By: Ethan Robinson
As of Nov. 8, Donald J. Trump is the 45th President-elect. Trump won with 290 electoral votes against Clinton’s 228. For many 18 year old seniors in Sterling High, this was their first time casting their vote for the presidency, and what a unique first time it has turned out to be.
This election will truly go down in history, being the fifth time a candidate has won the electoral college but not the popular vote, alongside the elections of 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000. According to David Leip’s Atlas of U.S. elections, Clinton leads in the popular vote by nearly 3 million.
What granted Trump the victory was winning several key states by razor-thin margins. These trophy states include usual swing states such as Florida, but also newer battleground states that proved essential in this year’s election, such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. In order to even have a decent chance at victory, Clinton needed to obtain at least one of these states. When the Senator failed to do so, it was pretty close to certain as to who would win. At one point, the election was so close that Trump and Clinton were neck and neck for Pennsylvania by a few thousand. Each one of these three key battleground states was won by Trump by a very narrow margin of 1 to 2 percent.
It is clear to see that the Presidential Election for 2016 was very close and a real anomaly when it comes to politics. Nobody expected Trump to win, even many of his own supporters and Trump himself when he was ready to deem the entire electoral system as rigged. But now, Trump and his supporters are more than willing to embrace the electoral college.
Much of this victory is now being credited, across all media sources, to a “silent majority” of Trump supporters. Many believe that this “silent majority” is the reason why the latest polls did not accurately predict the final election result. But in all honesty and hindsight of the cacophonous election build-up, should we really be surprised by the result? Even the ultra-liberal pundit Michael Moore predicted that Trump would emerge victorious this November.
Many experts would say that this return to a Republican in the oval office is just apart of the 8-year cycle of party dominance. This is greatly true, but times are also changing in the United States. The political and ideological climate is altering in this country, and the 2016 election is proof of that fact, having developed radically differently than in 2000 and 2008.
Trump and Clinton were both unable to inspire large populations of the United States and have their own demographic of hateful opposition. The months that led up to the election reflect the melting pot of political and ideological turmoil that is rampant in the United States. Both left and right and even independents have grown staunch and more adamant in their stances against opposing views. We have three sides of anti-establishment now on the Left, Right and Unaffiliated, and all sides were at each other’s throats. On one end of this election you had the avant-garde collegiates holding up Gary Johnson signs, followed by the shaking fists of Make America Great Again truckers, while on the other side of the street you could see the daily catfight between I’m With Her diehards and belligerent Bernie burnouts. Now protests are everywhere, including in D.C. where anti-Trump high school students abandoned school to take to the streets and clash with opposition.
These stark divisions in United States society and political culture have great significance and foreshadow changing times ahead. Trump has not been the traditional candidate; he built an image and a radically different rhetoric that appealed to a large half of the country. This election is and has not been normal. Tensions are rising and things are coming to a head for the United States. America will change under this Presidency, but time will tell if it will truly change according to Trump’s many broad promises.
It is growing more and more apparent that we Americans live in not one but two countries, divided not by traditional borders but by two opposing ideologies. This time, the conglomerate called America has no more cards left, except Fear and Loathing in a Trumped United States.
Stayed tuned, America, for Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, 2017.