Young Election Prankster Draws the Attention of the FEC

Let this be a lesson to young pranksters everywhere.

When 15-year old Iowa resident, Brady Olson decided to venture into the world of politics, he maybe should have started with running for class president, or something – not for President of the United States.

Some of you may remember Olson better for his brief, trending run under the pseudonym, Deez Nuts.

It seemed pretty funny, at the time.

Well, to a teenaged boy it was probably a riot, but to the Federal Election Commission, it’s likely a crime, and they’ve sent young Mr. Olson a letter, informing him of his impending troubles.

“It has come to the attention of the Federal Election Commission that you may have failed to include the true, correct, or complete committee name, candidate name, custodian of records information, treasurer information, and bank information,” the commission wrote to Brady Olson in a letter dated Sept. 27.

Let’s just take a moment to let this settle in.

Olson filed under the name “Deez Nuts” all the way back in July 2015. So after 2 full years and several months of contemplating it, the FEC finally comes to the conclusion that “Deez Nuts” probably wasn’t a real person? Seriously, what’s the big deal?

“Knowingly and willfully making any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation to a federal government agency, including the Federal Election Commission, is punishable,” the letter stated. “Commission may report apparent violations to the appropriate law enforcement.”

Oh.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say the punishment might be more than simply taking his driving privileges away for a month.

As it was, Olson – or “Deez Nuts” – withdrew from the race a month after making his big splash, once his age was revealed. At 15-years old, even if he’d used his real name, he would have been unable to run. The rules state that those running for the presidency must be at least 35 years of age.

After dropping out and throwing his support behind Bernie Sanders, the goofy youngster told Rolling Stone that he was against the two-party system, and didn’t want to see another Clinton or a Bush in the White House.

Let’s not let it get past us that at 15, he was born during George W. Bush’s run (something I doubt he has much memory of, beyond toy trucks and eating paste), and from about 8-years old, up until he pulled his dumb stunt, he was growing up during an Obama presidency.

Somebody got him “woke,” I suppose?

Well, I hope he’s “woke” enough, at this point, to face the consequences of his ill-advised prank.

The letter came after the FEC said last year that it was cracking down on “candidates” that include serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, “Master Alexander Soy Sauce-and-Taters,” “Butt Stuff” and Deez Nuts.

The FEC asked that Olson either confirm that he filled out the form correctly, which he didn’t, amend his earlier filing, or request that it be withdrawn, even though he could still face some sort of legal trouble.

I don’t know about the rest of those guys, but Olson has until November 1, 2017 to respond to the FEC.

Bernie Sanders Swipes at Hillary Clinton, With Hilarious Clarity

Rooting for injuries.

It seems the feud between former primary opponents, Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders isn’t quite done.

No, it’s not a blazing, all-out slugfest, but we can see that the claws aren’t fully retracted, either.

To recap: It all began during the primary season, leading up to the 2016 election. Everyone knew Queen Hillary was the heir apparent to the White House throne. After all, we were now the land of identity politics, not sound governance. President Obama, the first black president, was to lead to Hillary Clinton, the first woman president, and from there, it was to be a series of special interest groups, as chosen by the Democrat party, to be the “first…” something or other president.

First openly gay president… first openly atheist president… first blatant Communist president…

And if you think the Democrat party isn’t actively seeking the trifecta of all those rolled into one to run for the presidency, you haven’t been paying attention.

Anyway, Hillary was pitted against five other candidates – all male, of course – to set the stage for the empowered woman, beating back her male counterparts to rise the victor in the battle for the nomination.

Girl power!

Can’t you just feel the surge of feminist bravado at the thought of it?

Let’s face it. Neither of those five men were meant to offer any real challenge for the nomination.

Martin O’Malley, governor of Maryland, Lincoln Chaffee, a former governor of Rhode Island, a Harvard law professor named Lawrence Lessig, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, and Sanders, of course, were the lineup. None of them had the same name brand as Clinton (or a presidential husband, whose coattails they could ride on).

None were expected to be a real challenge, but only to give the appearance of a challenge.

