U.S. elections 2016 – the final days

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Election Campaign 2016: Democrats
Election campaign 2016: Republicans
Nate Silver Is Unskewing Polls — All Of Them — In Trump’s Direction
The vaunted 538 election forecaster is putting his thumb on the scales.

the-undecided-voterReading the Mind of Norman Rockwell’s Undecided Voter
By Peter Schjeldahl
(The New Yorker) Consider “Which One? (Undecided Voter; Man in Voting Booth),” from 1944—the last year, before the present one, in which a Presidential election was contested by two New Yorkers, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Thomas E. Dewey. (The painting will go on display at Sotheby’s on Friday, and is expected to fetch between two and four million dollars at an auction on November 21st.)
Remember undecided voters? Most of us on either side this year, our minds made up to abyssal extremes, marvel at the putative existence of the species, as at unicorns. (Hence, perhaps, the momentary fascination with Ken Bone, the red-sweatered star of the second debate.) Beyond that, what’s really exotic in Rockwell’s scene is its portrayal of a man who is thinking. Who thinks now? But let’s time-travel. …
Being conscientiously informed on “the issues,” as evidenced by the Cedar Rapids Gazette that the man holds and by the brochures that protrude from his coat pocket, doesn’t settle anything. Does it ever? Aren’t our votes always episodes of autobiography, not about what we know but about how, and as what, we opt to see ourselves?

Democracies end when they are too democratic.
And right now, America is a breeding ground for tyranny.
By Andrew Sullivan
(New York Magazine) As this dystopian election campaign has unfolded, my mind keeps being tugged by a passage in Plato’s Republic. It has unsettled — even surprised — me from the moment I first read it in graduate school. The passage is from the part of the dialogue where Socrates and his friends are talking about the nature of different political systems, how they change over time, and how one can slowly evolve into another. And Socrates seemed pretty clear on one sobering point: that “tyranny is probably established out of no other regime than democracy.” What did Plato mean by that? Democracy, for him, I discovered, was a political system of maximal freedom and equality, where every lifestyle is allowed and public offices are filled by a lottery. And the longer a democracy lasted, Plato argued, the more democratic it would become. Its freedoms would multiply; its equality spread. Deference to any sort of authority would wither; tolerance of any kind of inequality would come under intense threat; and multiculturalism and sexual freedom would create a city or a country like “a many-colored cloak decorated in all hues.” (2 May 2016)

A powerful argument from David Frum
The Conservative Case for Voting for Clinton
Why support a candidate who rejects your preferences and offends your opinions? Don’t do it for her—do it for the republic, and the Constitution.
(The Atlantic) I expect policies that will seem to me at best counter-productive, at worst actively harmful. America needs more private-market competition in healthcare, not less; lighter regulation of enterprise, not heavier; reduced immigration, not expanded; lower taxes, not higher. On almost every domestic issue, I stand on one side; she stands on the other. I do not imagine that she will meet me, or those who think like me, anywhere within a country mile of half-way.
But she is a patriot. She will uphold the sovereignty and independence of the United States. She will defend allies. She will execute the laws with reasonable impartiality. She may bend some rules for her own and her supporters’ advantage. She will not outright defy legality altogether. Above all, she can govern herself; the first indispensable qualification for governing others.
So I will vote for the candidate who rejects my preferences and offends my opinions. (In fact, I already have voted for her.)

perfect-stump-speechThe Perfect Presidential Stump Speech
(FiveThirtyEight) We asked former Republican speechwriter Barton Swaim and Democratic speechwriter Jeffrey Nussbaum to write a totally pandering bipartisan stump speech for an imaginary presidential candidate — one who espouses only positions that a majority of voters agree with. Here’s the speech they wrote, including notes to explain their phrasing, behind-the-scenes tips on appealing to voters and the data they used to decide which positions to take (The notes are a delight!)

8 November – ELECTION DAY
10:58pm Paul Krugman: Our Unknown Country
We still don’t know who will win the electoral college, although as I write this it looks — incredibly, horribly — as if the odds now favor Donald J. Trump. What we do know is that people like me, and probably like most readers of The New York Times, truly didn’t understand the country we live in. We thought that our fellow citizens would not, in the end, vote for a candidate so manifestly unqualified for high office, so temperamentally unsound, so scary yet ludicrous.
We thought that the nation, while far from having transcended racial prejudice and misogyny, had become vastly more open and tolerant over time.
We thought that the great majority of Americans valued democratic norms and the rule of law.
It turns out that we were wrong. There turn out to be a huge number of people — white people, living mainly in rural areas — who don’t share at all our idea of what America is about. For them, it is about blood and soil, about traditional patriarchy and racial hierarchy. And there were many other people who might not share those anti-democratic values, but who nonetheless were willing to vote for anyone bearing the Republican label.

