Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

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Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Eldorion on Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:25 am

Election Night 2016:

The Passion of Cheeto Jesus



Good evening everyone, and welcome to Forumshire's exciting coverage of the climax of the 2016 United States general election. I'm your host, Eldo, and I'm just as sick of this shit as everyone else is. Fortunately, polls begin to close in less than 18 hours, so we are very close to being done with this campaign after more than a year and a half. The main story of the night is the outcome of the Presidential race between Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and technically a bunch of other people too. The more dramatic results will come from the handful of competitive Senate races, as whichever party holds a majority in the Senate will make a big difference in how much the next President will be able to accomplish, especially since the Senate are the ones who have to approve Supreme Court nominations. House Republican are more likely to retain their majority, so all you fans of divided government and gridlock need not worry. But the Presidency is what everyone's here for so let's get on with it.

First of all, the candidates:

"Crooked" Hillary Clinton


Donald "Cheeto Jesus" Trump


Gary "Aleppo" Johnson


Jill "Wi-fi" Stein


Egg McMuffin Evan McMullin


"Deez Nuts"


And of course everybody's favorite part of the Presidential race...

The Electoral College


I tried my hand at explaining the electoral college in my election night thread from four years ago and I'm not sure it went over that well but I'm lazy so I'll just repost some of what I wrote then.

Eldorion wrote:For those who don't understand the electoral college ... welcome to the club.  It's not generally a very well-understood institution.  The short version is that the Constitution does not say that the President is elected by the people of the United States.  Rather, each state is given a number of electoral votes equal to the combined total of their Senators and Representatives in Congress, and each state allocates their votes in a manner of its own choosing.  In this day and age that is done through state-wide elections.

Each state (plus the District of Columbia, where the U.S. Capitol is) casts all its electoral votes for the candidate with a simple majority in that state, except for Nebraska and Maine, which have hybrid systems.  The candidate with a simple majority of electoral votes, currently 270 out of a possible 538, wins the election.  This is true even if that candidate did not receive a majority (or even a plurality) of the national popular vote.  That is why state-by-state polling is more important than nationwide polling when trying to predict the President.

Eldorion wrote:One can't understand the electoral college by trying to figure out what the point is.  You have to try to understand what the point was in 1788 when the framers of the Constitution came up with the damn thing. Very Happy Basically, the framers didn't trust democracy, so they didn't want to leave the decision of who should lead the Republic in the hands of the common people.  In theory the electoral college was supposed to be a group of the most qualified and respected people in each state gathering separately in each state capital to discuss and ultimately cast their votes on who should be President.  That's why each state chose electors rather than directly voting for President.

However, the framers of the Constitution did not anticipate the development of political parties, even though it was many of the framers themselves who set up the first ones.  By 1796, the first election in which George Washington did not run (and thus the first contested election) the nascent parties both selected blocs of electors pledged for their candidates to run in each state.  It was coordinated nationwide and the electoral college became a rubber stamp.  In fact, when one of the electors voted for someone other than who he had promised to, he was roundly criticized for it.  A famous editorial called him out saying "I choose him to act, not to think."  That's basically how it still is.

The electoral college system was revised by the 12th Amendment in 1804 to fix some of the problems that arose from the unexpected party system, but the fundamentals of it remained the same.  There have been numerous proposals since then to reform the system or just do away with it entirely have a single national election, but it requires a constitutional amendment and those are really hard to do.  Also, some people still like the electoral college.  They're probably the same people who think the two-party system is preferable than a multi-party system (and there are a lot of people like this). Razz

Eldorion wrote:When someone votes for in the presidential election in America, they are voting for an elector or a bloc of electors from their state who will in turn cast a vote when all the electors in that state gather to cast their votes about six weeks later.  Originally this was much clearer, but in this day and age most states have the names of the Presidential candidate on the ballot alongside or instead of the names of the electors.

TL;DR the electoral college has literally never fulfilled its intended purpose but we keep it around because reasons. Because electoral votes are cast by humans it's technically possible for a faithless elector to tip the balance of an election, although it's never happened (and isn't likely to this year either) so no one really knows what would the response would be, though it's a safe bet it would be challenged in court.



What to expect (especially if this is your first election night)

Polls don't close at the same time in each state, with most of the difference being due to time zones. For obvious reasons, most of the states that close first are in the Eastern time zone. Votes are counted at the precinct level. News channels showing continuous coverage on election night will update the percentage of votes cast for each candidate in each state as more results come in, so you should always look to see what percentage of precincts have reported when looking at their graphics. The analysts employed by news channels will usually "call" states before the official results are finalized. This is done on the basis of exit polling, historical data, and of course precinct results as they come in. Sometimes they will call states that have historically been predictable solely on exit polling though, and it's not uncommon for the candidate a state is called for to have a fewer votes reported at the time the call is made. This is largely because analysts know which areas tend to vote for which party. I know it's kind of weird at first blush but these guys have a very good track record. In 2012, Karl Rove got mad at FOX News's data guys for calling the election for Obama so they sent Megyn Kelly down to the basement or wherever to interview them. This was probably the highlight of the election night coverage that year.



