White Backlash: Donald Trump stuns in presidential victory

Herb Boyd | 11/10/2016, midnight
Donald Trump’s stunning presidential victory became evident around midnight Tuesday for the Hillary Clinton supporters assembled at the Jacob Javits ...
Donald Trump CNN photo

Donald Trump’s stunning presidential victory became evident around midnight Tuesday for the Hillary Clinton supporters assembled at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. The occasional cheers after she won Virginia soon gave way to a foreboding silence, turning the cavernous facility into a huge mausoleum of disbelief.

Once again Clinton had failed to shatter the proverbial glass ceiling after pundits and polls had given her a decisive edge in the final push toward the finish line. Around 3 a.m. the business mogul had sealed the deal with 289 electoral votes to Clinton’s 218; there were still a couple of states too close to call.

On the other hand, Clinton appears to have won the popular vote. The count Wednesday morning had her at 59,299,381 votes to Trump’s 59,135,740 votes, with a margin of 163,641 votes. She becomes the fifth presidential candidate to win the popular vote but lose the election. Neither candidate acquired more than 50 percent of the vote. (These numbers are sure to change as the results come in.)

In her concession speech late Wednesday morning from the New Yorker Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, Clinton didn’t mention the numbers in little more than 10 minutes of painful reflection. “Being your candidate has been one of the greatest honors of life,” she said, after being introduced by her running mate Sen. Tim Kaine. “I know how disappointed you feel because I feel it too … it was painful and it will be for a long time. But I want you to remember this—our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love and building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive and bighearted … I still believe in America and I always will.”

It was a devastating blow to Clinton and her hopefuls, and her sentiments and regret were shared later by President Obama. “Everybody is sad when their team loses an election,” Obama began, “but the day after they have to remember we’re actually on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage. We are not Democrats first, we are not Republicans first—we are Americans first.” He went to on to say that after speaking with Trump he was glad to hear of his desire for unity. “That’s what our country needs,” he concluded.

Earlier Clinton and Obama had called Trump to congratulate him, with Obama promising to meet with him Thursday. Trump praised Clinton, noting her accomplishments as a public servant.

So what happened? It’s hard to single out any one factor for the upset, but the exit polls provide some indication about the outcome, particularly in the race category. Trump received 58 percent of white voters to Clinton’s 37 percent. Even though Clinton dominated Trump on the minority vote with Black Americans (88 percent), Hispanics (65 percent) and Asians (65 percent), those combined numbers could not offset the large white turnout for Trump, most of them blue collar or working class whites in the Rust Belt and in the rural sections of the country.