It’s been divisive, nasty and stomach-churning, but the US election campaign is over.
The final hurdle is a day of wall-to-wall television coverage as the country goes to the polls and professional pundits squeeze their last bit of analysis from the contest.
Everything that needs to be said has been said, but until the result is called, there’s time for one last waltz.
Below is a list of favourite phrases likely to be deployed frequently by the commentariat during the remorseless march to the end. If you want to be sure to be smiling by midnight, swig a drink when each insight is delivered.
‘The blue wall’ or ‘Hillary’s firewall’
The Democrats have a built-in advantage in the electoral college, ‘blue states’ covering vast swathes of the country that will vote for Clinton regardless of what she has done to her emails.
Eighteen states - and the District of Columbia - have voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1992.
Or so they say. Will Trump may find a crack in the ‘blue wall’? Michigan looks vulnerable, they’ll say, and if one falls ...
’It’s all about Florida’
Trump can’t win without Florida.
If you take those 242 electoral college votes banked from the “blue wall”, add those to the 29 Florida would give her, and Clinton’s almost home and hosed (the winner needs 270, which is a “magic number”. Drink!).
If Trump wins? Well, game on. Also watch for “it’s all about North Carolina”, the hipster alternative.
‘It’s just like Brexit’
A favourite go-to when all the polls point to a Clinton victory.
That’s what happened when Britain voted to leave the EU, they’ll say. Remain was expected to win, they’ll say. And they got it wrong, they’ll say.
Not quite right but it sounds persuasive. See also: “The polls got the British 2015 General Election wrong”.
‘That’s already priced in’
Probably talking about the Clinton emails, and how voters had made up their minds about her wrongness a long time ago, regardless of FBI chief James Comey admitting the later batch didn’t pass criminal muster either. For some reason, pundits like to use stock market metaphors.
Anyone’s ‘path to the White House’
Similar to the ‘blue wall’, the niceties of the Electoral College mean that Clinton has more “paths to the White House” - the quilted blanket of states she can stitch together for victory - and Trump has a “narrow path”.
’Clinton’s clearly favourite but I wouldn’t rule Trump out’
The classic pundit cop-out. They’re covered whoever wins.
’The only poll that matters is the one on polling day’
Drink! Drink! Drink! A hardy perennial deployed at any election, at any time, at any point, usually by a supporter of whoever appears to be trailing.
’Clinton has the stronger ground game’
The idea that the Democrats historically, and Clinton right now, are much better at the organisational stuff than the Republicans and Trump. Trump has Twitter, but the Dems boast functional regional offices, activists hitting the phone banks and door-knocking a go-go too. Allied to the likely winner having the “best get out the vote (GOTV) strategy”.
’Trump has momentum’
After the first Comey intervention, the polls tightened, Trump started to lead in key swing state polls and he even started to stay on message, a sign he had his dander up. The Big Mo! In politics, momentum is a prized commodity, though it’s debatable whether it matters.
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