HuffPost Editor: GOP Will Keep Senate Control

November 5, 2016

Despite polls showing close races in the Senate this election, Republicans will hang onto their majority, Howard Fineman, global news director for the Huffington Post, predicted on Saturday at the 2016 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando, Fla.

Howard Fineman gives his election predictions Saturday at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando, Fla.

Fineman, a veteran journalist who has covered national politics closely since the mid-1980s, credited “shrewd,” behind-the-scenes work by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky for keeping vulnerable Republicans competitive.

Fineman said there are too many unknowns in the presidential contest between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton to say who will take the White House. But whatever the outcome, Trump has exposed divisions among Americans that will not be closed after votes are cast.

Though both major parties still have a stronghold in Congress, the rise of independent money is threatening their grip in presidential elections. Trump’s run has also exposed the weakness of the mainstream media, which Fineman defined as broadcast TV and traditional print. Important stories during the election have been broken on social media and by online publications more often than by traditional news outlets, which has introduced more bias into reporting, Fineman said.

Trump in particular has leveraged this new media, especially Twitter, to speak directly to people, and that, along with his mastery of cable TV news, has made his candidacy what it is.

Fineman said people will have to be “their own editors” if they’re going to identify core truths in all the coverage that’s available today. Going forward, millenials offer the country a ray of hope, he said, because as they replace baby boomers in leadership, they will bring a different set of values. “Millenials might restore civility,” he said. Their generation embraces more of a “sharing economy and a sense of community.”

If that happens, he said, that will provide a breath of fresh air that’s needed after these two candidates—“the most unpopular pair since polling began in the ‘30s’’—leave the stage.

—By Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine