Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States on Tuesday, bitterly disappointing millions of voters who had come closer than ever to seeing the ultimate gender barrier in American politics overcome, had Hillary Clinton become the nation’s first woman chief executive.
A Clinton win had promised not only the undeniable shattering of the “glass ceiling,” but a victory over the aggressive platform of her Republican opponent, that galvanized voters’ resentments about perceived privilege and unleashed alarmingly unbridled displays of bigotry and chauvinism. Clinton, 69, who previously served as a junior senator from New York and as secretary of state under President Barack Obama, was defeated by 70-year-old Trump – a real estate developer and reality-television star who surprised the Republican establishment when he felled more than a dozen opponents to clinch the party’s presidential nomination.
Trump, who in the weeks leading up to the election indicated he might not accept the outcome, delivered his victory speech around 3am Wednesday to an electrified crowd at the New York Hilton Midtown hotel, saying Clinton deserved “a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.”
Clinton waited until late Wednesday morning to maker her concession speech, at the New Yorker Hotel in midtown Manhattan. In introducing her, running mate Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia invoked the words of novelist William Faulkner, to wild applause: “They kilt us but they ain’t whupped us yit.”
Clinton, dressed in purple — a color long associated with women’s suffrage and the feminist movement — and accompanied onto the stage by husband Bill, daughter Chelsea and son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky, was met with deafening applause by her supporters. Congratulating Donald Trump, Clinton said: “I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans.”
To the assembled crowd she added: “You represent the best of America, and being your candidate has been one of the greatest honors of my life.”
Admitting the defeat was painful, and would be for a long time, she nevertheless encouraged her audience to remember: “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 big-hearted.”
Speaking to her young advocates in particular, Clinton said: “This loss hurts but please, never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”
“And to all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion,” she said.
“And to all the little girls watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”
Clinton campaigned on on a platform of comprehensive legislation to protect law-abiding undocumented immigrants from deportation and detention; support for debt-free college and small-business incentives; tax hikes for the ultra-wealthy, an increase in the federal minimum wage and closure of the gender pay gap; continued efforts to achieve universal health care; measures to address climate change, and the implementation of affordable broadband services to every home in the U.S. She also stands for background checks for gun buyers and tighter reins on gun sales.
The 538 election night live blog reported late on Tuesday that exit polls were showing the widest overall gender gap since 1976 — Clinton winning women by 12 points, and Trump winning men by 12 points. But perhaps more intriguing is the deeper analysis, that shows a split in the vote of college-educated white women and non-college-educated white women. College-educated white women voted for Clinton 51 percent to 45 percent, writes Clare Malone, but non-college-educated white women voted for Trump 62 percent to 34 percent.
As votes were still being counted early Tuesday, it appeared Clinton would win the popular vote, while Trump had won the electoral college and thus the White House, The Los Angeles Times reported. At 5am, The Associated Press showed Clinton with 59.16 million votes nationally, compared to Trump’s 59 million votes. This is reminiscent of the 2000 Election results, in which Democrat Al Gore narrowly won the popular vote, but George W. Bush was elected to the presidency.
In closing her concession speech, Clinton told her supporters: “My friends, let us have faith in each other. Let us not grow weary, let us not lose heart. For there are more seasons and there is more work to do.”
In a video posted Wednesday, Ainara Tiefenthaler and Rick Gladstone of The New York Times examined why the United States has been so resistant to electing a female head of state. You can watch it below:
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