Nov. 9, 2016
It’s real: Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.
The Republican nominee defeated Hillary Clinton, a stunning victory that concludes a stunning two years in American history.
“I will be president for all Americans,” Trump said at his victory speech in Manhattan after saying Clinton conceded. He vowed to “unify our great country.”
“Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream,” he said. “The forgotten men and women will be forgotten no longer.”
Trump will enter office after he pulled the country into one of the darkest and most fraught elections in decades, one that brought forth deep schisms within both parties, and one that he ultimately dominated with his personality, words, and actions.
Underneath the Trump show, the election centered on massive economic and demographic changes taking place that seem destined to alter US politics. But for now, there are still many, many white voters — and they have delivered the presidency to Trump.
What happens next is unclear. Much of the political and national security establishment opposed Trump, and Washington Democrats in recent days have said they do not have a plan for a Trump presidency.
Few, if any, expected Trump to capture the Republican nomination last summer when he entered the race. His running for president was seen more as finally making good on a long-held dare: Since the late 1980s, the New York real estate developer had teased a presidential bid.
In 2015, he launched one, and with the aid of a pliant cable television apparatus, articulated the clearest platform in the party: stricter immigration policies, less trade, law and order, no cuts to entitlement programs, and a shift away from social issues. Those positions offered a sharp, populist contrast with many in the Republican field, as well as conservative orthodoxy in recent decades.
And from the very beginning, Trump offered another contrast: his willingness to cross any rhetorical line, including making racist and derogatory comments about Mexicans, Muslims, and others. At times, he could be shocking but in an entertaining way — for instance, he gave out Senator Lindsey Graham’s phone number on live television to prove the point that only now did his opponents reject him — but his dark, anti-immigrant, conspiratorial overtones eclipsed all else at various points.
He said he would ban Muslim immigration and attacked the Muslim parents of a fallen soldier; he mocked a disabled reporter, accused a judge of mistreating him because the judge is Latino, and was heard more than a decade ago telling an entertainment reporter that he could grab women “by the pussy”; he threatened lawsuits, promised to loosen up the libel laws, and said soldiers would obey his commands even if they were illegal.
And still he won.
The defeat of Clinton — long expected to win this race by wide margins, despite the aura of controversy that never left her candidacy — defies expectations in recent months. It’s terrain that Clinton knows personally; she lost the primary she seemed guaranteed to win in 2008 to Barack Obama. But the candidate herself cast this election’s choice in existential terms, and herself as the “last thing standing” between us and the “apocalypse.” read more