Click here for COVID-19 updates affecting the campus community

Unprecedented: Donald Trump wins presidency, America nearly goes fully red in 2016 election


trumpwin_8
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the James L. Knight Center in Miami on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/TNS)

To paraphrase the 45th President of the United States, it was a huuuuuge win.

In a turn of events which upset every recent poll, Republican nominee Donald Trump will step into a new office this January that has nothing to do with real estate or beauty pageants.

He'll be entering the White House.

"Now it's time for America to bind the wounds of divisions. To all Republicans, Democrats and Independents across this nation I say it is time for us to come together as one united people," Trump said during his acceptance speech early Wednesday morning. "I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans. This is so important to me."

He will be the first candidate in history to be president without holding any prior government office. Democratic presidential nominee conceded the race at 2:41 a.m. after the Associated Press put Trump over the 270 votes needed to secure the presidency.

Across the country and campus, the news was met with mixed reactions. For some voters, this election harkened back to the 2000 election — a contentious race between former President George W. Bush and then-Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore.

As the dust settles on the 2016 presidential election, what can Americans, and the rest of the world, expect from President Donald Trump?

Defying expectations

A native New Yorker, Trump was born the fourth of five children to real estate developer Frederick Trump and his wife Mary. Sent to military school at 13, it wasn't until he entered college at Fordham University did he begin his foray into real estate like his father.

In 1971, he gained control of the company, which he dubbed the Trump Organization. This was the start of a career which would launch Trump to super fame through massive hotel chains, beauty pageant, golf courses, resorts and more. Through amassing money, at certain points in his career hitting financial highs and lows, Trump set his sights on the presidency in February 2015.

No one could have predicted the chain reaction his campaign would have and how he would shake the foundation of the 2016 election.

Clinton racked up large majorities in the nation's diverse urban regions, while Donald Trump exceeded previous Republican margins in rural, whiter parts of the country. According to the Tribune News Service, Washington Bureau, for much of the night were too close to call — defying predictions by most polls and strategists in both parties that Clinton would win an early victory. 

By late in the evening, the result appeared likely to turn on three states of the nation's industrial belt: Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, with Clinton trailing and probably needing to win all of them. With Republicans also beating the odds in close Senate races, the party stood on the verge of controlling a united government. Amid unusually high turnout in several keenly contested states, Clinton received strong support from minority voters, especially Latinos, and did much better among college-educated white voters than any previous Democratic nominee.

Trump's presidential victory came as a shock to reputable polling organizations like the Real Clear Politics, FiveThirtyEight and 270ToWin. All predicted Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton winning in a landslide — taking home over 300 Electoral College votes.

By the time of this story's publication, Trump had attained the key 270 votes to secure the presidency. What he attained after our deadline is unknown — but it was not the cut and dry win news organizations like the Detroit Free Press and Los Angeles Times had been reporting the night of Nov. 8.

For some students, a Trump victory was a dream come true.

Grand Rapids senior Natalie Bohay said she had expected to "take the election pretty easily," but had a feeling by the time Electoral College votes for Ohio and Florida began rolling in that Trump would emerge victorious.

“Trump will bring back jobs and just make America great again — as cliché as that sounds," Bohay said. "My brain is going crazy with shock. The excitement I’ve seen at rallies and seeing how passionate people are really is awesome to see.”

Lansing freshman Ciera Wireman said she and her friend, Greenville freshman Natalie Nicholson, followed the election all night. The two expected the southern states to go for Trump early on in the night.

When the Electoral College map became more and more red, Wireman became nervous.

"(As)I saw the votes roll in, I kept thinking 'is this how want our country to be represented,'" she said. "Seeing him ahead of Hillary, it kinda sunk in. Once you start seeing the colors change, you wonder what happened in terms of voting."

Moving forward, looking back

Trump's push for the presidency, throughout the primaries until now, has been something of a dark horse narrative. Never thought to be a viable candidate by news organizations and political scientists alike, it wasn't until he clinched the party nomination did the world begin to look at the Republican candidate through a more serious lens.

Jeremiah Castle, political science and public administration professor, said a Trump’s impact on the Republican base capitalized on targeting specific, disenfranchised voters. It also made waves when it shouldn't have. 

Castle said he doesn’t think Trump's supporters are a new phenomenon. He said feelings of disillusionment with government, that an individual vote doesn't matter and government is corrupt, is not a new idea.

“The populist anger has been around a lot longer than Trump,” Castle said. “I don’t know if Trump built this coalition, so much as there was a ready-made coalition that he spoke to.”

The far right has been a staple of American politics for decades, Castle said, but Trump spoke to those voters in a different way. By doing so, he was able to capitalize on voters who either have never voted before due to their disillusionment with politics or who were considered "fringe voters." 

Although Trump won, there are still a number of Republicans who do not support him.

"The (Republican) Party is, clearly, badly divided (on Trump),” he said. “But the party still has a pretty strong incentive to stay united — retaining control of the House and the Senate."

Despite everything leading up to the election, Trump seemed hopeful for the future of the country and what his time in office could accomplish.

"I'm reaching out to your for you guidance and your help so we can unite our great county," Trump said. "Ours was not a campaign but rather an incredible and great movement made up of millions of hardworking men and women who want a better, brighter future for themselves and their family. America will no longer settle than anything less than the best." 

Share: 

About Jordyn Hermani

Troy senior Jordyn Hermani, Editor-in-Chief of Central Michigan Life, is a double major ...

View Posts by Jordyn Hermani →