By: Wade Brokamp and Vinny Ramundo
On Election Day Nov. 8, businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump won the presidency, defeating former Secretary of State and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton with 290 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232.
Trump could not have won without the help of the crucial swing states of Florida, Ohio and North Carolina.
Florida’s 29 electoral votes put the presidency within Trump’s reach. In 2012 the state voted for incumbent Barack Obama over Republican challenger Mitt Romney by a 50%-49.1% margin, while Trump outperformed Clinton in 2016 by a 49.1%-47.7% margin according to amNewYork. This opened the door for possible chaos late into election night.
Ohio has cast its 18 electoral votes for the elected president in every election since 1960, and no Republican since Lincoln has ever reached the White House without winning Ohio. In other words, Trump simply had to have Ohio, almost as badly as he needed to flip Florida. Trump, riding a wave of momentum in Ohio going into Election Day, won the state by nearly 9% of the vote over Clinton.
North Carolina narrowly chose the losing candidate, Romney over Obama, in 2012. Trump and his campaign managed to keep the state red in 2016, outdoing Clinton by nearly 4% of the vote to retain the state’s 15 electoral votes. After winning these “Big 3,” Trump’s improbable inside track to the presidency was still on course, and the prospect of a President Trump was beginning to seem like it could be a reality.
Trump even won over some states with solid Democratic voting histories. For example, Pennsylvania went for the businessman even though the state had not supported a Republican presidential candidate since 1988. Counties such as Erie in the Northwest and Luzerne and Northampton in the East went for Trump despite voting Democratic in the 2012 election.
Wisconsin and Michigan were other states in the North that typically lean Democratic but who sided with Trump in this year’s election. According to the New York Times, Trump won the former by tallying 48.8% of the vote to Clinton’s 47.6%. The percentages in Michigan were even closer, as Trump took 47.6% of the vote to Clinton’s 47.3%.
Many feel that Trump’s success in these states was due in a large part to his intense campaigning among white working-class voters. His campaign focus on these groups of voters ultimately allowed him to claim states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio.
Trump Among Voting Groups
Trump’s main votes came from white Americans. As per CBS’s Nov 9 article “How Donald Trump won the U.S. Presidency,” Trump’s final vote total included 63% of white men and 52% of white women. Trump also won 53% of votes from men to Clinton’s 41%, while Clinton led among women voters 54% to Trump’s 42%.
Trump also performed better than the previous Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, among minority voters. In 2012, Romney received 7% of the African-American vote while Trump garnered 8%, according to CNN’s Nov. 9 article “How Hillary Clinton Lost.” Trump also received 29% of the Latino vote as compared to Romney’s 27%.
While Clinton still received the vast majority of votes from minorities, her numbers were less than Obama’s in 2012. According to the same CNN article, she received 88% of the African-American vote as compared to Obama’s 93% in 2012. Her numbers among Latinos were also down from Obama’s as she garnered 65% of their vote, down from Obama’s 71% in 2012.
After a highly divisive campaign season and a tightly decided election, disappointment from the losing side was inevitable. Peaceful protests and in scattered cases, violent riots, broke out after the news of a Trump victory was announced.
Some protesters were more extreme, burning American flags and Trump effigies, threatening to kill the president elect, inciting violence, smashing windows, and blocking traffic in their protest of the election results. Chants of “Not my president!” and “Love trumps hate!” rang out in protests across the nation.
Police in Portland, Oregon, cited in a Tweet the “extensive criminal and dangerous behavior” of the rioters. For this reason, the police upgraded the protest to “riot” classification.
Unifying the Nation
Clinton, President Obama, and President-elect Trump all called for unity in the days to come.
Clinton and Obama were disappointed with Trump’s victory but encouraged citizens to give him their support.
“We must accept this result and then look to the future,” Clinton said in her concession speech. “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power.”
Obama took a similar stance. “Everybody is sad when their side loses an election, but the day after, we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team,” he said in a statement released by the White House on Nov. 9.
President-elect Trump vowed to consider all Americans in his decisions. “To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people,” he said in his victory speech.