12:30 am Eastern Time
No doubt Trump will spin this election as a success for the Republicans — and himself. But facts have a liberal bias: the Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives and no longer hold a monopoly on federal power. And though they retained the governorships of Ohio and Florida — genuine victories — they lost the governorships of two other major states, Illinois and Michigan.
The House has subpoena power, and if the Democrats do their Constitutional duty, they will use it to thoroughly investigate Trump and his cronies. And Robert Mueller hasn’t gone away. He wasn’t going to make James Comey’s mistake and do something that might affect the election. But now that the campaign is over, I suspect we’ll see his report soon.
As a result of this election, democracy and rule of law have a fighting chance in this country. On that hopeful note, I bid all good night!
12:05 am Eastern Time
Despite intense interest in the Arizona races and bigoted Iowa Congressman Steve King’s fate (he’s currently tied), The Longtime New York Friend has turned in for the night. FiveThirtyEight.com projects the Democrats will win 35 House seats, slightly better than this morning’s projection, so I’m satisfied. Among the winners: Antonio Delgado in New York’s 19th. Two Muslim women have also won election to Congress, another sign that at least some parts of America can get beyond race.
11:35 pm Eastern Time
Kendra Horn has upset the Republican incumbent in Oklahoma’s Fifth Congressional District. Democratic House candidates are also winning races in Kansas and Iowa. The 50-state strategy works! The Democrats cannot forget that the way they did after Howard Dean gave up the party chairship.
11:15 pm Eastern Time
Cats are above all this nonsense.
11:05 pm Eastern Time
Andrew Gillum has conceded the governor’s race in Florida, and Stacey Abrams is running well behind her opponent in Georgia. But . . . FiveThirtyEight.com is now saying the Democrats are 100% likely to take the House of Representatives! Nothing was more important than that. Oh, and here’s a shocker: now that the polls have closed back home, Gavin Newsom has been projected to win the California governor’s race.
10:55 pm Eastern Time
With the polls closing in California — I’ll be home soon, everybody! — I’m watching New York’s 19th Congressional District, where Democrat Antonio Delgado appears increasingly likely to take the seat away from Republican John Faso. One of the most heartening aspects of a Delgado victory, if it happens, is that he’s a black man running in an overwhelmingly white district. Nice to think that sometimes, race isn’t an issue in America.
10:20 pm Eastern Time
Ted Cruz won re-election to the Senate in Texas, which was expected despite the hype generated by Democratic opponent Beto O’Rourke. And Mitt Romney (remember him?) won Utah’s open Senate seat. Will these erstwhile never-Trumpers show any independence from Trump? My money is on both of them eagerly kissing the emperor’s ring.
10:10 pm Eastern Time
Democrat Jared Polis has been declared the winner of the Colorado gubernatorial race. He will become the first openly gay governor in American history (although Kate Brown of Oregon is bisexual). And the Democrats have now picked up nine seats in the House — including a win in Staten Island, which drew a whoop from the Longtime New York Friend. FiveThirtyEight.com has improved their chances of attaining a House majority to 90%, better than their chances at the start of the night. Could the blue wave be gathering at last?
9:55 pm Eastern Time
Ahead of more state poll closures at 10 pm, FiveThirtyEight.com has increased the Democrats’ chances of taking the House of Representatives to 69%. Six seats have officially turned from Republican to Democrat — a quarter of what the Democrats need.
9:45 pm Eastern Time
Former Trump apparatchik Kris Kobach is running behind in the Kansas governor race. It would be sweet if he lost, but not sweet enough to make up for Florida — and now, it appears, Ohio, where Republican Mike DeWine has taken the lead from Democrat Richard Cordray.
9:30 pm Eastern Time
FiveThirtyEight.com has reduced the Democrats’ likelihood of winning the House of Representatives to 54%. I’m praying the following is an overstatement: as the House goes, so goes American democracy.
9:10 pm Eastern Time
Marsha Blackburn has defeated Democrat Phil Bredesen in Tennessee’s US Senate election. So much for the Taylor Swift Effect. Worse yet, Republican Trumpbot Blackburn replaces Republican Trumpscold Bob Corker.
8:52 pm Eastern Time
It looks increasingly likely that Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson will lose in Florida. And in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District, former Marine pilot Amy McGrath has fallen short against incumbent Republican Andy Barr, a big disappointment for the Democrats. The Democrats are now 62% likely to take over the House of Representatives — and I’m starting to regret trimming my nails this morning.
8:40 pm Eastern Time
The wave may indeed fall short. FiveThirtyEight.com has reduced the likelihood of the Democrats taking the House of Representatives to 64%.
8 pm Eastern Time
I’m back from a lovely dinner with the Fantastic Cousins in time for the first meaningful returns.
My cousins are just as apprehensive as the rest of us. They’re going to a concert tonight to keep their minds off the election as long as possible.
With 8% of the vote in, Stacey Abrams is way behind in Georgia. But it’s too early to draw any conclusions from that. In Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, considered a prime opportunity for Democrats to unseat a Republican, the Democrat, Jennifer Wexton, leads incumbent Barbara Comstock handily. The early returns in Ohio look promising as well. But Florida is scarily close; both Gillum (governor) and Nelson (Senate) are ahead, but barely. One anxiety is that the Blue Wave will form, only to land short of the shore. There’s still a chance that will happen.
9 am Eastern Time
I’ve been in New York for the last ten days. I’m currently staying with The Longtime New York Friend, who I also stayed with on November 4, 2008, the night America elected Barack Obama president. We’re hoping for a similarly gratifying result tonight — but are not expecting it.
Since 2016, we in the Silent Majority have developed a once-burned, twice-shy relationship with political optimism. We’re being told the Democrats have a strong chance of reclaiming the House of Representatives, and that several important governorships, including the one in Florida, will flip to the Democrats.
We’ll see about that.
I closely follow Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com. In case you don’t know him, he’s a 40 year-old statistical wizard raised in Michigan and educated at the University of Chicago. Love of baseball inspired him to develop PECOTA, a complex program that did an admirable job of forecasting future player performance. He worked with Baseball Prospectus for several years, but a growing interest in politics inspired him to develop a poll-aggregating methodology that more accurately projected election results than any single survey. In 2008, the only state in which his projection failed to match the presidential election result was Indiana. In 2012, he got every state (and DC) right. In 2016, he gave Hillary Clinton a 71% chance to win the presidency, which was wrong, but less wrong than his competitors, who typically gave Clinton a 90% or more chance of winning.
This morning, Silver says the Democrats are 88% likely to take over the House. He gives them just a 19% shot of winning the Senate, and considers it likely the Demos will lose at least one seat. For the three races I’ve contributed to, he rates Stacey Abrams just a 32% chance to win the Georgia governorship; Andrew Janz a puny 5% chance to oust Trump lickspittle Devin Nunes from California’s 22nd Congressional District; but Democrat Josh Harder a 77% chance to beat incumbent Republican Jeff Denham in California’s 10th Congressional District.
One out of three ain’t bad, I guess.
I don’t often do hot takes, but I’ll be updating this post as the results come in, just to memorialize the feel of the night. I’m not sure I’ll make it to 11 pm, when the polls close back home in California, but I’ll try my best!
And in case you’re wondering, yes, I voted. I cast my permanent absentee ballot two weeks ago.