Republican Donald J. Trump has been elected the 45th president of the United States in an election that will reverberate through the annals of American history. Additionally, Republicans maintained control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate in yesterday’s vote.
Trump led Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by an Electoral College count of 276 to 218 and by roughly one million votes at 2:39 a.m., according to Politico. While uncounted electoral votes remained, Trump crossed the threshold of 270 to seal his victory.
However, Clinton had not publicly conceded by time of print. Emory students were quick to react to Trump’s victory.
“If I were to wrap this up in one word, it’d be ‘unbelieveable,’ ” College senior and Emory College Republicans Vice President Christian Zimm said. “I thought he was going to lose by about 50 votes today.”
However, others expressed fear of what a Trump presidency could bring. College sophomore Daniel Etim, a member of Emory’s Black Student Alliance (BSA), said he was uncertain about his safety and that of his friends.
“To see a man like Trump saying things that he did about people of color, women, Muslims, immigrants, this race has been neck-and-neck throughout the entire country,” Etim said. “Half the country will stand behind a man who says things like that, which is scary for me as a black person and … all of my friends of color and gay friends and Muslim friends. What [will] a Trump presidency mean for us? How safe [will] we be?”
Trump won the Electoral College by claiming most swing states, including Ohio, North Carolina and Florida. In addition, Trump broke Clinton’s firewall of Democrat-leaning states by defeating the former secretary of state in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which pushed him over the top.
As a Trump presidency became more likely over the course of the night, markets dropped substantially. The Mexican peso depreciated to a record low Tuesday night, down nearly 10 percent since the market closed. Dow Jones futures fell over 700 points, or 4 percent, as well. Global markets were generally down, indicating uncertainty about the future of the American economy under Trump.
Clinton led Trump by more than seven points nationally as late as Oct. 18, according to the RealClearPolitics moving poll average. However, by election day, Trump had closed that gap to around three points. It appears that he outperformed the recent polls due, in part, to a greater-than-expected turnout from non-college educated white voters, in addition to his better-than-expected performance with women voters.
In addition, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey may have helped Trump when he brought Clinton’s email scandal back into the news cycle last week by reopening the investigation. In addition to reopening the investigation into her private email server, news organizations reported that four different FBI field offices were investigating the Clinton Foundation for corruption. Although Clinton was cleared again for her emails Sunday, Democrats could look back at Comey’s letter as the final nail in Clinton’s coffin.
Trump is the one of the least politically experienced president-elects, as he has never held public office. However, that hasn’t stopped him from claiming his lack of experience as a strength. Trump campaigned on the idea that as an outsider, he could inject a breath of fresh air into Washington.
Many view Clinton as the ultimate Washington insider, and Trump worked to contrast himself with that image. He often cited congressional gridlock as a sign that Washington insiders did not have the public’s best interests at heart.
According to FiveThirtyEight, Trump’s sub-20 percent favorability rating is the lowest ever recorded for a president-elect.
Going forward, Trump faces the task of trying to gain support not only from Democrats, but also from his own party. Trump has faced an unusual level of scrutiny and criticism from Republicans, most notably from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Even though he faces the challenge of uniting his party, it is likely that a Republican-controlled Congress will help him accomplish his legislative goals.
While many Republicans do not support Trump, some Emory Republicans were quick to rally around the president-elect.
“It clearly shows that the policies of the last eight years [weren’t] helping a majority of Americans,” College senior Josh Goodman said on Trump’s victory. “There are a lot of people struggling with the economy not improving and the failures of Obamacare. That’s pretty obvious.”
Throughout his presidential campaign, opponents criticized Trump for making racist and misogynistic remarks and inciting violence at his rallies. Some of his more objectionable remarks include calling Mexicans “rapists,” mocking veteran and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain and belittling a reporter who is disabled.
Trump’s brash rhetoric has drawn concern from some students.
“In all honesty, even with friends and other people, it’s a terrifying thought to see that someone like Trump could become president,” College junior and President of Emory’s Muslim Student Association Sundus Tameez said. “Thinking about the implications, socially speaking, Islamophobia is already on the rise, and Trump becoming president sets the precedent that [Islamophobia] is okay.”
While the votes won’t be officially tallied for a few days, several news agencies including The New York Times, CNN and Associated Press, have called the election for Trump.
Joshua Lee, Brian Savino, Alisha Compton, Richard Chess and Alex Klugerman contributed reporting.