- Crisis elections, where the assumptions of a generation are proven to be past their sell-by date and are overthrown.
- Validation elections, in which the new assumptions are overwhelmingly ratified.
- Anti-Thesis elections, in which a new coalition arises to challenge the assumptions and eventually breaks through.
- Excess elections, in which the anti-thesis is defeated, narrowly, by the knees jerking on the old assumptions.
America works on a generational cycle, tied to economic trends, so there are some elections that wind up fitting midway between these assumptions. Sometimes events do overturn the apple cart, like Watergate, which delivered Jimmy Carter (narrowly). These are the exceptions that keep people guessing, although I really do think Watergate itself drew extensive press coverage.
The point is that 2016 is a Validation Election. It has a lot in common with 1980, or 1948, or 1908, or 1868. In all those cases, the leader who led the nation through the crisis is off the stage, and the political movement they birthed – its assumptions or ideology, its media, its industry – must find a way forward without him.