We woke up to a new era in American politics this morning. Last night, Republican Donald Trump won the presidential election, and Republicans maintained control of the U.S. House and Senate.
That puts Trump in a very strong position to influence policy as well as appoint U.S. Supreme Court justices and roughly 4,000 other federal officials. To put it lightly, it's a major, major shift, and one that favors a very divisive figure in a nation riven with racial and economic tensions.
Further down the ballot in local elections, you'll find a different story. Democrats took a few key county offices and voters overwhelmingly passed a levy designed to vastly improve Cincinnati Public Schools and provide preschool to more low-income students.
But first, more about the presidential contest. Trump won (by current count) 279 electoral college votes, though right now, he looks to have lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton by a little under 200,000 votes.
He took Ohio with 52 percent of the vote. He lost in Hamilton County, where Clinton took 52.5 percent of the vote. Those results mirror Ohio’s other major urban counties, while the state’s rural counties went overwhelmingly to Trump.
Trump won support by more than 20 percentage points from white voters across the income spectrum, especially those in majority-white counties, while minority voters overwhelmingly favored Clinton. Overall, he won support from voters making more than $50,000 a year, while Clinton carried those making under that amount — many of them minorities or people who live in majority-minority counties — by 10 or more percentage points. Clinton won the college educated vote by 9 points, while Trump took non-college educated voters by 8. Here are some more demographic breakdowns of the election.
There were some heartbreaking situations for Clinton, including in Florida and Pennsylvania, where third-party voters could have handily tipped those states’ respective and vital 29 and 20 electoral votes toward Clinton had they voted for her instead. The majority of those voters, however, were for Libertarian Gary Johnson and were not necessarily ideologically compatible with Clinton.
• The numbers don’t tell the whole story, of course. Our president elect has never held elected office before and has elicited raging controversy over statements he made bragging about sexual assault. He has also been accused of actually assaulting several women. He has also caused outrage by calling immigrants “rapists” and "criminals," proposing a ban on Muslim immigrants, having been implicated in, and settling, federal lawsuits around housing discrimination against black people, losing nearly a billion dollars in a year through his businesses, admitting that he hasn’t paid federal income tax for long stretches of time, keeping ties with Russian dictator Vladamir Putin, winning endorsements from Ku Klux Klan leaders and white nationalist groups, encouraging violence against protesters at his rallies, and on and on.
His opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, was investigated by the FBI for her use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State. The agency found no evidence of a crime but did admonish her for being “careless” with some emails that may have contained classified information.
If that sounds like piling on, it’s only because this election is unprecedented in our modern political history — one that political journalism and modern polling failed abysmally to predict. We woke up to a new era in American politics this morning, an era where long-simmering angers and prejudices are not only out in the open, but soon to be enshrined in our nation’s highest office.
There are some ironies in the election this year, to say the least. Should he indeed lose the popular vote, Trump will have won the presidency espousing a deeply populist, establishment-bashing platform. But he will have gained the White House solely on the basis of the electoral college, a mechanism put in place by Founding Fathers as a bulwark against populist outrage, a mechanism that has been blasted as the ultimate in establishment elitism.These are the rules and absurdities of our system.
How do we make sense of this election? There are larger arguments about the increasing rate of changes to major political and economic systems across the world. But there are also very specific national, state and local dynamics at play.
We can start by going back to Trump’s rise and his nomination, as we’ve covered over the past year. From here, we’ll keep covering it — the deep anger, the economic anxiety and the racial invective that have brought America to this point.
Now to the rest of the election:
• Republicans easily kept control of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. In Ohio, Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Rob Portman thumped Democrat Strickland, running up a 21-percentage-point margin on the former governor. Republicans now hold 51 seats in the Senate — a one-seat loss — to Democrats’ 47, one higher than they came into the election with.
• Democrats picked up a forecasted seven House seats, not nearly enough to wrest control away from Republicans there, who now have a probable 241 seat majority. Ohio Republican Rep. Steve Chabot, who represents Ohio’s 1st District in parts of Hamilton and all of Warren Counties, got an easy 60 percent of the vote there. U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup, who represents Cincinnati’s eastern suburbs as well as rural counties in southern Ohio, picked up 67 percent of the vote to keep his seat.
• At the state-level House and Senate races, Republicans and Democrats got wins in the expected places — Dems Brigid Kelly, Alicia Reece and Catherine Ingram picked up seats in the urban 31st, 32nd and 33rd Districts, respectively, while Republican State Sen. Bill Seitz hustled around term limits to stay in the State House as the 30th District’s state rep. Republicans also picked up the 28th and 29th Districts’ seats, respectively, where Jonathan Dever won handily and Louis Blessing III ran unopposed. The GOP also grabbed the State Senate’s 8th District, where Lou Terhar took home 62 percent of the vote.
• Democrats did somewhat better locally. The party picked up control of the Hamilton County Commission, a sea-change in leadership for the county’s highest governing body. Incumbent Democratic commissioner Todd Portune won an easy re-election here, while Democrat State Rep. Denise Driehaus prevailed narrowly in her hard-fought challenge against Republican interim commissioner Dennis Deters.
• Other big wins for Democrats include a pickup of the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts seat by Democrat Aftab Pureval, who beat out now-former Clerk Tracy Winkler with a comfy and somewhat surprising 52 percent of the vote. Republicans pick up their own upset at the county level as challenger and former judge Norbert Nadel ousts Democrat County Recorder Wayne Coates from his seat. Democrat coroner Lakshmi Sammarco and Sheriff Jim Neil handily kept their jobs, though, both netting more than 60 percent of the vote. Finally, no shocker here, but Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, a Republican, beat out Democrat challenger Alan Triggs to keep the top attorney spot in the county.
• Finally, the Cincinnati Public Schools levy, which will provide more money for improved neighborhood schools and increase access to preschool for low-income students, was approved handily by voters in Hamilton County.
Results at a glance:
President: Donald Trump (R, 279 electoral votes counted)
Senate: Rob Portman (R, 58 percent of the vote)
House: Chabot (R, 1st District, 60 percent of the vote) and Wenstrup (R, 2nd District, 67 percent of the vote)
State Senate 8th District: Terhar (R, 62 percent of the vote)
State House 28th District: Dever (R, 58 percent of the vote)
State House 29th District: Blessing III (R, unopposed)
State House 30th District: Kelly (D, 68 percent of the vote)
State House 31st District: Ingram (D, 76 percent of the vote)
State House 32nd District: Reece (D, 73 percent of the vote)
County Commissioner: Driehaus (D, 50 percent of the vote)
County Commissioner: Portune (D, 58 percent of the vote)
County Prosecutor: Deters (R, 55 percent of the vote)
County Clerk of Courts: Pureval (D, 52 percent of the vote)
County Sheriff: Neil (D, 62 percent of the vote)
County Recorder: Nadel (R, 51 percent of the vote)
County Treasurer: Goering (R, 55 percent of the vote)
County Coroner: Sammarco (D, 63 percent of the vote)
Click here for judge races, local levies.
Issue 44 CPS levy: Passes (62 percent of the vote)
Issue 52 Hamilton County Parks levy renewal: Passes (69 percent of the vote)
Issue 53 Hamilton County Childrens’ Services levy renewal: Passes (71 percent of the vote)