WASHINGTON – What, you thought this would be easy?
The 2016 presidential campaign is entering D-Day plus one, the outcome still in doubt in several battleground states. It could be a while before a winner is declared or one of the candidates concedes or claims victory.
Even after the voting is over, the counting continues. When it ends is anyone’s guess.
270 IS THE ONLY NUMBER THAT MATTERS
As Tuesday became Wednesday, neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton had secured an Electoral College majority of 270 votes. The last polls close in Alaska at 1 a.m. EST.
WHITHER THE CANDIDATES
Trump and Clinton remained in their New York hotel rooms Tuesday evening, Trump’s hopes growing by the hour as he picked off Florida, Ohio and North Carolina among states he must win to be elected.
Clinton held on in Virginia.
WELCOME TO YOUR NEW HOUSE
At some point, the current occupant of the White House is likely to reach out to the winner and invite him or her over for a chat. Remember that in the disputed election of 2000, George W. Bush didn’t make his first White House visit as president-elect until December.
It won’t be long after a winner is known that the first appointments will begin. The next president’s chief of staff is often among the first selected.
THE FIRST LADY/MAN IN WAITING
It’s not just the candidates who are in suspense, but their spouses as well. Melania Trump and former President Bill Clinton would both be unconventional choices. Trump, an immigrant from Slovenia, is a former model who rarely appeared on the campaign trail. Clinton would be the first man to be the president’s spouse as well as the first former president to serve in that role.
MERRICK GARLAND KEEPS WAITING
Merrick Garland’s chances to join the Supreme Court are dead if Trump is elected. He might get confirmed if Clinton wins, if Republicans in the Senate are willing to confirm anyone to the high court. President Barack Obama nominated Garland in March to take the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died a month earlier. But Senate Republicans refused to act on the nomination, saying the crucial choice to fill Scalia’s seat and influence the direction of the court should await the next president.
WHO ELSE WON?
Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, John McCain of Arizona and Marco Rubio of Florida all won re-election as the GOP sought to retain its Senate majority. Several critical races remain undecided.
In the House: Republicans are likely to remain in the majority.
California voters approved legalization of marijuana in the nation’s largest state.