Somebody forgot to tell Bernie.

One by one, candidates fell, until it was only Sanders and Clinton. When the WikiLeaks dump of Democratic National Committee emails happened, what at least appeared to be a standard course of primary events was revealed to be nothing more than an act, as the powers that be were proven to be working to get their identity politics champion of the moment comfortably in place.

For all the ugliness the 2016 primary season held on the Republican side of the aisle, the maelstrom between the establishment Democrats and the “Bernie bros” wasn’t very pretty, either.
Posts were resigned and rifts were revealed.

Fast forward to today, with an election over, and the Democrat party’s golden girl defeated, and what do you get?

Well, another Hillary Clinton book, this time, wailing about how her loss was everybody’s fault, except her own. In the book she also hits at her former opponent, Sanders, blaming him for dividing the Democrats.

You know, because it was Sanders who worked behind the scenes with DNC party bosses to make the primary to be less about the voters and more about installing their preferred candidate.

Oh, wait…

Sanders appeared on Stephen Colbert’s late night program last Thursday, and among all the usual talk of Sanders’ socialist idealism, was talk of the new book.

From Townhall:

Democrats have been dreading the release of this book and the news cycle it will create, which is a retelling of the party’s 2016 collapse that saw Clinton lose and the GOP become the dominant political force in the country. Yet, as some in Democratic circles still like Clinton, many are groaning the reopening of wounds between the progressive and establishment wings of the party that have never fully healed. One Hillary surrogate flatly said she should shut the f**k up and go home.

Ouch.

They’re not wrong, though. Hillary was just an awful candidate, and if she lost, it is because Americans are sick of the identity politics that kept President Obama afloat for two terms. She was not owed the presidency because of her gender. If she truly cared about equality, she’d realize that meant she had to earn it. Her book proves she hasn’t learned, at all.

When Clinton’s mention of Sanders as a dividing force within the party was brought up, the elderly senator didn’t want to dwell on it, but he didn’t let it go without a passive-aggressive smack, either.

“I understand, look, you know—Secretary Clinton ran against the most unpopular candidate in the history of this country, and she lost and she was upset about it. And I understand that,” he said. Yet, he added it’s time to go forward because there is so much at stake.

In other words: You lost to Donald Trump, lady, so maybe you should be looking in the mirror and considering just how bad you are!

It has to be a hard pill to swallow. She and Trump were the worst possible candidates either side could offer up, and when it came down to the very end, she couldn’t beat a lecherous, corrupt, old B-list reality TV host.

She’s the worst of the worst, and that’s saying something.

Joe Biden: “I Was the Correct Candidate”

What happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas, but it looks as if somebody forgot to give Joe Biden the memo.  While the former vice-president was there giving a talk to the SkyBridge Alternative Conference, the subject turned to the 2016 election–and what he said raised more than a few eyebrows:

Biden also added this:

No man or woman should announce for the presidency unless they genuinely believe that for the that moment in the nation’s history they are the most qualified person to deal with the issues facing the country,

More suprising, though, was his comment about the current state of affairs in Washington:

It’s gotten so personal but it’s going to come back because you can’t govern this country no matter who you are without generating a consensus.  It is impossible. The public is sick of it.

That he made such a statement without taking a swipe at Donald Trump is truly amazing.  Could it be that Uncle Joe is the most reasonable Democrat of all these days?  I don’t know–but I do hope that he means it.  He could use some redemption for telling a crowd during a 2012 campaign rally that Mitt Romney wanted to put people “back in chains”–and we need people of good faith from both sides to tell DC to stop the insanity.

Biden’s remarks about Hillary Clinton are also refreshingly candid, coming from a Democrat, and pretty much dovetail with what I’ve read about his dilemma over whether to seek the nomination in 2016.  The book Shattered:  Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign actually goes into quiet a bit of detail about the subject, with some aides wondering if Biden’s heart was in the race.  Doubts about that–about whether this really was his moment in history–likely contributed to Biden’s own decision not to run.

