As of Monday evening, one day before the election, all 15 major political forecasters tagged Clinton for the win. FiveThirtyEight.com was the most conservative, forecasting an electoral split of 272-268 in favor of Clinton with a 66% probability of success. The mood among Republican operatives, even the candidate himself, was despondent. No candidate in modern electoral history who polled so badly post Labor Day had ever won.
And yet, by 10PM last night, Trump won the three major states (Ohio, Florida and North Carolina) he had to win to stay competitive, plus enough of 6 more states to exceed 270 electoral votes by 2:30 AM. Clinton holds a 100K lead in the popular vote, which may flip in favor of Trump as states finalize vote tallies. The final electoral count will be 320 Trump to 218 Clinton. Republicans retain control of the US Senate and House of Representatives, plus choose the next Supreme Court Justice.
Clinton was the policy wonk to the end, but could not overcome three instances of bad judgement:
- Using a private email server for State Department business
- Allowing the Clinton Foundation to solicit gifts from foreign governments while Secretary of State
- Accepting 6 figure speaking fees from Wall Street banks
The optics were horrible, shifting 1-2% of voters in critical states and delivering Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and New Hampshire to Trump at the buzzer.