“This election is about changing the nature of the political process,” political pundit Charlie Cook told the NAHB Board of Directors this week during the Midyear Meeting in Miami.
“In the end, the Democrats nominated who you thought they would,” noted Cook. Not so with the Republicans. “The GOP did not follow its pattern of nominating a known commodity.”
Cook expects the presidential race between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump to remain tight over the next two and a half months because of each candidate’s high negatives: Neither candidate is capable of winning by a large margin, he said.
“More people will be voting against someone than for someone,” Cook predicted.
Cook told members that a third-party candidate will not have an impact in the presidential election, because those voters would not have gone to the polls to vote for Clinton or Trump anyway.
Down the ballot, Cook believes that GOP voter turnout should be strong enough for Republicans to maintain control of the House, but with a smaller majority. Cook predicts Republicans will lose 10-15 seats, with the balance shifting to the right, making House Speaker Paul Ryan’s job even harder.
In the Senate, the GOP is not expected to fare as well, with 10 vulnerable seats giving it more exposure. The Democrats have just one vulnerable seat: retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). In the end, the Senate should be split 50-50, give or take a seat or two. Yet Cook believes the new Democratic leader, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), will have a better relationship with the GOP.
Cook, a former NAHB employee, concluded by thanking members for their hard work across the country. “You are the heart and soul of America.”