But there was a lot more to it than that, according to the book.  Even before Biden had made up his mind, Clinton had already outmaneuvered him by bottling up most of the campaign talent and almost all of the money:

Running like an incumbent from the outset, Hillary had geared her whole campaign toward depriving any other Democrat of the institutional support necessary to mount a challenge, from donors to superdelegates. She wanted other Democrats to be afraid to run against her, or to support any would-be rivals. It had worked with most of the Democratic Party, but Biden wasn’t going to be easily intimidated. The presidency he had been seeking for three decades was within his grasp, and he wanted to keep his options open as long as possible.

Even so, Clinton was worried about the possibility of Biden entering the race, and did her damnedest to make sure it didn’t happen.

Hillary had always seen Biden as a serious threat to run. From the moment Barack Obama won reelection in 2012, the news media focused on her, and Biden was, at best, an afterthought. This disinterest allowed him to operate under the radar and without the pressure of being a candidate-in-waiting. But Hillary knew that Biden still harbored presidential ambitions. After all, he had run twice before and certainly saw himself as the person with the most logical claim to Obama’s mantle.

Moreover:

The greatest danger Biden posed was his potential to strip away black Democrats in southern states and Latinos in the West from the strongholds Hillary was counting on. With Sanders firing up wild-eyed white liberals, independents, and millennials, Clinton couldn’t afford to cede delegates in the Deep South or the West. And Biden, as Obama’s vice president, might be able to make a credible case to African American and Latino voters that he was the true and rightful heir to Obama’s legacy. Plus, Biden was relatively popular with working-and middle-class whites who had backed Clinton over Obama in 2008 but were now flocking to Sanders—and to Trump on the Republican side of the race

That last part is pretty telling when you consider what happened on election night when the famous Blue Wall crumbled.  A lot of those working-class white voters that the Democrat Party had ignored during the Obama years had no taste for Hillary–and with no other outlet for their populist yearnings, they went for Trump.

Could Biden have changed that?  We’ll never know.  But Shattered does give us an ironic twist, reporting that it was ultimately the Benghazi hearings that convinced Biden to stay out of the race.  And it was, of all things, Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s big mouth that precipitated the decision:

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping,” McCarthy had said in late September. The remark was such an incredible gaffe—an outright affirmation that an entire congressional committee had spent millions of dollars politicizing the deaths of Americans to hurt her presidential hopes—that it factored heavily in the GOP’s deciding not to elevate McCarthy to Speaker of the House after John Boehner retired. “Between Kevin McCarthy and Bernie Sanders they bookended her on that, and may have just made it to where it would be really difficult to do anything,” one Clinton ally said after the debate. “I think that may have shaken Biden.” Whatever effect it had, the die was cast. On October 21, the day before the Benghazi hearing, Biden went to the Rose Garden, with Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden at his side, to announce that he wouldn’t seek the presidency. The collective sigh of relief from Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters was almost audible on the White House lawn.

So it’s very possible that McCarthy–the same guy who’s now in trouble for joking about Donald Trump geating paid by Vladimir Putin–may have tipped the election away from Clinton by keeping Joe Biden out of the race.

You couldn’t make something like that up if you tried, folks.

As to Biden’s political future, will he run for president again?

“Could I?” he asked.  “Yes. Would I? Probably no.”

I guess he’ll be keeping us in suspense until 2020.

“It’s so phony”: Hillary Clinton’s Shattered Dreams

I’ve often wondered what it is about politics that intrigues me so much.  It’s a repulsive enterprise in so many ways, filled with smarmy, backstabbing characters who, when they’re not kissing babies, are stealing their lollipops–and those are just the good guys.  I think it has something to do with why I’ve always been attracted to writing, specifically the mechanics of weaving together theme and story to produce a compelling narrative.  When you think about it, political campaigns are a lot like that, with the candidate playing the role of the central protagonist and the voters following his journey.  Even if the candidate is a flawed person, if he’s interesting enough you just can’t help but want to know how everything turns out–especially when the odds are stacked against him.

Then there’s Hillary Clinton.

