Donald Trump Wins Presidency After Grueling Election Night
by Alexander Chen on Friday, November 18th, 2016
10 p.m., 11 p.m., 12 a.m.… all too close to tell. At around 2 a.m. Eastern Time, on Thursday, November 8, 2016, America broke a barrier. This barrier was not Hillary Clinton’s glass ceiling of gender equality, but Donald Trump’s barrier of 270 electoral votes. Losing the popular vote but winning in electoral votes, Donald Trump won the 2016 election, becoming the first man to win the presidency without any previous military or political experience. Although polls expected Clinton to win many swing states by a small but important margin, Trump defied the odds by winning key battleground states such as Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio. However, the GOP did not only win the White House. The Republican Party maintained its control of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the latter having been heavily contested by the Democrats.
With control of the legislative and executive branch as well as the ability to choose the next Supreme Court justice, the Republicans now hold all the cards. Americans may see the end of NATO, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), Planned Parenthood, LGBT rights, and women’s reproductive rights in the future. While the future of America may seem unclear, one thing is for certain — Love did not Trump Hate.
The evening started at 6:30 p.m. when polls closed in parts of Indiana and Kentucky. At 7:00, Indiana and Kentucky fully closed polls. Additionally, polls in the southeastern United States, including the key state of Florida, Virginia, and Vermont closed. Almost immediately, networks called Trump winning Indiana and Kentucky and Clinton winning Vermont. At 7:30, North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia’s polls closed. Quickly, West Virginia was handed to Donald Trump.
By 8:00 p.m., polls in the rest of the east coast, excluding New York, and most of the south closed. Clinton, unsurprisingly, won DC, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, Illinois, and Rhode Island. Trump won Mississippi and Oklahoma. At this point, Clinton was leading by about 20 electoral votes. By 9:00 p.m., the majority of battleground states had closed their polls, leaving the West Coast, a generally blue region, as the only states with open polls. As the night progressed, the election began to deviate from expected polls. While Trump and Clinton won their expected respective states, many of the battleground states remained “too close to call” until the very end.
Around 10:30 p.m., major news networks like CNN and The Associated Press reported that Trump won the first major battleground state: Ohio. With Ohio, Donald Trump held a 60-electoral vote lead over Clinton. Virginia and Colorado soon went to Hillary Clinton. With Clinton behind by around 40 electoral votes, Trump’s chances of winning the presidency quickly begin to increase; the New York Times and fivethirtyeight.com both gave a Trump victory at least a 50% chance. Around 11:00 p.m., Clinton won California, and Trump won his second battleground state of North Carolina. The election got even tenser with Clinton leading by only a few electoral votes. With Clinton not leading as pre-election polls predicted in key battleground states, like Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, and Michigan, Americans saw the chance of Clinton’s historical victory fading.
Winning Florida and Iowa around 11:30 p.m., Donald Trump secured a comfortable lead of 20 electoral votes. By 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Trump, winning the swing state Georgia, led by 30 electoral votes, despite Clinton’s win of Nevada. In order to win, Clinton, with a less than 5% chance of winning according to the New York Times at this point, could not lose Pennsylvania or Michigan. By 2:00 p.m., Trump won Pennsylvania, needing fewer than 10 additional electoral votes to win. Seeing the inevitable, Clinton called Donald Trump to concede the election according to multiple news networks. At 2:31 a.m., the Associated Press, projecting Donald Trump to win historically blue state Wisconsin, a state pre-election polls predicted to go easily to Clinton, announced that Donald Trump had been elected president of the United States.
The Congress told a similar tale. The House of Representatives were kept in Republican control. In addition, the Senate was narrowly returned to Republican control. While two states flipped to the Democrats, Democratic hopefuls Katie McGinty of Pennsylvania, running against incumbent Pat Toomey, and Jason Kander of Missouri, running against incumbent Roy Blunt, both flopped, despite polls giving both reason for optimism. By the end of the election, the Republicans held 51 seats of the senate, and the Democrats held 48 seats.
What does a Republican controlled Congress and a Trump presidency mean for the future of America? Simply put, Americans should expect a Republican controlled government for a while. Republicans will likely get another conservative justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia. Additionally, with Ruth Bader Ginsberg being an 83-year-old cancer survivor, the Republicans may be able to create a majority in the Supreme Court lasting tens of years. After the shocking results of the 2016 election, Americans can only hope for cooperation and bipartisanship in the future.
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