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POLITICO Playbook: Happy Election Day

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President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump departs a campaign rally for Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun in Fort Wayne, Ind., on Nov. 5. | Aaron Bernstein/Getty Images

DRIVING THE DAY

HAPPY ELECTION DAY. After nearly two years of PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP executing his vision for America, voters will get a chance to decide whether they are happy with the direction of the country, or if they want to break up Republican Washington.

BUT ALSO, today could mark the final gasp of a House Republican majority that was built in 2010 principally on repealing Obamacare, cutting government spending and opening up the legislative process. Now, eight years later, not only have Republicans failed to repeal Obamacare, they are getting hammered over their opposition to the Affordable Care Act and some of its key provisions on the campaign trail. Government spending is through the roof. And critics complain that the legislative process is as closed as ever before.

THERE IS NO TRUE geographical consistency to where Republicans are struggling. They have their backs against the wall in Southern California, suburban Chicago, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Georgia, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey and even Texas.

— CHARLIE MAHTESIAN: “10 places where the 2018 midterms will be won and lost”: “Upstate New York … Downstate Illinois … Delaware Valley … Orange County, California … Metro Atlanta … Las Vegas … Maricopa County, Arizona … North Jersey … Oakland County, Michigan … Greater Houston.”

IF REPUBLICANS LOSE THE HOUSE — which most insiders believe they will — look for the White House to make the argument that this was in line with historical norms. And there is some truth to that. But the economy is clicking unlike ever before, and giving roughly two dozen seats back to Democrats under those circumstances would be somewhat atypical.

WAPO’S PAUL KANE: “If Democrats seize the House majority, it will mark the third time in 12 years that the chamber switched control, a level of voter volatility not seen since just after World War II.” WaPo

FRONT PAGE OF TODAY’S POLITICO, banner headline: “Will it be a wave?”

A New York Post front page is pictured.

THE SENATE IS TIGHT, but most handicappers expect Republicans to keep or expand their narrow majority.

LINE OF THE DAY — WAPO’S JOSH DAWSEY (@jdawsey1): “‘The midterm elections used to be like boring,’ Trump said. ‘…Who ever heard of midterm?’ ‘Now it’s like the hottest thing,’ he said of midterm elections. ‘These people are making a fortune,’ he says of the media.”

THE NEW CONGRESS will come to town next week for its orientation. House Republicans will hold their leadership elections on Thursday, Nov. 14.

BEHIND THE SCENES … NO HEDGING HERE … DCCC CHAIRMAN BEN RAY LUJAN (D-N.M.) and HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI (D-CALIF.) held a conference call yesterday afternoon for hundreds of DCCC staff and volunteers. During the call, Lujan publicly declared he would be voting for Pelosi to be the next speaker of the House, according to a participant on the call. Lujan voting for Pelosi isn’t surprising, since the two allies have been working closely this entire cycle. But, it still sends a strong signal going into election night after months of coverage focused on candidates who have distanced themselves from the leader.

WHAT DEMOCRATS ARE CHATTERING ABOUT … NBC’S JON ALLEN (@jonallendc): “NEWS TO ME: I thought it took a majority of the House to be elected Speaker. It does not. Here’s how it works. Each member is called by name. When his or her turn comes, he or she calls out the name of his or her choice for Speaker. However, a member can pass …

“If a candidate for Speaker wins a majority of the votes of those who call out a surname during the roll call of members, he or she is the Speaker. It is not a majority of the whole House. If someone votes ‘present,’ his or her vote does not count.”

BUZZ: WE HEAR that several members of Congress are slated to fly to Paris later this week as part of a trip organized by the Ripon Society. The trip, which also includes K Streeters and corporate types, comes as leadership races will have just begun. And, we might not even know who holds the majority in the House. THE PRESIDENT is also scheduled to be in Paris this weekend.

CLICKER — “The Election in Pictures: Final Days of the Midterms” — NYT — 66 pix on one page

CHANGE IS A-COMING … WAPO’S ELISE VIEBECK: “A day before the election, some results are clear: The next Congress will be younger, more female and more diverse”: “A Latina state senator taking over for a white congressman in Texas who has served 13 terms. A politician of African descent poised to become Colorado’s first black member of the House. A female business executive joining Pennsylvania’s male congressional delegation.