2:00 pm it has started:
Trump Campaign Sues Nevada County, Accuses Workers of Keeping Polls Open Too Late
(NBC News) The lawsuit — filed Monday night in state court — accuses poll workers at four different polling places in Clark County, Nevada, of not following protocol. One of the polling sites is in a primarily Hispanic neighborhood in Las Vegas.
According to the Trump campaign, the poll workers decided early in the day that they would keep polls open until 10 p.m. PT, well beyond their 7 p.m. closing time.

Who is to blame for this awful US election?
Fox News? The four horsemen of the Republican apocalypse? The FBI? Whatever the outcome, historians will judge harshly those who did not stop Trump when they could
(The Guardian) Anyone who lived through the photo-finish of 2000, when it took until mid-December for a winner to be declared – and only then by a ruling of the supreme court – will know that a presidential contest does not always produce a president, at least not right away. But one thing will certainly be over – and that is the dizzying, sometimes nauseating, 18-month-long saga that has been the 2016 campaign.
It is standard to describe a US presidential contest as bitter and divisive. In 2012, the Guardian’s front-page story branded the battle of Barack Obama v Mitt Romney “one of the most closely fought and polarised in recent history”. Looking back, that race looks like a veritable philosophy seminar, exemplary in its civility and decorum, compared with this one.

donald-trumps-enablers

(Quartz) America votes. After a long, bruising presidential election, voters finally get their chance to choose between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. Polls show a Clinton lead of three to four percentage points, thanks in part to a surge in early voting by Hispanics.
US markets brace for turmoil.Regardless of the outcome of the election, the stock markets are sure to behave erratically. A Clinton win, which investors believe is more likely after the FBI cleared her (again) of email-related wrongdoing on Sunday, could push the S&P 500 index up by as much as 3%. If Trump wins, a huge sell-off of US equities could be on the cards; analysts say it would be more severe than the Brexit vote in June, which made the S&P 500 dive 5.3% in two days. But chin up! Here’s why you shouldn’t panic.

Optimism From Hillary Clinton and Darkness From Donald Trump at Campaign’s End
(NYT) Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump hopscotched from Pennsylvania to North Carolina to Michigan on Monday in the final, frenzied hours of the presidential campaign, offering clashing closing arguments as the sprawling map of the United States was reduced to a string of must-win states.
Accompanied by rock stars, ex-presidents, old friends and their grown children, the Democratic and Republican nominees pleaded with voters to end a traumatic campaign with an emphatic endorsement of their visions for the country.
In Philadelphia, Mrs. Clinton drew the biggest crowd of her 19-month campaign to the vast plaza in front of Independence Hall, where Bruce Springsteen, the balladeer of working-class America, rhapsodized about her values and the candidate portrayed herself as a protector of freedom and equality.

7 November
Those Insane Early Voting Lines Were a Direct Result of Republican Voter Suppression
(Slate) Millions of Americans eager to cast a ballot before the Election Day rush have stood in gallingly long lines during early voting as their overstuffed polling places struggled to accommodate increased demand. In a way, the lines were a nice symbol of democratic engagement, proof that citizens remain engaged after a miserable election season. But they also represented something much darker: voter suppression. Contrary to the suggestion of some election boards, these endless lines were not a fluke or a surprise. They were a direct result of the Republican Party’s recent, coordinated assault on voting rights. …
These endless lines are a symptom of voter suppression, and those who suffered through them are victims of the Republican war on voting rights. Our current crisis was carefully planned and plotted by GOP activists, officials, and politicians across the country, and set in motion the day the Supreme Court declawed the Voting Rights Act. It is now clear that one major political party has dedicated itself to suppressing as many minority votes as possible. What we are witnessing this election season is the fruits of that labor—the incontrovertible evidence that the right to vote is more imperiled in America today that it has been in half a century.

