Maine is more divided today than it was yesterday

Here’s your soundtrack. Or this one.

Good morning from Bangor. Is it morning yet? We see light, so we think so.

Like many of you, the Bangor Daily News team was up covering the election until an hour close to when we usually wake up. Sometimes the coffee just doesn’t cut it.

There’s obviously a lot of election news to unpack, which we will be analyzing in the coming days and weeks. To start, we’ll offer some hot takes on Election Day winners and losers.

Winner: Power of the people. When it came to the presidential race, pretty much all of the polls were wrong. When it came to the results, they were mixed. In legislative races, some Democrats won in towns that also chose Donald Trump and vice versa. Question 3, which would have implemented background checks for gun sales in Maine, lost despite polling that showed 70 percent or more support for the concept.

Loser: The so-called Establishment. Legal marijuana. An arch-conservative, anti-government Donald Trump in the White House. Ranked-choice voting. A rejection of background checks. Any way you look at it, election 2016 marked a sharp turn by the electorate away from government oversight and faith that policy crafted in government offices can improve people’s lives.

Winner: Maine’s new Republican power brokers. Everyone who endorsed Trump, from Gov. Paul LePage down to a number of legislative Republicans, did so against a strong current of polling and media reports that predicted Hillary Clinton would win the presidency and have coattails to carry down-ticket Democrats to victory. LePage predicted Trump would win statewide and secure three of Maine’s four electoral votes. That didn’t happen, but LePage’s boisterous confidence on the issue has him saying “told ya so” this morning.

Loser: Democrats. Not all the voting results are in, but it appears Democrats have held their majority in the Maine House and gained ground on Republicans in the Senate. That will go a long way toward their efforts to block LePage’s policy agenda, but the landscape at the federal level is obviously much different. Trump will have majority Republicans in Congress, which means he and his party can do whatever they want, short of stopping a filibuster. Expect to hear that word a lot. Here at home, the re-election of Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the 2nd District, over the well-financed campaign of Democrat Emily Cain, sets Poliquin up to do basically whatever he wants. Will Poliquin opt to remain in Congress? Will he make another run at governor in 2018?

Loser: Pollsters. Yeah, pollsters.Those Onion satires that show bad things happening to Nate Silver don’t seem so far-fetched now.

The big takeaway: Maine split, and it’s going to significantly alter the future of Maine politics. The trenches got deeper Tuesday and it’s hard to see progressives in the south and conservatives in the north expanding their base. The wider divide will add a new dynamic to statewide campaigns.

Even if the Republicans hold the Senate the House is probably going to have enough Dems to keep the constitutional officers. — Christopher Cousins and Michael Shepherd

Collins, King ready to work with a President Trump

With the election of Trump, Republicans also defended their U.S. Senate and House majorities. How the businessman will navigate this world is anybody’s guess — look at Gov. Paul LePage’s relationship with some Republicans in the Maine Legislature for how this can go.

Neither of Maine’s U.S. senators, Republican Susan Collins and independent Angus King, backed Trump, with Collins saying she’d write somebody in and King behind Clinton.

King said he’s “hopeful that the President-elect and Congress can work together to write a new chapter in American history … that begins and ends with the healing of our great national divide.”

Collins said he “faces the important task of reaching out to all Americans, supporters and opponents alike, to show that he is committed to healing the deep divisions that have frayed the social fabric of our nation.”

“My hope is that President-elect Trump will focus on issues that unite us and that together we can usher in an era of accomplishment,” she said. “I pledge to work with him in that effort.” — Michael Shepherd

Reading list

The first step to relocation

A sign seen Tuesday outside a photography business in Waterville: Free passport photos with your ‘I voted’ sticker. In related news, Canada’s immigration website crashed during Tuesday’s elections because of a crushing volume of visitors.

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.