In the early hours of November 9, Donald Trump won key victories in decisive swing states to beat Hillary Clinton and become the 45th president of the United States. The real estate mogul and reality TV star won 290 electoral votes to the former Secretary of State’s 232, repudiating polls that predicted a Clinton win. Trump’s victory is widely seen as a populist rejection of the political establishment in favor of a candidate who promised to address the concerns of blue-collar white voters overlooked by the political elite.
Although Clinton won the popular vote, scraping by with a margin of 47.84 percent to 47.22 percent, Trump galvanized voters in swing states, winning counties that hadn’t voted for a Republican candidate in years. According to The Hill, Clinton became the first Democratic presidential candidate since 1984 to lose Wisconsin, as well as losing Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Trump also managed to flip one-third of the almost 700 counties that voted for Obama twice. In a Washington Post analysis, the counties that voted for Obama twice and then switched to support Trump were on average 81 percent white. Obama strongholds that Clinton won were just 55 percent white. Trump dominated the white working class vote by appealing to fears about low-wage immigrant labor, free trade, and globalization. Republicans rode this momentum to victories across the country, winning control of the House and the Senate and throwing President Obama’s legacy into question.
In his acceptance speech, Trump struck an unusually measured tone and acknowledged Clinton’s service to her country. “We owe her a major debt of gratitude,” he said. “Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division…. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.”
Clinton also called for unity in her acceptance speech the next morning, calling the country to respect Trump’s win. “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead,” Clinton said. “Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don't just respect that, we cherish it.”
In the week since his election, Trump has accepted congratulations from world leaders, met with President Obama, and started to plan his transition to the White House. In addition to making high profile appointments to his new cabinet and White House staff, Trump will also have to oversee some 4,000 political appointments as well as decisions about legislation and regulatory changes.
“The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world,” said Obama. Despite the president’s pledge, Trump’s transition has already experienced several shake-ups, including the unexpected removal of Governor Chris Christie from the transition team. Christie, who had already been working on the transition process with the Obama administration, will be replaced with Indiana Governor Mike Pence sometime this week said the New York Times.
In the week after the election, protesters gathered in major cities like Los Angeles and New York to rally against Trump’s election. At Boston College, several hundred faculty and students gathered on a plaza outside the main library to advocate against Trump’s discriminatory rhetoric. “It is time to commit ourselves to take a stand,” Sriya Bhattacharyya, a Boston College student, told the campus newspaper The Heights. “Tolerance of racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, and other words of violence and oppression is not setting the world aflame.”