Tonight, the Most Fascinating Election in American History: the first - between two women who are battling for the very soul of America. Who will win, Election 2016?
Record turnout tonight in precincts all across America - in red states, in blue states, in swing states - cities, suburbs, small towns, and in the country.
Both women ran as populists. Both of them claiming to represent the "Real America."
Will it be - 69-year-old Hillary Rodham Clinton, the elder stateswoman, former Secretary of State, former Presidential candidate herself in 2008, her stinging primary defeat still not forgotten. The senator from New York, the First Lady in the 90s - 24 years in the public eye. 24 years of ups and downs. Mrs. Clinton has had a long love/hate relationship with the country. We have seen her through many reincarnations - the Controversial Wife, the Activist First Lady, She Stood By Her Man during the Lewinsky scandal, then- a politician in her own right, winning a Senate seat twice for the state of New York, then came her campaign for the Democratic nomination, she won the popular vote nationwide that year but lost to Barack Obama. She served as his Secretary of State for four years.
In the four years since she left his administration, Mrs. Clinton has taken on a new identity - now as a partner alongside her husband, an elder stateswoman, four years modeled ironically by another President - Richard M. Nixon, who suffered a defeat in 1960, then came back eight years later to win the White House.
She has been a supporter of Barack Obama's Presidency, which the Republicans are counting on will be her greatest political liability. He leaves office with mixed approval on the economy, but with high approval on his foreign achievements. He still remains personally popular, but leaving behind a racially divided nation - whites give him a 28% approval rating. Do the Democrats have a chance of gaining back the white vote?
Obama's re-election in 2012 was a nail-biter. He won and won barely. In 2014, the Senate went Republican, making it nearly impossible for him to do anything except... be the President. So he focused on the world - using perhaps the power that was always there. As a conservative commentator once told the British press, "It seems Mr. Obama has finally deserved that Nobel Peace Prize after all." 2016 has been an important year for the President. Despite his lame duck status, he has focused on bringing the world together and has succeeded. American popularity has soared around the world - the Middle East is closer than ever to a real and practical plan for peace. Will we see it happen?
As for the worldwide economic situation, it has improved, but we have not returned to late 1990s prosperity. Mrs. Clinton hopes voters will remember those times fondly. She promises a return to those glory days - with a different economy. Her economic plan she hopes will bring America closer into the 21st century than ever before. She has ran on education reform - a return to her time as First Lady of Arkansas when she pushed through unpopular reform that found success. She has straddled the center oh so closely - but never seems weak. The Democrats have basked in her image as a stateswoman that will fight for American interests - a continuation of her popular four years as Secretary of State.
If Mrs. Clinton wins tonight, she becomes the first President to have been Secretary of State in 166 years - not since James Buchanan has the American people elected a Secretary of State President. As Sarah Palin gleefully reminded us in her acceptance speech at the Republican Convention, "James Buchanan was the last Secretary of State to have been President - and he nearly destroyed the union. It took a Republican to save it."
Sarah Palin's comeback has been the other comeback of the year. She was the VP nominee in 2008 for John McCain, became "the Mother of Tea Party" and a post-feminist icon of populist conservatives. She has had her eyes on the Presidency since 2008. In the years since, she has been a reality star, a Mama Grizzly, a bestselling author, a Fox News pundit, and a daytime talk show host, the "New Oprah."
Seeing a vacuum in the world of daytime television, Mrs. Palin lobbied hard to network executives for a show on daytime. "Sarah," which consistently receives high ratings, has balanced both politics and culture. She has endeared herself to her fans and won some new ones. Even her critics and the media have been impressed. She has made herself popular.
Sarah is a celebrity, a different one than Mrs. Clinton but a celebrity nonetheless. She has undeniable star power.
Both women want so desperately to break that glass ceiling once and for all and go down in the history books as the first woman - the 45th President of the United States. She wants to be the woman that little girls for the rest of the nation's history look at with pride.
To do so, both women have courted women - Mrs. Clinton leads among older women, among Democratic women, among progressive women, among black women, among Latino women. Mrs. Palin leads among conservative women, Southern women, among religious women.
Here are the pre-election Polls:
Women over 50 favor Mrs. Clinton, 55-39.
White women are split, 46-46.
Black women for Mrs. Clinton, 96-2.
Latino women for Mrs. Clinton, 58-34.
Men are a different story. Both candidates, being women, have strategized and campaigned for the "men's vote".
Mrs. Clinton has hit the bars and taverns of Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. She's "re-introduced" herself to men, particularly white men. She's campaigned on a softer image - this is the "new Mrs. Clinton" - a 70 year old woman who still knows how to have fun.
Sarah Palin has done the same thing - she is more popular in the American Legions. She has wrapped herself in the flag.
The real story here might actually be younger men, men under the age of 30 - a group that usually does not receive much attention, in this election they could be the swing voters.
For men, the polls:
Men over 50 are tied, 47-47.
White men favor Palin, 57-35.
Black men favor Clinton, 97-1.
Latino men favor Clinton, 54-38.