“These likely Democratic winners in Tuesday’s House races are symbols of an incoming class of lawmakers that is projected to be younger, more female, more racially diverse and more center-left, a development that could transform the look and tenor of the party’s politics in Washington at a pivotal moment in President Trump’s first term.” WaPo

ESQUIRE’S RYAN LIZZA, “What If They Blow It? Democrats Contemplate a Red Wave Abyss: What if the darkest aspects of Trumpism—the racist appeals, the contempt for truth and facts, the assault on the press—not only survive a midterm correction, but are bolstered by it?” Esquire

… 454 DAYS until the Iowa caucuses. 728 DAYS until the 2020 presidential election.

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ICYMI … SEAN HANNITY did go on stage with the president last night in Missouri, although he tweeted that he wouldn’t do that earlier in the day. CNN

ELECTION DAY WEATHER FORECAST … As voters head to the polls, here’s the weather report from POLITICO’s own STEVE SHEPARD: It will be a rainy Election Day for the eastern third of the U.S. on Tuesday. A strong low-pressure system in the Great Lakes — and associated cold front stretching all the way into the Deep South — will bring rain and breezy weather from Chicago all the way to the Eastern Seaboard.

THE GOOD NEWS? The threat of widespread severe weather has decreased from Monday’s active night of tornado warnings, though some strong thunderstorms are possible from South Jersey south to Delmarva, North Carolina and into South Carolina.

THUNDERSTORMS could disrupt the plans of some voters in the competitive congressional races in Virginia, for example. Here in the D.C. area, expect a squall line with rain and gusty winds around midday, though it should be below severe limits and won’t last too long.

AS FOR WINTER WEATHER, a mix of rain and snow is possible in western Montana (home to competitive races for Senate and Congress) and the Iron Range of Minnesota, where Republicans have their best chance to pick up a House seat that offsets their likely losses elsewhere. Accumulations, if any, will be light, except at higher elevations in the Rockies.

ELECTION WATCH — Get the latest results on the election throughout the night with POLITICO’s analysis and biggest takeaways. ANNIE YU: “How to watch the 2018 midterm elections”Latest results House mapSenate map

FROM 30,000 FEET … JOHN HARRIS and ELIANA JOHNSON: “Will Trump shatter his own mystique?”: “One constant of Donald Trump’s ascent to the presidency and his two years in power is how behavior that would be not just risky but downright stupid for any normal politician ends up working smartly for him.

“This is the essence of the Trump Mystique — a three-year record in which he regularly demonstrated that many of the normal precedents, patterns and truisms of American politics simply do not apply to him. This mystique — Is it real or illusion? Is his patented sorcery still working? — is among the big questions being tested in Tuesday’s elections.

“Trump’s own decisions over the past month have put the issue — whether Trump has defied political gravity or merely delayed its impact — in even sharper relief than it would have been anyway.” POLITICO

— “Trump ‘hated’ his campaign’s closing ad and insisted on immigration pivot,” by CNN’s Jeff Zeleny

SNEAK PEEK — VP MIKE PENCE spoke with CBN’S DAVID BRODY yesterday on the campaign trail. PENCE on the midterms: “I think we are going to expand our majority in the United States Senate.” BRODY: “You do?” PENCE: “And I really believe we are going to hold the House of Representatives. But again, it’s being driven by the agenda that this president and our partners on Capitol Hill have been able to advance.”

BUT, BUT, BUT … TIM ALBERTA: “Trump’s GOP Braces for Midwest Massacre”

— JAMES ARKIN: “Trump scrambles to save the Senate: The president continued his campaign blitz amid late polls pointing to Democratic momentum in key battlegrounds.”

THE AWKWARD TRUTH — “‘No idea what’s going to happen’: News outlets prepare for midterm surprises,” by Michael Calderone and Jason Schwartz: “CNN … has rehearsed 16 scenarios of what might happen in Tuesday’s midterms. A red wave, a blue wave, a purple ripple — all have been covered in the run-throughs, which play out hypothetical election nights in real time. Some have stretched six, seven, eight and even nine hours long. … [In] 2014 … ABC, NBC and CBS only devoted an hour in primetime to midterm election results. This year, all three broadcast networks are running from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday, along with extensive coverage online. …

“[NYT politics editor Patrick] Healy said Times reporters would be careful not to let pre-written material — which reporters facing tight deadlines often prepare — lock them into storylines that could turn on a dime. ‘We don’t want to find ourselves at 11:45 p.m. with the narrative of the night about to take a sharp turn and not have a story that can get put together very quickly,’ he said.” POLITICO

