Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The triumph of Trump

The triumph of Trump

Trump stuns world; Obama invites him to White House to begin transition; how he won by making appeal to hearts not heads; why liberals are at fault

Carolyn Supinka, resident of Washington, looks towards the White House Wednesday after Trump’s victory.
Carolyn Supinka, resident of Washington, looks towards the White House Wednesday after Trump’s victory. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Edward Helmore in New York

The triumph of Donald Trump

In a stunning turnaround at the end of a bitter and polarizing election campaign, Republican Donald Trump was declared president-elect at 2.30 am this morning. The result, delivered with a clear electoral majority, was immediately declared one of the greatest presidential election upsets. “Sorry to keep you waiting, complicated business, complicated business,” the billionaire businessman and former Apprentice host told supporters gathered to hear his victory speech at a New York hotel. “I will be a president for all Americans,” he said. “I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so we can work together and unify our great country.”

Trump won 279 electoral delegates, with three states yet to be called, winning the crucial battleground states of Florida, North Carolina and Ohio. The Democrats’ “blue wall” in the midwest, including Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, crumbled against all poll predictions. But the Republicans didn’t just take the White House, they kept control of the House and Senate. Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton, defeated in her quest to make history as the first female president, conceded the race in a phone call on Wednesday morning but didnot address her hundreds of dumbstruck supporters who had gathered at the Javits Convention Center in New York. Barack Obama invited president-elect Trump to visit the White House Thursday to begin the process of transition.

How Trump won

Trump is the first reality television star and the first non-politician since Dwight Eisenhower to win the nomination for president of a major political party. He was the first to spend part of his campaign denying sexual assault allegations and clashing with the family of a fallen soldier and a Miss Universe winner. At 70, he is the oldest person in history to be elected US president. His winning formula was to copy Ronald Reagan’s simple promise to make America great again and, according to exit polling data, focusing on fears around terrorism, immigration and trade. It was an appeal to the heart, not the head, and his supporters overlooked his obvious flaws.

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Why Clinton lost

How Hillary Clinton managed to lose an election to a candidate as divisive and unpopular as Donald Trump will baffle observers and agonize Democrats for years to come. Some glimpses of rational explanation may become visible. Incumbent parties rarely hold on to power after eight years in office. Clinton failed to enunciate a clear economic vision or address stagnant wage levels and soaring inequality many voters felt were symptoms of a rigged system. Nor did they trust her. A murky web of business connections to her family’s charity left many Americans doubting Clinton’s sincerity. Then there were the emails – percolating since before she announced her candidacy – which played into the notion that the Clintons behaved as if the law did not apply to them.

Democrats fail to retake Senate

The Democratic party failed to retake the US Senate on Tuesday night, following losses in Florida, Pennsylvania and Indiana, as Republicans delivered Donald Trump a Congress firmly in conservative control. Democratic morale was buoyed slightly by a Senate victory in Illinois, where congresswoman Tammy Duckworth beat the Republican incumbent, Mark Kirk. Even before election night, the Democrats had given up on hopes of recapturing the House of Representatives. Trump’s first order of business will be to select a conservative judge for the supreme court.

The polls were wrong – again

Trump captured 48% of the popular vote – or 58,909,579 votes to Clinton’s 58,864,093, according to current tallies. Blame the pollsters, sure, but a hunger for certainty sets expectations that are impossible to meet. The polls were wrong. And because we are obsessed with predicting opinions rather than listening to them, we didn’t see it coming. So, the world woke up believing that Republican candidate Donald Trump had a 15% chance of winning based on polling predictions. People change their minds, they can decide to not share their opinions or they can flat out lie. And that’s before you even get to some of the statistical issues that make polling inaccurate. Nine percent of voters 18-29 voted for third parties.

World leaders react

Trump’s surprise victory led to applause in the Russian parliament and a swift call from President Vladimir Putin, for a new era of “fully fledged relations” between his country and the US. Top officials at the European Union have invited Donald Trump to Europe for an urgent US-EU summit. Donald Tusk, president of the European council and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European commission, congratulated Trump and urged him to come to Europe for talks “at your earliest convenience”. Meanwhile UK’s prime minister Theresa May congratulated Trump, saying Britain and the US have “an enduring and special relationship based on the values of freedom, democracy and enterprise”.

Markets drop, stabilize

The futures market says the Dow will fall by around 300 points, or nearly 2% – a significant drop at its opening, but not the 800-point plunge anticipated when the shock results rolled in last night. The UK’s FTSE 100index slumped 130 points as London markets opened – a fall that was projected to be considerably greater before Trump took the stage. “It’s because he sounded more presidential, there was no mention of ‘lock her up” or ‘build a wall’,” said Jeremy Cook, chief economist at money brokers World First.

Liberals at fault

The woman we were constantly assured was the best qualified candidateof all time has lost to the least qualified candidate of all time, writes Thomas Frank. Everyone who was anyone rallied around her, and it didn’t make any difference. The man too incompetent to insult is now going to sit in the Oval Office, where he will hand down his beauty-contest verdicts on the grandees and sages of the old order.

The US has elected its most dangerous leader

Today the United States – the country that had, from its birth, seen itself as a beacon that would inspire the world, a society that praised itself as “the last best hope of earth”, the nation that had seemed to be bending the arc of history towards justice, as Barack Obama so memorably put it on this same morning eight years ago – has stepped into the abyss, writes Jonathan Freedland.

Our columnists react

This is a terrifying moment for America. Hold your loved ones close, saysSteven Thrasher. Meanwhile, Patricia Williams writes that race and sex stoked deep autonomic responses in the American psyche and Kate Harding insists that her country hates women, which is bad enough, and pretends it doesn’t, which is worse.

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