It’s taking a while to sink in, but Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States.
Many Democrats, anticipating a victory, started election night with a cautious sense of optimism that faded as battleground states, one-by-one, went to Trump.
In the end, it was Trump who crossed the finish line with 279 electoral votes and with the GOP holding on to both houses of Congress.
Early exit polls from CNN show that Hillary Clinton did well, but came up short in building a winning coalition of African-American, Latino and young voters as President Barack Obama did in 2008 and 2012.
According to the network, Clinton won 88 percent of Black voters, compared to the 93 percent that Obama won in 2012. The turnout figures were not immediately available.
Although Trump made disparaging remarks about Mexicans that angered Hispanics, 29 percent of Latinos chose him over Clinton.
At the same time, the Clinton campaign did not inspire young voters, age 18 to 29, as Obama did. She won 54 percent of that demographic, who flocked in large numbers to her primary election rival Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent.
Trump, on the other hand, ignited and rode a wave of angry working-class White voters who are fed up with the Washington establishment, openly express disdain for people of color, and see no hope in the economy.
From day one of his campaign, Trump promised to erect a wall along the southern border of the U.S. and make Mexico pay for it. Along the way, he called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country. He said that a U.S. born judge should be removed from his case because of his Mexican heritage. He was caught on audio tape saying he would grab a woman “by the p–sy.” And despite the many things he said that would have ended badly for other candidates, they backed Trump’s populist message.
Trump opened his victory speech saying that Clinton called to concede. While divisive during the campaign, Trump made gracious comments.
“Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country,” Trump said. “I mean that very sincerely.”
He continued: “Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division. We have to get together. To all Republicans, Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.”
The shock waves of Trump’s victory were felt around the world. USA Today reported that global stock markets plunged. Here in the United States, the Dow futures tumbled 800 points at one point. However, the numbers rebounded slightly by Wednesday morning.
In 2017, Republicans will have a lock on government by controlling the executive and legislative branches of government. One of Trump’s first moves will likely be nominating a Supreme Court justice, which will complete the GOP’s stranglehold on power.