American history – the biggest day since 9/11

America is waking this morning to the news that Donald Trump is President-Elect after defeating Hillary Clinton in yesterday’s presidential election.

A global political earthquake and the biggest event in American history since 9/11. Indeed it could be argued that Trump’s election is just one dramatic outcome of the day that Muslim terrorists attacked America fifteen years ago.

Most pundits had predicted a comfortable victory for Clinton. Opinion polls put her around four percentage points ahead. As the count started CNN had already given Clinton 268 of the 270 electoral college votes that she needed.

Early voting returns, which suggested a heavy turnout by Hispanics, whom Mr Trump has frightened and offended, seemed to confirm that advantage. So did the first exit polls in the dozen or so battleground states.

In early results Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey stayed blue; Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee remained red. But then Mr Trump changed the script by taking an early lead in a trio of important swing states, Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, all of which he went on to win.

Trump also went on to win in Pennsylvania, which last voted Republican in 1988, and Wisconsin, which had been blue since 1984. Mrs Clinton had hardly bothered to campaign in Wisconsin, where almost every poll gave her a solid lead.

For Democrats the alarm must be that so many people who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 simply  could not bring themselves to vote for Clinton.

People did not vote for Trump (well many did of course) but they voted against Clinton and all the institutions that she represents. When she called Trump’s supporters deplorables she simply alienated many people who might have been waivering in their support.

The repercussions of Mr Trump’s victory will be enormous—they seem to grow bigger with every passing second of contemplation. Clinton ran a lavishly funded and highly professional campaign.

Trump raised less money, had little organisation to speak of in many states, and relied largely on social media and an outsized reality-television persona to push his authoritarian and protectionist agenda.

Trump won despite being endorsed by only a tiny handful of newspapers and disowned by large numbers in the Republican party.

Let there be no doubt that this is one of the most dramatic electoral upsets America, or anywhere, has ever seen.

America will be led by a man who led a racist campaign to discredit the incumbent, Mr Obama, who has abused women, the disabled, Hispanics and foreigners. Who has advocated using torture, and nuclear bombs; who has said his opponent was corrupt and possibly a murderer, and who has sworn that, if elected, he would lock her up.

The Clintons are finished as a political dynasty. The Democrats are stunned, and will be in an ugly period or recrimination.

What have you done America: just think of what Trump has promised. A deportation force to round up and expel the 11 million undocumented migrants who make up 6% of the US workforce. A ban on all Muslims entering the country, later downgraded to a pledge to impose “extreme vetting” on anyone coming from a suspect land. A giant wall to seal off the Mexican border. “Some form of punishment” for women who seek an abortion. And prison for the woman he just defeated.

“Lock her up” has become the mantra of the Trump campaign. Doing nothing will not satisfy Trump’s supporters.

Was this all just talk? Will Trump morph into a moderate?

Why should he? He really is all powerful. A reality TV star with no experience of either politics or the military will have the nuclear button as his toy.

It will be very interesting to see who Trump brings into his cabinet – a divided Republican party could now be quickly unified.

Trump’s campaign has been one of vanity, hate, arrogance, untruth, and recklessness. His supporters expect action on the commitments that he has made. They don’t expect appeasement and compromise.

Other commentary:

The US has elected its most dangerous leader. We all have plenty to fear Guardian

The Guardian view on President-Elect Donald Trump: a dark day for the world

Newspaper front pages

Life Outside the Liberal Bubble New York Times

An American Tragedy The New Yorker


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