November 8, 2016.
A campaign that spanned the better part of two years all came down to Tuesday evening, with the 45th occupant of the Oval Office to be determined.
Will Hillary Clinton eke this one out? Will Donald Trump pull off an upset? Soon enough, we will know who will be president come January.
We've had months to digest what each candidate brings to the table, their strengths and flaws, in what has become a political bloodbath.
You've had months to profess your not-actually-profound views on Facebook in hopes of influencing people who blocked you weeks ago.
Now it's time to get it done. Go exercise your civic duty. If you're on the west coast and wondering where do I vote, there's still time.
Go make it happen. Then sit back and watch the results roll in as this insane roller coaster takes its final turn toward the finish line.
Either way, history will be made in a presidential election like no other ... and either way, the deluge of absurd ads will be over at least.
Earlier this morning in Chappaqua, N.Y., Hillary Clinton became the first woman to cast a presidential vote for herself as a major party candidate.
She's all but certain to win the Empire State's 29 Electoral Votes against Donald J. Trump, who also voted for himself today in Manhattan.
While N.Y. State is not up for grabs, plenty of other states are, and national polls show a very tight race, with a modest Clinton advantage.
Will it be enough to carry her over the top?
Slightly more likely than not ... but if we've learned anything this year, it's not to count Trump and his galvanized movement of supporters out.
Seriously. Who would've guessed he'd make it this far - or that he'd rally from one campaign calamity after another to make this close?
UPDATE, 3:45 p.m.: The final projection of Five Thirty Eight, a leading political poll aggregator, suggests the following win probabilities:
As you can see, the site gives Clinton a 71.4% chance of prevailing tonight, based on state-by-state probabilities as indicated by color.
Other forecasters such as the N.Y. Times put Hillary's odds closer to 85% ... while the Huffington Post gives her a ludicrous 98% chance.
Our opinion is that 538's percentages are more in line with Trump's chances tonight. While he trails in the polls, he has reason for hope:
1. Polls are sometimes wrong. Usually, they're pretty accurate, but if Clinton leads by only 2-4 points, that's within the margin of error.
2. A relatively large number of voters still remain undecided. A 46-42% Clinton lead is more uncertain than a 51-47% lead, for example.
3. The bulk of Clinton's lead may come from states she has no chance of losing (California, Illinois, N.Y.) and won't help in the Electoral College.
They'll help, of course; 270 is the number needed to win, and those three count for a lot. But many other battlegrounds are perilously close.
Anyway, just a few hours until the first precincts close!
UPDATE, 8:15 p.m.: Clinton has won 68 electoral votes to Trump's 48, according to CNN. Trump leads the U.S. popular vote, 50-46%.
Wins for Clinton: New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, D.C., Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Illinois. All very much expected.
Wins for Trump: Oklahoma, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia. Also very much expected on the GOP side.
States too close to call, and to watch: Florida, where the candidates are going back and forth all night. And Florida, and Florida again.
The Sunshine State could be the kingmaker. What else is new? Also too close to call, and critical to either candidate's chances tonight:
Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, and New Hampshire. So far, both can point to plenty of data they can be encouraged by. Or worried by.
UPDATE, 8:32 p.m.: South Carolina and Alabama go for the Donald; Trump now trails in Electoral Votes, 68-66. Still no big surprises.
UPDATE, 8:50 p.m.: NBC has called Connecticut for the former Secretary of State and Arkansas for the businessman, making her lead 75-72.
As for the swing states? Florida looks to be leaning Trump, who is also running stronger than expected in Virginia; Clinton leads N.C.
Ohio also looks somewhat promising for the one-time First Lady, but plenty of Republican-leaning counties have yet to be fully counted.
UPDATE, 9:15 p.m.: Clinton will win her home state of New York, bringing her to 104 EVs. That's the extent of her good news currently.
Trump will win Texas, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas and four out of five Nebraska congressional districts. Total: 137.
More significantly, though, is the fact that Trump leads in every battleground state, including Virginia, which would devastate Clinton.
UPDATE, 9:43 p.m.: Trump continues to run strong in Virginia, Michigan and New Hampshire, all part of Clinton's blue state "firewall."
She needs to withstand the Trump surge in all of the above, plus Pennsylvania (expected to be tight as well) to maintain a path to victory.
Right now, in somewhat of a shocker, the insurgent outsider appears on track for an upset, with Clinton's prospects around 50-50 at best.
UPDATE, 10:02 p.m.: Montana goes for Trump, extending his lead by three Electoral Votes. Everywhere else? Same as the past hour.
Clinton has rallied to take the lead in Virginia, albeit narrowly, which (if she holds on) would stave off an unthinkable defeat ... for now.
Her dream of becoming the first female President of the United States appears to be slipping slowly from her grasp more by the hour.
Michigan, New Hampshire and Wisconsin - all places where she is currently trailing - could be potential breaches in her vaunted firewall.
Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, meanwhile, appear to be slipping away from her, which could mean a very, very long night for both.
Trump leads the national popular vote by more than one million at last count, and the mood at his headquarters is increasingly optimistic.
UPDATE, 10:17 p.m.: Missouri goes for Trump (149 Electoral Votes), and New Mexico for Clinton (109). Everywhere else too close to call.
UPDATE, 10:32 p.m.: Ohio and its 18 EVs go for Trump, extending his margin up to 167-109. Florida and North Carolina look good for him.
He still leads in Michigan and Wisconsin, with a win in either of those traditional Democratic strongholds likely to win him the White House.
UPDATE, 10:49 p.m.: Clinton wins Virginia, and Colorado, earning a vital 22 Electoral Votes and bringing her closer (167-131) to her opponent.
The Upper Midwest still does not look as promising, and she trails in New Hampshire as well, leaving her path to the presidency in peril.
UPDATE, 11:04 p.m.: Victories in California and Hawaii (offset by Idaho being called for Trump) have given Clinton a 190-171 advantage.
No one is breathing easier in her campaign war room, however; Hillary's path to 270, rather than Donald's, looks like the high wire act.
UPDATE, 11:20 p.m.: Clinton wins Oregon, while Trump takes Nebraska's fifth electoral vote and, at last, the coveted prize of North Carolina.
The current Electoral Vote tally: 197-187 for Clinton, but with an uphill climb and pretty much no margin of error for her going forward.
UPDATE, 11:35 p.m.: Trump wins Florida, the biggest swing state prize of the night, regaining the Electoral Collage lead at 216-197.
Where do we go from here?
There is a realistic scenario in which Trump wins Wisconsin, Clinton comes back in Michigan and pulls out Nevada and New Hampshire.
If that happens, and everything else falls into place according to current projections, the two candidates would end up in a 269-269 tie.
OR, because Maine awards two statewide Electoral Votes and one for each of its Congressional districts, Trump could pick one off and win.
UPDATE, 11:42 p.m.: Maine is still listed as a tossup, FWIW. Clinton has won Washington, narrowing Trump's EV lead to 216-209.
UPDATE, 11:50 p.m.: Georgia goes for Trump. 232-209 for the Republican, with 270 to win and Wisconsin moving toward his column.
UPDATE, 2:26 a.m., 11/9/16: Electoral Vote count: 247-215, in favor of the GOP nominee, who leads in most of the uncalled states.
It's not official yet, but we are looking at a scenario Hillary Clinton and most Democrats across this nation never even truly felt possible.
UPDATE, 5:30 a.m.: It's over. Victories in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Arizona officially put him over the top with 289 Electoral Votes.
Ladies and gentlemen, we give you:
Tell us in the comments: Can you believe it?! Was this who you voted for? Is the system rigged after all? Will he be an effective president?
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