A similar disclaimer holds true for electoral vote totals. Nobody will call a state before polls close, but in recent elections everyone knows that the Democratic candidate will win California, Oregon, and Washington, which is 74 practically guaranteed electoral votes right there. A lot of the states that report the most the quickest are Southern and Midwestern states (though obviously there's the Northeast and mid-Atlantic too), so in 2012 for example Romney was ahead in called EVs for much of the early part of the night, but that didn't mean his prospects looked good, because he wasn't winning in many swing states, much less flipping reliably Democratic ones.


Speaking of swing states...

In each Presidential election, there are states that polling indicates are pretty much certain to go for one candidate or the other, and there are states where the race is tighter and harder to predict. These marginal states, more commonly known as swing states, are the ones that candidates focus on the most because they're generally needed to get to the magic number of 270 electoral votes (the simple majority required for victory). States that have received attention in this campaign as swing states include Nevada, Arizona, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Different sources often disagree as to which states should really be considered toss-ups, though. Generally speaking, Democrats have a much larger number of "safe" electoral votes and therefore have a much wider margin for error come election night.

Here's the forecast from Sam Wang's Princeton Election Consortium, which is one of the more reliable sources one can consult on these matters. Darker colors indicate safer states, obviously. Nebraska and Maine are cross-hatched because they are the only two states that are not winner-take-all. While it is very likely that they will be won overall by Trump and Clinton, respectively, there's a chance of one Congressional district in each state bucking the trend and giving one of the state's electoral votes to the other candidate. The only time this has ever happened is in 2008 when Barack Obama won the second Congressional district of Nebraska.


Eldo's quick and dirty method

Nobody will call the election until at least when polls close on the West Coast, which is 8 PM Pacific / 11 PM Eastern / 4 AM GMT. Since not everyone can stay up all night, there are some clear indicators you can look out for that, if they occur, will allow you to be confident in the outcome of the election relatively early in the night. So if Trump (a) loses Florida or (b) loses at least two of the following -- Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia -- then he has essentially zero chance of winning 270 electoral votes even if he does extremely well in the west. If Trump does in fact win Florida and/or at least two of the other four states, then the most important states to watch in the West are Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, and (to a lesser extent) Utah. Colorado and Nevada are increasingly reliable Democratic states but Trump needs to win them to have a shot at 270 unless he does phenomenally well on the East Coast and/or Midwest. Arizona is normally a deep red state but has been surprisingly tight in polling this year, which is probably due in large part to the growing Latino population in the state. Utah is also deep red but Mormons have been more intransigent in their opposition to Trump than most conservatives and independent conservative candidate Egg McMuffin could split the vote and hand the state to Hillary (or even win it himself), although that's looking less likely now than it was in polls a month ago.

What happens next

Usually the election is called the same night or in the early AM of the next day. Barring a very close result and recounts in key swing states, that will probably be the case this year as well. Donald Trump has implied that he might refuse to concede and has suggested repeatedly that he could only lose if the election is rigged. Fortunately, the losing candidate does not have to concede for the winner to move on with things. It is possible that Trump might try to launch some sort of legal challenge but it's hard to see how that would gain traction. So in all likelihood we will have our President-elect by the time most people wake up Wednesday morning.

The electoral votes are formally counted in Congress in mid-December and the Presidential inauguration will occur on January 20, 2017.
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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by halfwise on Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:44 pm

Nicely done, Eldo! I'm most curious about North Carolina - if it goes blue I may go to bed early; if it goes red I'm staying up late. Nate Silver seems to think Florida is more of a swing state this year, that will also be interesting.

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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by malickfan on Tue Nov 08, 2016 2:41 pm

Thanks for the explanation Eldo never really understood how the Electoral Colleges work, this will be the first US Election I've actually taken a serious interest in, I'm planning on staying up to 1.30-2 AM (UK time) so I probably won't be awake to get a clear idea of who the next president is, but I'm certainly interested to see just how close the results are in the Swing States. Not particularly enamored with either of the Candidates, Clinton seems robotic...but at least she isn't an insane racist misogynistic childish bufoon liar who could start a nuclear war...

Kinda hoping Trump is elected, it will make us Brits look slighty less stupid over Brexit

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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by halfwise on Tue Nov 08, 2016 3:24 pm

Some people think she's more likely to ignite tension with Russia over Syria. She's a hawk, make no mistake. But she's not a knee-jerk reactionist like Trump, so on balance I think she's safer.

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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Norc on Tue Nov 08, 2016 3:42 pm

yes! yes! we're doing this! thinking of joining a wake tonight actually. at Samfundet.

i honestly think trump's gonna win. it scary. and very yolo.
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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Nov 08, 2016 3:52 pm

{{{sadly it will all be too late for me- got an all day course in palliative care tomorrow (that I've already done about 6 times in my career Mad ) so unlikely to make up past 1, if that}}}

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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by halfwise on Tue Nov 08, 2016 3:57 pm

1 am British time is 7 pm here, which is about when polls close in North Carolina and Florida. There's a small chance those results will already be called (small chance because they are so close), at which point if they went democratic you may as well go to bed anyway. It's over. But I don't expect firm results until 10 or 11 pm here.