Throughout her political career, it’s always been obvious that she had a singular goal:  to snake her way back into the White House by any means necessary.  What she couldn’t do, however, was offer a coherent reason why.  Oh sure, there was the power and the prestige.  And there was the chance to make history as the first woman president, just as Barack Obama had done as the first black president.  But in terms of why she should be the one to make that history, even her most ardent supporters would have a tough time explaining.  That’s because she never had a personal story people cared to hear–at least until one last defeat cemented her legacy forever.

The book that chronicles her rise and fall during the 2016 election is aptly titled  Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, and is now available to all you political junkies who have been salivating at the chance to get the inside scoop on the most stunning electoral upset of the modern era.  The Washington Examiner has a pretty good summary of the book’s main bullet points–some of which aren’t surprising, considering what we all knew about Hillary going in, but some of which are likely to set Beltway tongues wagging.  It’s the kind of thing that makes you wish you were in DC today just so you could watch the usual suspects in the Democrat Party rummaging through the index to see how their names are mentioned.

Among my favorite tidbits:

Hillary Clinton had a Trumpian attitude toward leaks from her 2008 campaign that she looked to shut them down as much as possible in 2016. After she lost the 2008 nomination fight to Obama, she had campaign hands fork over the main campaign server in order to conduct an “honest accounting” of what went wrong over the past year and a half.

 

“So she instructed a trusted aide to access the campaign’s server and download the messages sent and received by top staffers,” the book reports. “She believed her campaign had failed her — not the other way around — and she wanted ‘to see who was talking to who, who was leaking to who,’ said a source familiar with the operation.”

Paranoia.  A good trait in someone running to be leader of the free world.  Almost as good as not being able to take responsibility.

Two key Clinton staffers, campaign manager Robby Mook and Marlon Marshall, had a system for placating the candidate and her closest advisors: They’d do just enough to make it look like they were following orders to a T. In reality, they often ignored directives and acted on their own.

Initiative on the part of your staffers isn’t necessarily a bad thing–but plainly they didn’t have a lot of confidence in Hillary’s ability to make good tactical decisions.  You know, the same woman they were working so hard to get elected president.  Makes you wonder if they were planning to run the White House the same way if she won.

Clinton’s team asked [Bernie] Sanders during the general election if he would do an ad for their candidate. The senator agreed, but he refused to use the “I’m with her” tagline.

 

“It’s so phony,” he said.

 

Clinton’s team ultimately didn’t air the ad because, ironically enough, it felt phony.

And just like that, Crazy Bernie neatly summed up what was wrong with the entire Clinton campaign.  After all the focus grouping, polling, and committee-tested logos, and after all the introductions and re-introductions of Hillary 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0, the one thing they couldn’t do was convince America that there was an actual human being behind the image they had seen for the last twenty five years.

Perhaps they should have hired Bernie as a consultant.

The Candidate Who Wouldn’t Leave: Hillary Clinton Plans a Year of High Visibility

She really doesn’t want to go away, does she?

At her age, and with all that she can already claim on her resume, you would think she’d be ready to just sit back, somewhere nice and tropical, reflect on her life, enjoy being a grandmother, and finally keep a proper eye on Bill.

That, however, is not on Hillary Clinton’s agenda.

Fair warning for fellow bookworms: She’s planning on writing another book, to be released in 2017.

Because the last one did so well.

Oh. Wait…

Yahoo News reports:

The former secretary of state, senator and first lady is working on a book of personal essays expected to come out Sept. 26, Simon & Schuster told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The book, still untitled, is structured around hundreds of favorite quotations that have inspired her. The publisher said Clinton will use the quotes to “tell stories from her life, up to and including her experiences in the 2016 presidential campaign” and into her thoughts on the future.

“These are the words I live by,” Clinton said in a statement. “These quotes have helped me celebrate the good times, laugh at the absurd times, persevere during the hard times and deepen my appreciation of all life has to offer.”

I think drawing inspiration from thoughtful words of others is a wise move. A better move is actually getting in your life, by enjoying your family, getting away from things that have taken up too much of your time and energy (in her case, politics), and worry more about what the people who really matter in your life have to say.