David Kilgour: If Clinton Wins, What We Can Expect
(Epoch Times) There will be more reorienting of American foreign policy towards “smart power,” by which she means choosing the best combination of diplomatic, economic, military, political, technological and cultural tools in any situation. The United States remains the “indispensable nation” for her, but she seems more committed than other contemporary presidents to reach out to her own civil society and those of other nations to build a world, as she puts it, with “more partners and fewer adversaries.”
In a section [of her book Hard Choices] on Europe and NATO, she notes: “Many Americans may take our relationship with Canada for granted, but our northern neighbor is an indispensable partner in nearly everything we do around the world.” A Clinton administration should aim much higher on a range of hemispheric issues, including the Arctic and NAFTA.

6 November
David T. Jones: What Does and Doesn’t Happen if Trump Wins
President Trump will remain what candidate Trump has been: a racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-immigrant, blustering bully. With his insult to Senator John McCain’s courage, while never himself wearing a uniform, Trump proved unqualified even to shine McCain’s boots. Trump is certainly intelligent (a stupid billionaire is a contradiction in terms) but massively ignorant of anything not business-tax related and uninterested in learning (dull) portfolios in foreign and domestic affairs. He will insult friends and enemies alike; taking foot from mouth only to change feet.
What will happen (not the day of election but with a Trump mandate and Republican control of Congress) is

  • Massive restructuring for federal agencies with Democrats removed and Republicans installed, which will result in line-and-branch rejection of Obama administration liberalism;
  • Selection of Supreme Court justices along the philosophical lines characterized by deceased justice Anthony Scalia;
  • Vigorous policing of the border with Mexico; building a physical “wall” is irrelevant, but control of borders is the existential test for national sovereignty; and the list goes on

Hillary Clinton’s Closing Argument Is Right—And Is Probably Enough
(The Daily Beast) The media keep finding faults, and she’s not out of the woods, but she’s putting in the work to activate and turn out voters, and end this terrible election with a satisfying win.
… this is the error the media so often make. Narrative and water-cooler chat probably aren’t as important as mechanics—identifying potential voters and getting them to vote. Democracy’s about votes, not news cycles. Thank God.
5 November
Record numbers of Hispanics are voting early to keep Trump out of the White House
(Quartz) Polling suggests 79% of Hispanics will vote for Hillary Clinton and early voting data indicates they are turning out in record numbers.
High turnout among Hispanics is critical for Clinton in battleground states such as Arizona, Florida, and Nevada. In Florida, Hispanic turnout in early voting is up 129% compared to 2008, according to CNN. Florida’s 29 votes are among the most important that are up for grabs this year. According to the New York Times it will be virtually impossible for Trump to win the election if he loses Florida.
Latino support won’t be enough to ensure a Clinton victory. Early voting data also indicates that turnout among African Americans, another crucial Democratic voting block, may actually be lower than it was in 2012. White turnout—Trump’s base—appears to be up from 2012. The horserace is not over.
Nevada’s Early Vote Ends With Massive Democratic Surge

Trump Goes on the Attack as Early Voting Shapes Campaign’s Final Weekend
(NYT) Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump are using the final Saturday before Election Day to make their closing pitches to voters, with Mrs. Clinton in South Florida and Philadelphia and Mr. Trump dashing to four states across three time zones — the sort of barnstorming tours presidential candidates traditionally have made in the last 72 hours before Election Day.

U.S. Govt. Hackers Ready to Hit Back If Russia Tries to Disrupt Election
(NBC News) U.S. officials continue to express concern that Russia will use its cyber capabilities to try to disrupt next week’s presidential election. U.S. intelligence officials do not expect Russia to attack critical infrastructure — which many believe would be an act of war — but they do anticipate so-called cyber mischief, including the possible release of fake documents and the proliferation of bogus social media accounts designed to spread misinformation.
U.S. military hackers have penetrated Russia’s electric grid, telecommunications networks and the Kremlin’s command systems, making them vulnerable to attack by secret American cyber weapons should the U.S. deem it necessary, according to a senior intelligence official and top-secret documents reviewed by NBC News.

4 November
Big Names Campaigning for Hillary Clinton Underscore Donald Trump’s Isolation
(NYT) When it comes to bolstering Mr. Trump, the Republican Party is not sending its best: As party leaders have disavowed him or declined to back his candidacy, Mr. Trump has been left instead with an eclectic group of backup players to aid him in his last dash for votes. Though polls show Mr. Trump drawing closer to Mrs. Clinton, the most prominent Republicans in key swing states still fear that his unpopularity may taint them by association.

