How did Hillary Clinton lose an election that everyone had forecasted her to win?
Nearly every national poll had Clinton winning the presidential race – and in double digits. Most forecasters had her chances for winning in the ninetieth percentile. Perhaps the most notable hold-out was Nate Silver of 538, who had Clinton winning, but only gave her a 71% chance on election night. By all accounts, it should have been a landslide.
But it wasn’t.
Dissecting the Election Results
The results of the presidential election – an election that divided the country – is as much a shock as the insanity that preceded it. Based on Trump’s derogatory comments towards women, the disabled and immigrants from many nations, it’s hard to figure out where his support came from and how the polls could have been so wrong.
One theory is that people were embarrassed about their candidate – they weren’t owning up to the vote they planned to make. Those people are likely in the middle of a buyer’s remorse only truly understood by citizens of Britain, who are still reeling from their exit from the European Union.
Many suggest what Trump voters were after was a change in politics as usual, and that Trump’s lack of political-correctness, coupled with his off-the-cuff remarks, made him the man who wouldn’t play politics as usual. For those voters, Clinton, married to a former president, a former New York Senator and Secretary of State, represented a dynasty more than an electable candidate. It didn’t help that her win in the primary came with some controversy.
Understanding the Aftermath
Supporters of Clinton are reacting with shock akin to mourning. It isn’t just that it’s the most surprising political change in our lifetimes, it’s that it doesn’t make sense. Not according to the polls we’ve been reading, but also not according to our cultural standards. Even the most hard-lined Republicans are mortified at Trump’s language and responses to the disabled and our veterans.
Trump has never cared about social issues, so that’s one less thing we should worry about. But his choice of running mate, Mike Pence, is staunchly anti-choice and pro-conversion therapy – frightening for both women and the LGBTQ community, who, for the most part, felt safe under Obama’s tenure.
How the Nation Is Responding
College campuses across the country are reacting in particular. Many students responded with sit-in and support groups suggesting that we are all in it together. Others, however, have been louder, like the one happening as I write this in Berkley. About 1500 students walked off campus before 9 a.m. to protest Trump’s win – a win that feels doubly unfair considering that he lost the popular vote.
In the meantime, fear is being floated around on social media, particularly from Muslims – who, since Trump began his campaign, have experienced more instances of discrimination and violence. Muslim women are being warned not to wear their hijabs – the traditional Islamic scarf Muslim women wear to cover their heads – for fear of retaliation after the election.
The Latino population in the U.S., who didn’t show up to vote in the numbers that Clinton’s camp expected, report unease post-election as well, especially considering the derogatory nature of Trump’s remarks regarding Hispanics.
Also of national attention is the Supreme Court vacancy. Since Republicans blocked Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, from taking a seat in the court, all eyes are on Trump, who has the power of a red Congress behind him. Currently, the ideological breakdown of the justices is fairly even, but a Republican nominee would shift the power to the right – potentially doing harm to recent judgements.
How the World Is Responding
Because the U.S. is a world power – arguable the most powerful – the presidential election isn’t an isolated event. Shock waves are being felt globally. When Trump was announced as president, the global market – at least temporarily – tanked.
But many are concerned about more than just market drops and rebounds. What will it mean for the U.S., who is still dependent on Saudi oil, to negotiate with OPEC countries with Donald Trump as president? A man who has demeaned their faith and lifestyle throughout his campaign?
In the meantime, our relationship with Mexico will be tenuous, considering that Trump has promised to build a wall to keep Mexican immigrants out and make Mexico pay for it. Since Trump has been announced as president, the peso’s value dropped lower than it has in 20 years. Relationships that were years in the making, along with trade deals that benefited both countries, like NAFTA, are all being upended.
Not all countries feel despondent. Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who seems to have a bromance emerging with the president elect, had only positive announcements regarding the election. Considering that Russia is likely the culprit for hacking into the Democratic National Convention’s database, this is another scary scenario that we are finding ourselves in the middle of.
As Usual, Hindsight’s 20/20
It’ll be a long four years for women, many who dressed in pants suits and ‘Nasty Woman’ tshirts to vote, expecting to elect the first female president. And though it’s a shock to most of us – even ardent Trump supporters – a professor at American University called it months ago. His method of prediction has been accurate at foretelling presidential results since 1984. Perhaps he can give us some insight into the changes we can expect from a Trump presidency – our crystal balls seem to be glitching.
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