It was a breath-taking finish to a brutal election that was marked by the negative tone of the campaign. 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 in Montgomery County, which hasn’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.