Seventh Inning, 2016

As the primary enters what’s most like the most boring part of a fairly boring game, it’s a good time to reflect on where we are and where we are going this election year.

If there’s one word for every election… 2016, it’s Trump. We have a candidate who’s never run for office before, has a long history of fame and business running from the semi-respectable to the downright despicable. And he might just take the Republican nomination. Or he might just flub it.

But forget Trump. 2016 has a lot of other issues that would be getting more coverage in any other year. The Senate looks to be competitive. The House has an outside shot, too. There’s a vacancy in the Supreme Court. A democratic socialist is running in a middling-to-strong second place to a woman for the Democratic nomination.

If there ever were an election season reflective of the times we live in, it’s 2016.

Given the early years of this millennium, the turmoil we’ve already gone through, 2016 understandably marks a return to semi-normalcy. If things remain somewhat stable moving forward, the country expects to move itself forward and the races reflect that. We have major business to do, from criminal justice reform to infrastructure to immigration to tax reform and beyond.

We have had, under President Obama, modest progress and a lot of stalling by the Republican Caucus in Congress. And Americans are hungry for a government that will return to business as usual, at least in the sense of making decisions and moving forward. We will see how this election turns out, but there is expectation that sooner or later the parties will begin to work together again.

But there is also this large amount of partisanship. This division. The campaigns for the Republican nomination and the Democratic nomination could not be more different. You have the Democratic candidates shaking their fists at just the sort of one-percenter the Republicans have as their frontrunner. You have the Republican candidates lashing out against just the sort of insider the Democrats have as their frontrunner.

You also have this strange dance playing out on the map, where in most cases Trump and Clinton do well in the same places and do poorly in the same places. Both won:

  • Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina, Virginia

Trump won four that Clinton didn’t:

  • Hawaii, Michigan, New Hampshire, Vermont

Clinton won three that Trump didn’t:

  • Iowa, Ohio, Texas

It’s likely that if Cruz weren’t from Texas and if Kasich weren’t from Ohio, only Iowa would stand out there (along with Trump having much better odds of clinching the nomination).

Anyway, we can expect that pattern to continue in New York, throughout the other states in the East.

What does it mean, though? Is it merely a bold indicator of the power of demographics in elections? Probably. It’s still interesting if only for that fact.