Tuesday, November 8, 2016 was an historical election day that concluded one of the longest and most divisive campaigns in American history. President-elect Donald J. Trump’s presidential victory capped a remarkable campaign cycle that defied many political pundits’ projections and polls. In addition to Mr. Trump’s victory, the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives retained their Republican majority, setting the table for the potential enactment of significant legislative and regulatory priorities of the Republican Party. In this article, we provide a 2016 federal election recap on what happened, why it may have happened, and project how this could impact the pest management industry.
From the time Mr. Trump entered the Presidential race in June of 2015, he seemed to disregard traditional political norms and overachieve when it appeared to many that victory was futile. Mr. Trump won the presidential election with 306 electoral votes to Secretary Hillary Clinton’s 232, easily surpassing the required 270. Despite what many experts and pollsters believed leading up to the election, Mr. Trump won a decisive electoral college victory by carrying the traditional swing states that a Republican President must win (Ohio and Florida), but he also expanded into traditional Democratic states and won Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and likely Michigan.
By winning states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan Mr. Trump broke the Democrat’s proverbial “blue wall” that had been held by the Democrats in all Presidential elections since the 1980s. Is this the beginning of a reshaping of the American electorate? It’s not quite clear, but what is known is that Mr. Trump struck a nerve with the American public as the candidate that represents needed change from perceived dysfunctional and corrupt Washington, DC political institutions. Mr. Trump’s message of fixing the economy, repealing healthcare, enforcing immigration and protecting national security from foreign terrorist threats resonated with a large number of new and existing voters that could remain loyal to the Republican Party for several election cycles if President Elect Donald Trump delivers on several campaign promises.
Leading up to the election, polling data predicted a Trump defeat and an easy victory for Clinton. Unexpectedly, a combination of Mr. Trump over-performing and Mrs. Clinton underperforming ushered in one of the biggest surprise Presidential upsets in American history. Mr. Trump exceeded expectations, expanded the electorate, and the Republicans retained control of Congress, signaling a significant victory. But to place the victory into perspective, Mrs. Clinton actually won the national popular vote by approximately 2 million votes but lost the Electoral College, only the fifth time this has occurred in American history. The popular vote is important to note and may require the public to temper expectations, because the split result between the Electoral College and the popular vote may make it more difficult to achieve agenda policy objectives despite a Republican-controlled Congress.
Lastly, Mr. Trump is moving quickly to determine his Cabinet and senior advisors. Trump’s recent Cabinet picks include Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary; Elaine L. Chao, Transportation Secretary; Tom Price, Health and Human Services Secretary; and Betsy DeVos, Education Secretary, with other picks including Stephen K. Bannon, Chief Strategist and Reince Priebus, Chief of Staff.