— ZACH MONTELLARO: “Massive early voting totals create election-night X-factor”: “A staggering 36 million voters cast their ballots ahead of Election Day this year, setting the stage for much-higher-than-usual turnout for a midterm — and, potentially, big surprises on Tuesday night.” POLITICO

STATE OF THE ART … SCOTT BLAND: “House Dem candidates snag free rent”

ON THE GROUND …

— DES MOINES REGISTER’S WILLIAM PETROSKI and BARBARA RODRIGUEZ: “U.S. Justice Department sending personnel to Rep. Steve King’s district to monitor Iowa voting”: “The U.S. Justice Department said Monday it will monitor compliance with federal voting right laws by deploying personnel to 19 states, including Iowa, for Tuesday’s general election.” DMR

— “Kemp calls targets Abrams with false claims that she will ‘steal’ election with undocumented voters,” by CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski: “Republican Brian Kemp’s Georgia gubernatorial campaign is targeting Democrat Stacey Abrams with calls to voters in the final days of the election that feature several false claims. Among the falsehoods are claims that Abrams is trying to ‘steal’ the election with undocumented immigrant voters, that Abrams supports impeaching President Donald Trump, and that Abrams was endorsed by Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.” CNN

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BORDER TALES — “Border Protection is preparing for the caravan — with weapons and gear designed for combat,” by WaPo’s Alex Horton

TRUMP’S TUESDAY — The president has nothing on his public schedule.

YOU’RE INVITED — ANNA and JAKE are sitting down with top Republican and Democratic operatives for a “PLAYBOOK ELECTIONS: WHAT’S NEXT?” event to make sense of the 2018 midterms and what the takeaways are going forward. Speakers to be announced soon. DETAILS: Nov. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at The Showroom. RSVP

PLAYBOOK READS

Former President Barack Obama

PHOTO DU JOUR: Former President Barack Obama greets Democratic volunteers in a surprise appearance in Fairfax Station, Va., on Monday. | Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION — “Newly released emails suggest Zinke contradicted ethics pledge,” by WaPo’s Juliet Eilperin: “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke continued to engage in discussions involving his family foundation’s property in summer 2017 despite the fact that he had pledged to recuse himself from such matters for a year, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. At issue is an August 2017 email exchange with David Taylor, the city planner for Whitefish, Mont. Zinke authorized him to access the property and explained that he was engaged in negotiations with a real estate developer over building a parking lot on his foundation’s land.

“But under an ethics pledge he signed Jan. 10, 2017, Zinke vowed to step down from his position as president of the Great Northern Veterans Peace Park Foundation after winning confirmation and refrain from participating in any matters concerning the group for one year. Zinke won confirmation on March 1, 2017, but state records and the foundation’s 2018 annual report listed him as continuing to serve as a foundation officer months after that. Zinke later said the foundation’s report was in error.” WaPo

— “Trump hedges Zinke support amid probes,” by Zack Colman, Eliana Johnson and Ben Lefebvre: “President Donald Trump offered less-than-effusive praise Monday for embattled Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, while saying he might not ‘be happy’ with the outcomes of the investigations into Zinke’s behavior. ‘I’m going to look at any reports, I’ll take a look,’ Trump told reporters when asked if he was troubled by recent news reports about Zinke, which have included a potential Justice Department criminal investigation and growing scrutiny of a land deal involving the chairman of Halliburton. ‘Certainly, I would not be happy with that at all. But I will take a look. But he has done a very good job as secretary.’ …

“Allies inside and outside the administration have begun to distance themselves from Zinke. But even as those problems mushroomed, a former White House official told POLITICO on Monday, Zinke continued to pitch himself for more prominent jobs in Trump’s administration — including as a possible replacement for Pruitt at EPA.” POLITICO

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HQ2 TO VIRGINIA AND QUEENS? … “Amazon Plans to Split HQ2 Evenly Between Two Cities,” by WSJ’s Laura Stevens and Shayndi Raice: “Amazon.com Inc. plans to split its second headquarters evenly between two locations rather than picking one city, according to a person familiar with the matter, a surprise decision that will spread the impact of a massive new office across a pair of communities. The driving force behind the decision to build two equal offices for ‘HQ2’—in addition to the company’s headquarters in Seattle—is to allow it to recruit more of the best tech talent, according to the person familiar with the company’s plans.” WSJ

HEADED SOUTH … “LePage’s future plans: Move to Florida, take teaching job,” by the Portland Press Herald’s Kevin Miller in Augusta, Maine: “Gov. Paul LePage said Monday that he plans to move to Florida for tax reasons and teach at a university there regardless of who Mainers elect to succeed him.

