America woke up to news of a stunning victory by Donald Trump, who gained the White House because of a sneaker wave of white, rural and anti-establishment voters. One commentator equated the Trump win to a primal shout from America’s heartland.
Hillary Clinton called Trump to concede well after midnight and before Trump had attained 270 electoral votes. Trump called on the country to come together and said the “forgotten people” in America wouldn’t be forgotten during his administration. He also pledged to help America reclaim its destiny, build world-class infrastructure and achieve stronger economic growth.
Tuesday's primal shout was greeted by plummeting futures in U.S. financial markets and dire predictions about Trump policies on trade, international relations and taxes. Republican congressional leaders, who managed to hold onto to control of the House and narrowly in the Senate, now must find a way to govern in partnership with their iconoclastic party leader after spending much of the campaign running from his shadow. Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a congratulatory message to Trump.
Despite pre-election predictions, Trump flipped the electoral firewall Hillary Clinton’s team anticipated as he won narrow victories in the battleground states of Florida and North Carolina, rolled to strong Rust Belt wins in Ohio and Iowa and captured nail-biter wins in blue states Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Exit polls indicated that undecided voters who showed up at the polls went 2 to 1 for Trump.
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin attributed Trump’s success to his commanding TV persona that “created a direct link with American voters,” almost regardless of what he said or what policies he advanced
Other commentators noted that Trump has political doppelgängers in other countries who espouse nationalistic, nativist views and kindle political kinship through social media. A Republican commentator wryly observed that Trump is the first presidential candidate to defeat both major political parties.
Democrats, who were salivating just days ago about keeping the White House and regaining control of the Senate, now face a grim reality of being shoved to the side aisle as Republicans have a clear path to repeal Obamacare, gut Dodd-Frank financial reforms and select conservative Supreme Court judges.
Clinton came close to busting through the glass-ceiling of the presidency, but her failure to excite elements of the Obama coalition, including African-Americans and Millennials, may have denied her the edge she needed to win key states such as Michigan and North Carolina.
There was evidence that Latino voters turned out in strong numbers, giving Clinton a victory in Nevada, holding Trump’s victory over Clinton in Texas to single digits and making Arizona a late-night projection. You could see the fingerprints of Latino voting in the apparent defeat of controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The higher turnout was linked to Trump’s call to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and his unflattering characterizations of Mexicans.
Massachusetts and California voted to legalize recreational marijuana use and Arizona didn't. California voters rejected repeal of that state’s death penalty.