Factbox: Governorships up for grabs in 12 states
(Reuters) Republicans and Democrats will battle in a dozen U.S. states that will hold elections for governor on Tuesday, and many of the races could be close calls

The Homestretch: With just a few days to go before Election Day, voters in Arizona—once a solidly red state—could have a major influence on the outcome if young and minority voters turn out to turn the state blue. Over in North Carolina, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and pop star Pharrell Williams got together to make one last appeal to young voters. And here at The Atlantic, James Fallows, who’s been blogging about Donald Trump throughout the campaign, closed his case against Trump and provided a reading list. What’s next? It’s in the voters’ hands.

3 November
Trump gains ground on Clinton: Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation
The race for the Oval Office tightened significantly in the past week, as several swing states that Republican Donald Trump must win shifted from favoring Democrat Hillary Clinton to toss-ups, according to the Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project
Trump must win both Florida and North Carolina to have a good chance of winning the White House. Clinton could lose both states and still win.

What we know about voter turnout so far
(PBS Newshour) In the final race to the White House, get-out-the-vote efforts are key. Judy Woodruff speaks with Cornell Belcher of Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies, Michael McDonald of the University of Florida and Mark Hugo Lopez of the Pew Research Center about the effectiveness of outreach efforts, particularly among minority voters.

An Oxford professor explains why Trump losing the presidential election will be bad for American democracy
Democracy relies on the support of both elites and the wider population for a shared set of key principles, such as mutual respect, rule following, and the willingness to keep defending the political systems, even after defeat. There is nothing about a Trump defeat that would strengthen any of these values. The focus of much analysis of the negative impact of a Trump presidency therefore misses the point: American democracy is likely to take a beating on Nov. 8, no matter who wins.
(Quartz) Trump’s refusal to play the role of a traditional politician has shielded him from having to be held accountable like one. The difference with Trump is that his supporters have already been primed to be responsive to criticism of the country’s political institutions. The combination of a voter base already suspicious of the national government and a campaign that has deliberately sought to play upon and intensify popular distrust of the political system has pushed many Trump voters to believe that a conspiracy has been enacted against their candidate.
Against this backdrop, a Trump defeat will not resolve the deep divide at the heart of American politics, but exacerbate it. Core Trump voters will feel that their deepest fears have been realized and will be doubly angry, first because of the intensity of their support for him and dislike of Clinton, and second because they will interpret his failure as a deep injustice. This is unlikely to result in post-electoral violence as some have feared, although isolated incidents are possible. Post-electoral fallouts are more likely to take the form of the more deeply held anti-system sentiments among Trump’s most ardent followers.

(The Atlantic) Who’s Voting for Hillary? With only days to go before the election, the future of the U.S. is also uncertain. Latino voters, who as a group are expected to support Clinton, could make a big difference—if they turn out. The same goes for black voters, whose early-voting turnout rates in the key state of North Carolina are lower than expected, and possibly reflect the structural barriers that the state’s voting laws—not to mention Hurricane Matthew—pose to these voters in particular. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has evidently alienated Millennials, as well as many older Republicans—though they might not say so in public. Yet not all the voters supporting the Democratic nominee are doing it just because of her opponent. Her strength and intelligence have also drawn her many fans; one of them, Chimamanda Adichie, explains why.

Voters Might Give Us a Trump White House and a Democratic Senate. What Would That Look Like?
(New York Magazine) The Senate going blue while the White House turns an orangish-red would not be the strangest thing that has happened this year. But it would have profound consequences. A Democratic Senate could absolutely keep a wacko bird Supreme Court nominee from being confirmed. And it could also potentially throw a monkey wrench into Paul Ryan’s plans to enact a comprehensive conservative agenda (including an upper-end and corporate tax cut, big reductions in low-income assistance, defunding of Obamacare and Planned Parenthood, the virtual abolition of Medicaid, a big Pentagon expansion, and plenty of other long-dreamed-of sugar plums for the right that Trump has indicated he supports) through a filibuster-proof budget reconciliation bill.
At a minimum, a Democratic Senate could ensure that a Trump presidency is not just a matter of intra-GOP negotiation between congressional conservatives who know exactly what they want and a president whose main interests lie in executive action — or frequent TV appearances from the Oval Office.