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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Norc on Tue Nov 08, 2016 4:05 pm

maybe i can join the wake and still get home with the last bus.. scratch
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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Nov 08, 2016 4:09 pm

maybe i can join the wake- Norc

{{Are Fjordian wakes like Scottish ones?- a generally drunken celebration of the persons life following their funeral (usually held in a pub or hotel with a bar or two)}}}

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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Norc on Tue Nov 08, 2016 4:14 pm

yes. valgvake. election wake. we stay up all night, discuss and drink.
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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Nov 08, 2016 4:34 pm

{{{Cool. Wish we had those here.}}}

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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Nov 08, 2016 4:39 pm

nice work Eldo. Thumbs Up

I think I might just wait until Wednesday morning, its going to be difficult to turn the tv on. pale I really hope its not going to be another brexit type fiasco.

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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by azriel on Tue Nov 08, 2016 6:07 pm

Another great piece from Eldo Very Happy At least when YOU explain anything I can absorb it better Smile I think that the UK public should have a vote seeing as anything American affects us quite a bit. We had that old running joke about Maggie Thatcher being in bed with Reagan, ( he'd have to get passed her Trident 1st Smile )

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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Eldorion on Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:07 pm

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Smile 8 PM Eastern / 1 AM GMT is probably too early to say anything for sure but there's a fairly good chance that enough key states will be called by 9 PM/2 AM that we'll have a pretty good idea.

halfwise wrote:Nicely done, Eldo!  I'm most curious about North Carolina - if it goes blue I may go to bed early; if it goes red I'm staying up late.  Nate Silver seems to think Florida is more of a swing state this year, that will also be interesting.

Yeah, I think NC is probably the most important one to watch. I don't think Michigan is as much of a swing state as some people have suggested; NC could go either way but of the swing states is one of the most likely to go for Clinton. I'm definitely curious to see how close things are in Florida. That will be a significant result in terms of evaluating the various election forecasts. BuzzFeed has an interesting piece about that up describing their rubric.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/jsvine/grading-the-2016-election-forecasts
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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Eldorion on Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:20 pm

malickfan wrote:Kinda hoping Trump is elected, it will make us Brits look slighty less stupid over Brexit

A Trump loss should earn us immunity from British complaints about how stupid Americans and/or our politics are for a while. Very Happy

halfwise wrote:Some people think she's more likely to ignite tension with Russia over Syria.  She's a hawk, make no mistake.  But she's not a knee-jerk reactionist like Trump, so on balance I think she's safer.

Yeah, most of my disagreements with Clinton come on foreign policy and they are significant, but Trump is worse by all of those metrics as well as several other ones (like waffling on our NATO and other treaty obligations).

Norc wrote:yes! yes! we're doing this! thinking of joining a wake tonight actually. at Samfundet.

i honestly think trump's gonna win. it scary. and very yolo.

I hear "wake" and I think like a funeral or mourning thing. Razz Hope you'll check in on Forumshire tonight as well!
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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Norc on Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:52 pm

i'll just stream the wake. i think some of it is in english. starts 21.55 (mt time) so in an hour
http://dusken.no/live/samfundsvake/#/
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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Amarië on Tue Nov 08, 2016 8:25 pm

Trump campaign sues in Nevada over Las Vegas polling place

Have fun, Norc, I am almost a little bit envious. Laughing

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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Norc on Tue Nov 08, 2016 8:51 pm

i don't think i'll be going as i cant walk home and i don't want to trade my virginity for a bed(that was a joke..) but i am watching the stream, and i suggest you all should too starts in four minutes. it's from inside studentersamfundet
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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Eldorion on Tue Nov 08, 2016 8:52 pm

They're barely even trying to disguise the racism here.

Nevada GOP chair: Polling locations open late so 'certain group' can vote - CNN

Also, thanks for the new custom title, Amarië. Laughing
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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Norc on Tue Nov 08, 2016 8:58 pm

it starts at 22 (like the proper fun stuff)
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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Eldorion on Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:01 pm

I'll probably be watching the BBC stream for most of the night. They apparently start at 18:15 which I assume they mean by Eastern time since it's already past that in the UK. I might not start watching that early though since there won't be any results yet.
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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Eldorion on Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:16 pm

I drove over to the local fire hall that's our polling location around 3:30 and the parking lot was pretty full but there was essentially no line inside. Apparently my mom (who lives in the next county over) had to wait 90 minutes to vote. IIRC my wait for the 2012 election when I lived there was about an hour but it's a much more populous county than where I am now.
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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:34 pm

{{Do they have exit-polling in the US?}}

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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:47 pm

They apparently start at 18:15 which I assume they mean by Eastern time since it's already past that in the UK.- Eldo

{{ 11.15pm GMT start on the BBC 1 schedule.}}}

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Re: Election Night 2016: The Passion of Cheeto Jesus

Post by Norc on Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:59 pm

My stream just started, really cool professor talking, had her last year, she could be a YouTuber. It's in english
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