That’s just me, though, and Hillary Clinton is nothing, if not ambitious.

Some have suggested that she is keeping her public profile up, in hopes of taking a third shot at the presidency in 2020.

Rather than be the kind of grandma that bakes cookies, babysits on the weekends, reads stories to, and spoils her grandkids, Clinton is going to be campaigning in the nursing home, it appears.

Along the way to releasing her latest book, she has speeches lined up for an International Women’s Day event, sponsored by Vital Voices.

Vital Voices is the initiative she, and then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright founded in 1997.

She’ll be speaking at a swank LGBT Community Center event in New York on April 20. On May 26 she will be giving the commencement address at Wellesley College, her alma mater.

She’s keeping her calendar full and by 2018, I expect the calls of “Run, Hillary, Run” to be deafening.

Las Vegas odds makers should gear up now to call the numbers on who leaves the most blood on the primary trail – Clinton or Elizabeth Warren.

Identity Politics: Democrats Did Not Learn the Lessons of 2016

Do you know why Democrats lost big in November?

Besides the fact that Hillary Clinton was a horrendous candidate, I mean.

Identity politics.

Hillary Clinton was owed the presidency, because she was a woman.

Likewise, before her, Barack Obama was owed the presidency because of the color of his skin.

These were the things that were wielded as weapons against the American people for the past 8 years.

Hillary Clinton couldn’t be a qualified, competent candidate, who just happened to be a woman, the same as Obama couldn’t be a qualified, competent candidate who just happened to be biracial.
No, for Democrats, they put all their chips on making straight, white males out to be the Great Oppressors. And if those straight, white males were also Christian?

WHOOO BOY!

After eight years of a president setting neighbor against neighbor, based on skin color or religion, crafting a narrative of rogue police officers, out to destroy minorities, America used this past election to push back.

So sick and tired of being lectured to and demoralized were the citizens, that they were willing to elect a caricature of who the Obama administration made them out to be.

When Hillary Clinton promised more of the same (Don’t you just want a woman president?), it became clear that Democrats underestimated the anger of the nation.

And they still don’t get it.

At a recent Democrat forum to focus on race relations, candidates for the Democratic National Committee chair showed just how clueless they are, as it relates to their trouncing in November.

The forum, hosted by MSNBC’s Joy Reid, included favorite Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.; former Labor Secretary Tom Perez; Democratic strategist Jehmu Greene; South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg; New Hampshire Party Chairman Ray Buckley; and South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison — all seeking to take over the top DNC post.

“First of all, the DNC has to acknowledge and respect that Black Lives Matter are responding to urgent social and justice problems in our country,” Ellison said. “What I would say the DNC needs to do is to offer itself, reform and make itself into the kind of place that Black Lives Matter feels it can channel its electoral energy.”

Black Lives Matter.

Electoral energy.

Let’s refer back to my previous reference to Democrats using identity politics and using race to beat people over the head.

Black Lives Matter are the absolute last group Democrats should be hanging their hopes on.

Still, if you don’t think the pandering could get worse, Sally Boynton Brown, Idaho Democrat Party executive director went pander super-nova.

“My job is to listen and be a voice, and my job is to shut other white people down when they want to interrupt. My job is to shut other white people down when they want to say ‘Oh no I’m not prejudiced, I’m a Democrat, I’m accepting,’” she said.

“My job is to make sure that they get that they have privilege and until we shut our mouths and we listen to those people who don’t and we lift our people up so that we all have equity in this country … we’re not going to break through this,” she said.

“This is not just rhetoric,” Boynton Brown said. “This is a matter of life and death.”

Speak for yourself.

You may feel that’s your job. That being said, it’s nobody’s job to listen. You’re imposing your own bias and internal struggle with your life situation on others.

People don’t like that.

Most people are basically good and they want the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

In the world of Democrats, there are three groups of people: The victim class (women, minorities, LGBT groups, non-Christians), the victimizers (white, heterosexual, Christian males or pro-life females), and the benevolent overseers, tasked with doling out protection and entitlement programs to even the score (Democrats).

That way of thinking has served Democrats in the past, but we’re in a different world now and the shtick has worn thin.