College-educated white women are Hillary Clinton’s firewall
One in five voters in 2012 were college-educated white women. Mitt Romney won them by six points, according to exit polls.
Our fresh Washington Post-ABC News Tracking Poll, which has Hillary Clinton ahead by just two points among all likely voters nationally, finds that Donald Trump is losing college-educated white women by 27 points.
If the Republican nominee were anywhere close to Romney’s 52 percent support level among this traditionally Republican-leaning constituency, he would likely win the election. But drilling into the crosstabs of our polling and reviewing credible, state-level data demonstrate how highly unlikely it is that this constituency will waver in the final days. It is one of the reasons that, even though the race has tightened pretty dramatically, Clinton retains a significant structural advantage.

Has the F.B.I. Gone Full Breitbart?
New reports reveal how the F.B.I. relied on an infamous Breitbart source as the basis for its investigation into the Clinton Foundation—and that agents see Clinton as “the antichrist personified.”
(Vanity Fair) The implications of an increasingly partisan F.B.I. are deeply troublesome. If Clinton becomes president, the bureau will likely become the primary tool of Republicans seeking to investigate her. The word “impeachment” is already on the lips of several lawmakers eager to resurrect the scandal-driven Clinton mania of the late 1990s. And if Trump becomes president, he may find in the bureau an army of sympathetic law enforcement officers ready to assist his political agenda—or vendetta, as the case may be. During interviews with The Guardian, published Thursday, a number of F.B.I. agents described an intensely anti-Clinton atmosphere at the F.B.I., with one characterizing it as “Trumpland.” Clinton, the agent said, is seen as “the antichrist personified” to many people within the bureau, and “the reason why they’re leaking is they’re pro-Trump.” (The Daily Beast) Meet Donald Trump’s Top FBI Fanboy — Trump supporters with strong ties to the agency kept talking about surprises and leaks to come—and come they did.

Just a little Canadian footnote:
A Trump Tower Goes Bust in Canada
(Politico) The failure this week of Trump Toronto showcased a familiar scenario: big promises, glitzy image, a Russian-born financier, aggrieved smaller investors – but few losses for the mogul himself.

Trump Plans Relatively Low-Key Election Night Party Because He’s ‘Superstitious’
(New York Magazine) Hillary Clinton announced last week that she will spend Election Night in a building with a literal glass ceiling, but Donald Trump is going with a far less metaphorically satisfying venue. The Trump campaign revealed on Wednesday night that his victory party will be held at the New York Hilton Midtown.
There’s nothing wrong with the Hilton (it has a solid 3.5 stars on TripAdvisor), but Trump’s name does not appear on the building and the candidate will not be able to do a super-classy escalator entrance. As the Washington Post notes, the party can’t be held in the Trump Tower atrium because it’s a privately owned public space. The city of New York fined Trump $10,000 for holding campaign events in that space.

NYT Opinion
Donald Trump — by far the most dangerous nominee in our lifetime — could win the presidency. That’s why I have urged everyone who sees him for what he is to do what they can over the next five days to prevent his victory.
But you should also do so optimistically. As Jim Messina, President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, notes in an Op-Ed this morning, the tightening national polls don’t deserve as much attention as they get. “The best campaigns don’t bother with national polls,” he writes.
Far more relevant are state polls (particularly state polls that use the most sophisticated methodologies, taking advantage of voter files, for example). And state polls continue to look strong for Hillary Clinton. Clinton leads by at least six percentage points in a group of states that would give her 263 electoral votes, seven shy of victory. She leads by fewer than six points in another four states that combine for 59 electoral votes.
To win, Trump would need a sweep of every state he leads (including Ohio and Iowa), as well as some where Clinton leads, like Florida, North Carolina and either Colorado or New Hampshire. In a few of these states, like Colorado, the early vote is encouraging for Clinton.
As I’ve mentioned before, through all of the campaign’s ups and downs, Clinton has never trailed, whether you look at state polling or national polling averages. Most of the poll fluctuations stem from people’s waxing and waning enthusiasm about responding to polls, based on the news surrounding their preferred candidate.
David Leonhardt
Op-Ed Columnist