“‘I’ll be a resident of Florida if Janet Mills wins, I can promise you that,’ LePage, referring to the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, said with a smile one day before Maine voters head to the polls. ‘I’ll also be in Florida if Shawn Moody wins because I am going to retire and go to Florida,” he said. ‘I am done with politics. I have done my eight years. It’s time for somebody else.’” Press Herald

MEDIAWATCH — “NBC and Fox finally stop running Trump’s racist ad after it was viewed by millions,” by CNN’s Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy: “NBC and Fox News said in separate statements on Monday that their networks will no longer air the Trump campaign’s racist anti-immigrant advertisement.

“NBC was first to announce the change, doing so after a backlash over its decision to show the 30-second spot during ‘Sunday Night Football,’ one of the highest-rated programs on television. ‘After further review,’ NBC said, ‘we recognize the insensitive nature of the ad and have decided to cease airing it across our properties as soon as possible.’ Fox soon followed suit.

“‘Upon further review, Fox News pulled the ad [Sunday] and it will not appear on either Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network,’ ad sales president Marianne Gambelli told CNN in a statement. The ad ran about a dozen times on Fox News and Fox Business, combined, before being pulled. Facebook also came under scrutiny for letting the Trump campaign run the ad on its platform. On Monday afternoon the company said ‘this ad violates Facebook’s advertising policy against sensational content so we are rejecting it. While the video is allowed to be posted on Facebook, it cannot receive paid distribution.’” CNN

— “LinkedIn Is Now Home To Hyperpartisan Political Content, False Memes, And Troll Battles,” by BuzzFeed’s Craig Silverman

— “Loaded With Data and Whiz-Bang Effects, Maps Are the Real Stars of Election-Night TV,” by NYT’s Michael Grynbaum and John Koblin: “Buckets of voters. Obscure swing counties. How John King, Steve Kornacki and Bill Hemmer bring the numbers to life with their magical ‘boards.’” NYT

PLAYBOOKERS

SPOTTED: Boris Epshteyn having lunch yesterday with Zac Moffatt at Ahra Cafe & Sandwich Bar in Rosslyn … Kelly Ayotte yesterday at Logan Airport.

BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Arne Duncan, managing partner of Emerson Collective and former Education secretary, is 54. What he’s been reading recently: “‘Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,’ by Bryan Stevenson and ‘Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America,’ by James Forman are two extraordinary books I’ve recently read. Both books are full of nuance, and remind us there are no easy answers to complicated questions. But Stevenson and Forman also powerfully point us in a different direction than our current course, one toward a more fair and just society.” Playbook Plus Q&A

BIRTHDAYS: Dan Senor is 47 … Sid Blumenthal is 7-0 … Andrew Snow … Eric Schulze, WH deputy research director (hat tip: Adam Kennedy) … Rob Jesmer, partner at FP1 Strategies and former NRSC executive director … Catherine Crier … Ruth Messinger, former president of American Jewish World Service … POLITICO’s Louis Nelson is 3-0 … Ana Estes … Katie (Niederee) Rosborough … Eric Mondero, gov’t relations at American Red Cross … Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) is 77 … Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) is 62 … Marlon Bateman, senior media relations manager at Hoover Institution, is 3-0 (h/t James Hewitt) … Alison Patch of APCO Worldwide … Bob Grand … Mychal Denzel Smith … Ashley Lewis, the Democratic press secretary on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs …

… Whitney Mitchell Brennan, comms director for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) … Alan Dechert … Andrew Saul, former vice chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is 72 … Arun Chaudhary, creative director at Revolution Messaging, is 43 … Matt Kirk … JoJo Sears … Rick Nussio … Sheila Walter … Scott Anderson … LaCreda Drummond-Mondon … Ramesh de Silva … Ian Braun … NPR’s Eric Deggans … Diana Banister … McKinsey’s Keaton Bedell (h/t George Malkin) … Christopher Joshua Arndt … Ben Wrobel … Julia Moseley … Gray Brooks … NBC’s Gresham Striegel … Michael Beland … Trish Turner of ABC … Angelica LaVito … Chris Fitzgerald … Burson Taylor Snyder, deputy COS for Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) … Andrew Weinberg is 55 … Suzanne Granville … Sara Bowlsby … Tommy Norman (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)

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