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Politics & Government

Week in Review: Sifting through Election 2016

Cheyna Roth

In this Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the results of Election 2016, now that the dust has had time to settle.

Trump’s surprise win  

A Republican hasn’t carried Michigan in a presidential election since 1988. Pre-election polls showed Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump, at times by double-digits. In the end, Trump won by the slimmest margin in the state’s history.

Lessenberry says he was surprised by how well Trump did in counties where Democrats typically win. He says Trump’s win shows Michigan voters were ready for a change.

The Electoral College

Clinton lost both Michigan and the presidency to Trump, but she did win the nation’s popular vote. The outcome has some questioning whether the Electoral College is a good system. Lessenberry says he used to think so, because, “normally it magnifies the result and ensures stability.”

But now, after the second election in 16 years where a candidate was able to capture the the presidency despite not having the popular vote, Lessenberry says he’s changed his mind.

“If this pattern continues, I think there’s going to be an awful lot of discontent. Especially if Clinton’s margin is really sizable over Trump,” he said.

Southeast Michigan says “no” to the Regional Transit Authority millage

Voters in southeast Michigan shot down a four-county millage that would’ve brought historic transit improvements to Metro Detroit. The millage won support in Wayne and Washtenaw counties but was voted down in Oakland and Macomb counties.

Lessenberry says the millage lost because of non-support from Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.

“They officially took no position, but they let people know they were really against it," Lessenberry said.

Looking ahead

Michiganders will head to the polls for another big election in 2018. Voters will decide on a new governor, state attorney general, secretary of state, and the entire state House and Senate will be up for election. Given Trump’s victory and a number of other Republican wins in Michigan on Tuesday, it seems like the stage is set for the state to stay pretty red in the coming years.

But Lessenberry thinks things will go the other way.

“Voters normally turn against the party in power in the first off-year election, whether [the party] is Republican or Democrat,” he said.

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