a witch!)

In short, this election will do little to change the political equilibrium set out in the electoral college since 2000 and in Congress since 2010.