We’re tired.

Brown went on to double down on the self-loathing, with an added jab at her home state:

“I’m from Idaho, we are so white, so white, right? I have been reaching out and trying to connect to anybody of color I can find to be honest with me,” she said.

“I need schoolin’ … And I depend on you … to do that so I can go school the other white people.”

Woman, do you hear yourself?

That’s insulting on such a level that it defies terms.

And this is why Democrats will keep losing. They did not learn the lessons from 2016.

Retired Air Force Officer Blasts Clinton While in Uniform

In an egregious violation of Department of Defense policy, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel has recorded an ad critical of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton while appearing to wear a flight suit complete with unit patches and rank insignia. Wendy Rogers is a three-time Republican Congressional candidate in Arizona, and she most recently lost the GOP primary in the state’s 1st Congressional District in August. Rogers is also a retired Air Force pilot who was one of the first female pilots in the service.

“As a pilot in the United States Air Force, I was entrusted with classified information. We were always taught that you don’t send or receive classified information through unsecured channels,” Rogers says before going on to criticize Hillary Clinton for using a private, unsecured e-mail server to send and receive classified information.

Rogers was also taught that you can’t mix your uniform and politics.

A Department of Defense prohibition on wearing one’s military uniform while communicating a partisan political message is still very much in effect. A 2008 directive from the DOD explicitly outlines what is allowed and not allowed when it comes to political activity by active duty, reserve component and retired military personnel.

“Subject to any other restrictions in law, a member of the Armed Forces not on active duty may

[engage in political activity] provided the member is not in uniform and does not otherwise act in a manner that could reasonably give rise to the inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement,” DOD Directive 1344.10 reads.

The ad Rogers appears in is sponsored by Veterans for a Strong America, a group that has raised about $87,713 according to the Federal Election Commission. While the ad does not explicitly tell viewers who to vote for or against, the message certainly allows viewers to make the “inference,” to barrow from the DOD directive, that they – like Lt. Col. Rogers – should not vote for Clinton.

Rogers could try to skirt the issue of wearing her uniform by claiming that she is a retiree. But the DOD directive also includes guidance for those who have left military service. Paragraph 4.3.1.1 explains that while it is okay for former service members to mention their rank and service, “they must clearly indicate their retired or reserve status.”

Nothing on Rogers’ uniform indicates her retired status, nor does the scroll at the bottom of the screen disclose that she is retired. Her rank insignia appear on her uniform, and she identifies herself as ” Lt. Col. Wendy Rogers” without mentioning that she is retired.

Candidates and other public figures who are veterans may mention their current or previous military rank and service, and may include video clips or pictures of themselves in uniform, as long as they do not appear in uniform while talking in the ad, and as long as they identify that they are retired (if that is the case). They must also include a disclaimer that pictures or videos used do not constitute an endorsement by the Department of Defense. Rogers did include that mandatory disclaimer, but that still doesn’t authorize her to actually wear what appears to be a uniform while delivering a partisan or explicitly political message on camera.

In social media posts and on her campaign website, Rogers appears to pose with her Air Force jacket while wearing civilian clothes. She could try to say that she was wearing civilian clothes that couldn’t be seen in the ad, but if she wasn’t in uniform at all, she wouldn’t have had to include the disclaimer (which still doesn’t justify her actions).

By abusing her military rank and uniform, Rogers is helping fuel the call by some that senior military leaders always avoid partisan politics once they leave military service. That would be both a bad idea, and a violation of a long-standing American tradition of military leaders participating in politics and public policy once they have left uniformed service. But when military leaders like Rogers violate the trust of their oath by appearing in uniform to make partisan statements, they do threaten the civil-military relationship that respects the power of voters to elect civilian leaders who oversee the nation’s military.

What to Watch on Election Night

After almost two years in the making, Election Day 2016 is almost here. Thanks to Russia, WikiLeaks and the FBI, the election looks to be much closer than many of us thought it would be. Polling is close, but favoring Hillary Clinton. At this point, it is by no means a blowout and Donald Trump does have a chance of winning.

