Trump wins presidency; Clinton concedes

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Ohio goes to Trump

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Republican takes Ohio and several other swing states by big margins.

Republican Donald Trump claimed the U.S. presidency over Democrat Hillary Clinton after sweeping the swing states of Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida and delivering Election Night surprises in a number of other states, including Wisconsin.

It was Wisconsin that pushed him over the top around 2:30 a.m.

Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, then came out to speak to supporters, with Trump announcing that Clinton had just called him to concede.

“I promise you I will not let you down,” Trump told a joyful, chanting crowd in New York City. “We will do a great job.”

He called for the country to “bind the wounds of division and get together,” and he thanked Clinton for her service to the country.

Repeating a theme he mentioned often during the campaign, he said, “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.”

It was a breath-taking finish to a brutal election that was marked by its negative tone. Trump, who launched his political career by questioning President Barack Obama’s citizenship, was previously best known for his hit reality TV show.

He now will be the 45th president of the United States.

One of the surprises of the evening was that several states thought to be tightly contested, including Ohio, offered little drama. Trump won Ohio with relative ease, picking up the state’s 18 electoral votes and was even narrowly winning Montgomery County, which hadn’t gone for a Republican for president since 1988.

With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Trump had 52 percent of the vote in Ohio compared to 43 percent for Clinton.

Both the Trump and Clinton campaigns focused much of their efforts on Ohio, Florida and North Carolina in the final weeks, sending in A list surrogates and holding large rallies. Trump won all three states and none were nail-biters.

No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio and the last man to do it was John F. Kennedy in 1960. Ohio voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, and Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996.

Trump won Ohio in part by emphasizing trade, a message that resounded in corners of the state that have lost manufacturing jobs. In the traditionally blue Mahoning County, home to Youngstown, he lost to Clinton by just three percentage points. By contrast, Obama won that county by 27.5 points in 2012 and 26 points in 2008.

“I think it was the trade issue, particularly in areas like Youngstown and areas hard hit by the jobless rate and losing good-paying union jobs,” said Mary Anne Sharkey, a political consultant to both Democrats and Republicans. “I think some people still associate the Clintons, particularly Bill Clinton, with NAFTA. She did not try to distance herself from that issue.”

“Plus, she is a very divisive personality who has never been all that well loved in politics,” Sharkey said.

Trump pulled off the big win in Ohio even while feuding with Ohio Gov. John Kasich and leaders of the Ohio GOP and losing support from U.S. Sen. Rob Portman.

Americans were front-seat passengers on the white-knuckled, high-speed chase for the White House for more than a year. Even last summer, six in 10 Americans said they were fatigued by the amount of election coverage, according to Pew Research Center. Large swaths of the American electorate deeply dislike Clinton and Trump.

The 2016 race was historic and toxic. Clinton, a political insider with decades of experience and baggage, was running to be the first female president in America’s 240 year history, running more than 95 years after women won the right to vote. But that history-in-the-making was overshadowed by federal investigations into her handling of emails, disclosures from WikiLeaks and shadowy hackers who gained access to private emails and a concern over the nexus of Clinton’s power as Secretary of State and the Clinton Foundation.

On the other side of the race was Trump, a political newcomer, billionaire real estate tycoon and reality TV show host with a penchant for bombast and late-night, inflammatory tweeting.

Before his meteoric rise in American politics, Trump, who was best known for scowling ‘You’re fired!’ at TV show contestants, led the so-called birther movement that questioned President Obama’s citizenship. Still, Trump beat out more than a dozen seasoned Republicans — including Kasich — to become the GOP standard bearer.

During the course of the campaign, Trump said and did things that would be knock-out punches for any other candidate. He called Clinton a devil, monster, crooked and nasty — among other names — picked public fights with those who questioned him, including Pope Francis, a Gold Star family and a former Miss Universe. His antics and statements led all living former presidents and GOP nominees to withhold or revoke support. Repeatedly, Trump went off message, missed chances to effectively capitalize on Clinton’s stumbles, and launched late night attacks via Twitter.

Bombshells landed center stage in front of him — a massive tax write off that allowed him to legally sidestep paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years, a hot mic videotape that caught him making vulgar and predatory comments about women – and still he carried on.

Trump tapped into voter anger, promised to bring law and order to the country, appealed to American workers left behind by free trade agreements, and pounded hard on the wedge issue of 2016: immigration.

His candidacy appealed in particular to voters who were furious with the status quo. That frustration, which also led to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ unexpectedly strong showing in the Democratic primary, “disadvantaged virtually every other candidate in the race for the Republican nomination,” said Paul Beck, a professor emeritus of political science at Ohio State University.

In facing Clinton, he said, Trump was able to attack “the epitome of the establishment.”

“Trump got amazing margins in a lot of white, working-class counties,” said Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “That more than made up for the urban vote. Ohio really swung hard to Trump tonight – we’ll have to see where it all ends up but the state should be significantly more Republican than the nation this year, perhaps more than it has been in some time.”

Barry Bennett, a former Trump advisor who has worked for Sen. Rob Portman, said Trump “committed at least 30 gaffes that were all believed to be lethal. But the American public is so angry at Washington that they’re interested in someone who knows how to drive a bulldozer.”

Giving his victory speech, Trump acknowledged it wouldn’t be historic unless true change occurred.

“While the campaign is over, our work on this movement is really just beginning,” he said.