2.40am Eastern: Many years ago, toward the end of the impeachment trial, my own senator, Bob Smith of New Hampshire, said of Bill Clinton:
He wins. He always wins. Let's move on.
Tonight, the Clintons did not win. And America is moving on, without them.
Likewise, in February this year, I chanced to dine with a very eminent Australian politician, who was utterly disbelieving when I suggested that Trump could win both the nomination and the presidency. My dinner guest protested in characteristically Australian fashion:
But he's a f*ckwit!
Well, the f*ckwit just won. From the Associated Press:
BREAKING: Donald Trump is elected president of the United States.
Aside from Brexit, Trump was right about his ability to "expand the map", too: No Republican has won Pennsylvania since 1988, or Wisconsin since 1984. But Trump just won both - and, as a result of that expanded map, will take office in January as the 45th president.
Hard to argue with this tweet from Dave Rubin:
Media which got everything wrong will now tell you all the things that will happen as a result of the thing they said wouldn't happen.
Here's what I wrote about Trump in July 2015, a month after he entered the race:
The Donald is not really a conservative, nor much of a Republican. He's given more or less evenhandedly to both parties over the decades, because, at Trump's level, that's just the price of doing business in a sclerotic and corrupt republic... Yet Trump, like other philosophically erratic politicians from Denmark to Greece, has tapped into a very basic strain of cultural conservatism...
And here's what I wrote last January, after seeing him live on stage in Vermont, a few weeks before the Iowa and New Hampshire votes:
For many conservative voters, 2014 was the GOP's last chance, and they blew it. For those conservative voters whose priority is immigration, 2016 is America's last chance, and Trump's the only reason anyone's even talking about that.
The "shy Trump voter", whose existence was denied by the pollsters, proved to be real. For those people, this was "America's last chance", and, in defiance of the polls and the media, they took it. As for the idiosyncratic campaign of their candidate:
Maybe Rove is right [about message discipline]. But as a practical matter it's led to the stilted robotic artificiality of the eternally on-message candidate - which is one of the things that normal people hate about politics. And Trump's messages are so clear that he doesn't have to "stay on" them. People get them instantly: On Thursday he did a little bit of audience participation. "Who's going to pay for the wall?" And everyone yelled back, "Mexico!" He may appear to be totally undisciplined, yet everyone's got the message.
Tonight the Democrats and the media and the #NeverTrumpers in his own party got the message, too: Donald Trump is President-Elect.
12.30am Eastern: Trump was right: It's Brexit, and the polls (right up to this afternoon's exit polls) were bollocks. And, as in Britain, the markets have shrieked in horror and hurled themselves off the cliff. Hillary had the money and the media, the ground game and the celebrities, and 100 per cent support from her party from the President down. And a fat lot of good it did.
11.40pm Eastern: Trump has just breached Hillary's "blue wall" and won Wisconsin. Democrats are reported to be "subdued" over at the Clinton "party" in New York, but the court eunuchs at US Weekly are still drooling:
Inside Hillary Clinton's Star-Studded Election Night Bash: Watch the Livestream, Get Exclusive Party Details
Katy Perry was there! And Amy Schumer! And Lady Gaga!
And all their presence - and Jay-Z's and Bruce Springsteen's and all the others with Hillary last night in Philly - all their glittering stellar presence does is emphasize Hillary's remoteness from where and how non-stellar Americans live.
As I've said all along, the Dems would have done better with Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. You need a candidate who connects with people, not with Katy Perry.
John McCain's electoral college total in 2008: 173
Mitt Romney's electoral college total in 2012: 206
Donald Trump right now: 254
Trump is 16 electoral votes from the Oval Office. Will New Hampshire return to the red column? My own Granite State town went for Trump over Hillary 60-35...
My big prediction: I think she'll win FL quickly; will be clear in early numbers. Then cable news will do a huge 180 on "long night".