There are several very important races on the East Coast where polls will close first. The swing states of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia will all be among the first states in the nation to be decided. Virginia has been generally assumed to be leaning toward Clinton so the other three states are all must-win for Trump. Although wildly inconsistent, polling seems to show Clinton ahead in North Carolina and Trump leading in Ohio. Florida is a dead heat. If Trump doesn’t carry Florida, North Carolina and Ohio the race may well be over before polls close in the Central Time Zone.

There are also three blue states to watch that have been soft in their support for Clinton. Even if he wins all the swing states, Trump must flip at least one sizable blue state or states worth about 12 electoral votes to win the Electoral College. Some observers believe that Pennsylvania is his best chance to do that. If Trump manages to flip Pennsylvania and take the swing states, the Clinton campaign will have a long night.

New Hampshire and Maine’s second congressional district also give Trump a chance to peel off some of Hillary’s electoral votes. Polls in New Hampshire have closed in recent weeks with several polls showing Trump in the lead. These small prizes probably won’t decide the election, but could signal a shift in the electoral map.

There is also one traditional red state to watch. A recent poll in Georgia showed Trump with only a one-point lead. Other polls over the past few months showed a tight race in the Peach State. Georgia will probably rally toward Trump, but a Clinton victory there could mean a rout for Donald Trump.

In the central states, Iowa is the only traditional swing state. Trump is currently favored there and it is the most likely swing state for him to flip.

A bad night for Hillary Clinton might see close races in Michigan and Wisconsin. She is favored in both typically blue states, but by single-digit margins. Trump originally had high hopes of competing in these Rust Belt states, but was never able to gain traction.

The red state of Texas showed a tight race several weeks ago, but the gap has since opened in favor of Trump. Still, a large Hispanic electorate could mean problems for Donald Trump. If Georgia goes for Hillary, keep a close eye on Texas.

Moving west, there are four states to watch. Colorado and Nevada are traditionally considered swing states and both remain in tossup status. Colorado is favored for Clinton, but the race is very tight. The situation is the same in Nevada where Trump holds a slight edge in polling.

Arizona is another red state to watch. Over the past few weeks, Hillary Clinton was actually able to take the lead for a brief time in this border state that typically goes Republican. Trump regained some ground to take a slight lead, but is still running well behind Sen. John McCain (R) in his reelection bid. Like Texas, Trump’s weakness with Hispanic voters could cause him problems in Arizona.

The deep red state of Utah will be one of the most interesting states to watch. Native son Evan McMullin is mounting a surprisingly strong independent campaign and was in the lead for a short time. Trump is currently favored but uneven polling for third party candidates may mean that McMullin has a better chance than generally believed.

The presidential election is only part of the night. Equally, if not more, important, are several races to determine control of the Senate. Democrats need five seats to take control of the Senate and there are eight battleground races for Republican seats. The outcome here may be even closer than the presidential race.

Of the eight races, the Republicans are only the favorite in Florida where Marco Rubio should be reelected. The Democrats are favored in Illinois and Wisconsin. That leaves three tossup races in Missouri, New Hampshire and North Carolina. Indiana and Pennsylvania also recently moved from likely Democratic to tossup status as polling for the Republican incumbents improved.

Additionally, the Democrats are defending one Senate seat in a tossup race. Republican Joe Heck is fighting hard for Harry Reid’s seat in Nevada. The race has been within the margin of error of most polls.

In the House of Representatives, the Republicans are expected to lose seats, the big question is how many. There seems to be little question that Republicans will still control the House next term. This will provide a firewall against the Clinton agenda if Hillary wins and the Democrats take the Senate. It will not prevent Hillary from appointing radical judges, however.

Trump’s path to the presidency is a narrow one. Trump must win all of the swing states that are still in play plus at least one blue state. Hillary has an easier task. She can block him by winning Florida or North Carolina and holding Pennsylvania. The battle for the Senate is much less clear with six tossup races to watch.

One way or another, the long national nightmare of the 2016 campaign is almost over. We are about to embark on an entirely new one.