The American people have spoken—the winner of this year’s presidential race is Donald J. Trump.
The 2016 presidential race has proven to be one of the most controversial runnings ever. It has been 596 days since the race for the next president of the United States commenced, and what was once more than 20 seriously considered candidates was narrowed down to just two.
The candidates that Americans were presented with for the final vote were Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Republican nominee Donald Trump, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party representative Jill Stein. Though there were four options, this year’s literal and metaphorical fight for president was a two-horse race headed by Clinton and Trump.
In order to understand this year’s election and all the commotion it has caused, it is important to look at the faces of America’s two leading parties.
Clinton, 69, has been at the political forefront for decades, with positions including first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state. While the Yale graduate has had a successful, and long career in politics, many of her biggest accomplishments have been overshadowed by scandals involving her and her husband, Bill Clinton.
These scandals include her husband having an affair with a White House staff member while president. Another controversy surrounding Clinton is her handling, sharing and deleting of thousands of emails—some were classified—through her private email server. Although the emails have been investigated by the FBI, they have not been released in their entirety.
Clinton’s political views stay right on track with typical Democratic left-wing politics. She is a proponent of Obamacare, an advocate of gun control and pro-choice policies and favors taxation to fund big government projects.
Trump, 70, is new to politics but is a household name because of his work in the business world. He sits as the president of the Trump Organization and is founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump also gained popularity for his part in the reality show “The Apprentice.”
The billionaire is abhorred by many for his racist, sexist and overall distasteful comments. Trump has been accused of sexually assaulting dozens of women. While he has not been found guilty of any accusations, he has however been recorded bragging about groping women without consent.
While Trump is not your average politician, he still holds true to many of the right-wing GOP beliefs. He firmly supports anti-immigration, anti-gun control and anti-abortion policies. Trump also made it clear early on in the presidential race that he disagreed with Obamacare and plans to tear it up.
On Tuesday, Nov. 8, the American people casted their votes for the next president and for many other elected officials. From the polling locations, the votes are sent to the Electoral College. At the Electoral College, each state gets a set amount of electoral votes based on their population. For example, California has 55 electoral votes. Montana, a less densely populated state, only has three votes. In order to win the presidency, one candidate must have 270 of the 538 possible electoral votes.
That being said, when you place your vote, you are voting to elect specific people into the college. These people, known as electors, are appointed by political parties in each state. The electors will have the final word by representing the popular vote in their particular state. On Dec. 18, the electors will give the final vote to declare who will be the 45th president of the United States.
Through Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, social media surged with panic and anxiety as Trump, who was predicted to lose by a considerable margin, slowly began taking the lead in electoral votes. Hundreds of pre-election polls were taken trying to predict who would win, and Clinton had the edge in all of them.
Trump’s win on Wednesday has proven to be one of greatest upsets in the history of American politics. Clinton supporters thought she would win easily, but were in dismay as Trump started taking many of the states that were once conceived as impossible for him to win.
Understanding the importance each state plays is crucial in understanding why certain candidates win. Obviously a candidate wants as many of the larger electoral voting states as possible.
Trump succeeded in achieving this. Trump’s first massive win came in the swing state of Florida. It was there that he gained 29 votes. This was the first time America began to accept a Trump win as a possibility. Trump also picked up monumental wins in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. So far, he received 279 of the electoral votes compared to just 228 from the Clinton campaign.
While it is important to observe where Trump won, it is also essential to decipher how he pulled off this historic upset. Much can be said about Trump’s abrasive nature, whether it be his vile behavior toward women, or his often inappropriate description of immigrants.
Trump gave America many reasons not to support him, but the greatest advantage he possessed was the hope for change. He ran on the campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” and it was that belief that captured the votes of millions of Americans.
The business icon turned politician, focused on fixing the stagnation that America has been subjected to in past years. He often times noted how he was going to completely flip American government upside down and revive the dormant economy. Through these promises for change, he won many of his supporters.
Whether you agree with the results of the 2016 presidential election or not, it is clear that this has been one of the most controversial elections ever. America has gone through over a year of mudslinging and questionable rhetoric to get to this point.
No matter where you stand politically, it is important that we come together as one people. Changes will be made and policies will be implemented, but it is the people of the U.S. that hold strong to the core of American values.