LA Times
Experts are saying it would take a true bombshell in the emails investigation to charge Clinton.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said he has cast his vote for “our nominee” and that if Clinton is elected the next few years will be full of scandals like a repeat of the 1990s.
Michael Finnegan reports from Philadelphia that many black leaders have a hard time seeing Trump’s poll monitoring plan as anything but an attempt to suppress the black vote.
“Pretend we’re slightly behind.”
That’s how Donald Trump implored his supporters to behave as they get ready to vote in swing-state Florida.
Hillary Clinton was on the other side of the country in swing-state Nevada and had her own strategy to make sure her backers show up on Tuesday — paint Trump as basically hostile to minority groups.
For each, the question is of course about turnout, as well as about momentum at a time when the polls seem to be all over the place and anxiety is high.
As David Lauter writes, the 2016 campaign — after all the controversy and twists — is ending in a familiar way, almost identical to the last days of the race four years ago. The Democratic nominee is moving down the final stretch with a small lead, while the Republican scrambles to find a way to flip blue states.
Trump’s stump speech had a new twist Wednesday, as he urged voters who have “buyer’s remorse” after casting early ballots for Clinton to revisit their decision. As Seema Mehta reports, their ability to do so depends on what state they live.
Win or lose, Trump is in a prime position to either lead a remaking of the party he has upended or launch a new one, she writes. But if Trump does not win the White House, it’s not clear whether the Republican nominee will stay as actively engaged in politics as he has been in the many months of the campaign.

2 November
(Globe & Mail Editorial) Dear America: Please don’t vote for Donald Trump
For three-quarters of a century, we’ve looked to the United States for leadership and stability. America and its leaders are not always perfect; the Founding Fathers built your political system on a recognition that all human beings are flawed. America, like any country, has made missteps and mistakes; it has sometimes wronged others, and sometimes they have wronged it.
But over time, the United States has been largely a force for good in this world. In World War II, you saved democracy. You rebuilt Europe and Japan. You won the Cold War. You led the establishment of an international order based on freedom, democracy, law and trade.
Nobody has to make you “Great Again.” You’re already great. You’re already the indispensable nation at the centre of the international system. The Europeans can’t replace you, and while Moscow and Beijing would like to, no one on the side of freedom and democracy wants that. We don’t have an entire Justice League of superpowers to choose from. You’re it.
That’s why a Trump presidency sets alarm bells ringing. The international system can survive all sorts of minor countries going off the rails. Hungary is led by a man who proudly calls himself an illiberal democrat; the world shrugs. The Philippines is governed by a president whose every pronouncement is more intemperate than the last; the world laughs. But if Mr. Trump moves into the White House, America’s allies will neither shrug nor laugh.
Is Donald Trump Outflanking Hillary Clinton?
The Democratic nominee faces the risk that she has overestimated her hold on the states most central to her strategy
Hillary Clinton’s easiest path to an Electoral College majority does not include Ohio, Florida, or North Carolina.
Yet those three states all rank at the very top of the list of locales where she has invested the most time and advertising spending, especially in the campaign’s critical closing weeks. By contrast, the campaign has devoted very little advertising or time from Clinton and her top surrogates in several of the states that are part of her core strategy for reaching 270 Electoral College votes—among them Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, Virginia, and New Mexico.
The Clinton team’s decision to focus so much more attention on states that it wants to win—as opposed to those it believes it needs to win—represents one of the central, if often unremarked upon, choices of the 2016 election. It has allowed her to play offense for most of the general election, while forcing rival Donald Trump to spend most of his energy defending states more indispensable to his strategy than to hers.

The Party That Loses This Year Could Still Win A Big Consolation Prize
The 2018 midterms.
… in comparison to many other developed democracies, the United States actually has frequent federal elections. In Canada and Britain, a single party can govern for up to four or five years before voters get to weigh in. In the U.S., by contrast, no party can maintain unified control of the federal government for more than two years before facing the voters. After 2016, we’ll have midterm elections in 2018, less than 22 months after the next president is inaugurated. I certainly won’t call those midterms the “most important ever,” but they will have a particular importance: Control of the U.S. Senate, and possibly the House, could hang in the balance. For whichever party that loses the 2016 presidential race, 2018 is a big-time consolation prize.
Since the 1930s, one of the most dependable regularities in American politics has been midterm loss, a swing against the party of the incumbent president. Whether due to a reaction to the sitting president’s agenda or to voters seeking a counterweight to the president, the party not holding the presidency has made gains in the House in the midterm elections in every election but two since 1934
— Dan Hopkins, FiveThirtyEight, 12 October 2016

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