Trump has just won Florida, along with Ohio and North Carolina. Four years ago, Mitt Romney won in total 206 electoral votes. Trump right now has 216.
If nothing else, he has done the republic a useful service by demonstrating you can wing an entire presidential campaign and still do better than Mitt and the entire consultant-industrial complex.
9.45pm Eastern: Real Clear Politics' psephological expert Sean Trende a mere three hours ago:
This is going to be a short night.
Has he gone to bed yet?
Right now, Dems are all over TV saying, "We always knew it was going to be a squeaker."
Really? Maybe you did, but a few weeks ago the media and the center-right commentariat were assuring us that Trump was going down to the worst defeat since McGovern in '72. That scenario seems to be off the menu, as are more recent predictions of Hillary ramping up an electoral-college tally in the mid-300s a mere three weeks ago.
We are now moving into perilous territory for the Republican Party: If Trump out-performs Romney but still loses narrowly, GOP voters will blame the #NeverTrump pundit class (Bill Kristol, George Will, Rich Lowry, etc) and those party elders such as Lindsay Graham, who voted for McMullin, and the Bushes, who left their ballots blank.
And, as I've been saying for months now, it's easier for the base to get itself a new elite than for the elite to get itself a new base.
8.15pm Eastern: Clinton 68 Trump 67 in the electoral college. But none of the states that will decide this thing have been called, and in the state that's make-or-break for Trump - Florida - Hillary has a small but persistent lead.
As for down-ticket, Democrat dreams of taking the Senate are fading fast.
6pm Eastern: An interesting (if true) exit-poll factoid from MSNBC's Steve Kornacki.
In 2012 27 per cent of Latino voters went for Romney; today 27 per cent went for Trump.
In 2012 71 per cent of Latino voters went for Obama; today 65 per cent went for Clinton.
Mr Kornacki also reports:
Whites w/ college degree Trump +1
2012: Romney +14
Whites w/out college degree Trump +36
2012: Romney +26
That's a lot of last season's Democrats and Republicans switching sides - or maybe, in the latter case, voting for the first time.
4.45pm Eastern: As you may have noticed, Hillary hasn't even taken the oath of office, and already SteynOnline has been down for much of the afternoon. It was some sort of attack, which we are investigating. The DNC blames Putin; Wikileaks leaks that it was Hillary's maid dusting round the back of the SCIF; and Anthony Weiner apologizes for crashing the site, but his latest selfie was a bit too high-res.
8am Eastern: I said on the radio in September that Trump will win, and I'm stuck with that prediction whatever happens. So feel free either to hoot and jeer or hail my prognosticatory genius in twelve hours' time - assuming, that is, we get any winner at all tonight: a Trump squeaker would almost certainly prompt the usual Democrat recounts and lawsuits all the way through Christmas.
On the other hand, David Angel tweets "It's over":
Whether or not "it's over", Dixville Notch is a pretty basic illustration of the arithmetic: Splits on the right deliver victory to Hillary.
Down ticket, if you look at the results on the board, in the gubernatorial race Chris Sununu crushed his Democrat rival; the Senate and House votes were four apiece for the Democrat and Republican. Were that to become the pattern of the day, Trump would be in big trouble.
He gave Clinton a closer run in a marginally more representative New Hampshire municipality, Hart's Location:
And let's not forget the third midnight vote - in Millsfield, which was a Trump landslide:
Unlike the photo-op vote in Dixville Notch, Millsfield (about ten miles down the road) is more or less a real town.
But hang on a minute, there's no electoral college of municipalities, is there? It's the statewide total that counts. So what's that add up to so far?
I think that's what they call outperforming the polls. If he can keep this up all day, he's home and dry.
~I hope to be done with Campaign 2016 by midnight, but, if not, join me for up-to-the-minute recount coverage every night starting in December on my brand new television extravaganza, The Mark Steyn Show. More details, including a great low-rate introductory price, here.