The BBC has Sports Personality of the Year; Time Magazine has Person of the Year; the Economist has country of the year. This blog, not wishing to be left behind, offers you number of the year. And even though we are only in April, the number of the year is clear. It is 55. To be more precise, it is 55 per cent.
As things stand, by the end of this year, Hillary Clinton will be President-elect and the United Kingdom will have confirmed its membership of the European Union. However, in both cases, a narrow vote will satisfy neither of the victors. For a real, lasting and effective triumph, both Clinton and the EU “Remain” campaign need to secure 55 per cent support.
Let’s consider the US first. For six of his eight years as President, Barack Obama has had to contend with a hostile Congress, with the Republican majority in the House of Representatives determined to thwart his reform agenda. In part this is because Obama had two terrible mid-term elections in 2010 and 2014. (In these, seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate were contested, along with 38 Governorships, though the Presidency was not. Members of Congress face elections every two years). But in 2012, the year in which Obama enjoyed a reasonably comfortable victory over Mitt Romney, the same voters elected 234 Republicans to Congress, and only 201 Democrats.