By Jenna Billings
Public Relations Manager
On the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 9 Americans awoke to a truth not predicted by most political analysts: Donald Trump will serve as the 45th President of the United States of America.
An upset of magnanimous proportions, each of Trump’s smaller victories in swing states like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina brought him closer to defeating career politician and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
In addition to winning the presidency, the Grand Old Party also won the majority in both the House of Representitives and the Senate.
“Trump’s victory can be attributed to a populist reaction among many white working class voters against a multitude of economic and social issues perceived as undermining their livelihoods and their place within American society,” said Dr. Gary Rose, Professor and Chair of the Department of Government, Politics, and Global Studies. “There was also resistance to the same party controlling the presidency for the third term, particularly when close to two thirds of the voters feel the country is on the wrong track.”
Days later, Americans everywhere are still reeling at the fact
that a reality TV star and real-estate tycoon came out on top in a race against a member of one of America’s most prolific political families.
This election cycle’s road to the highest office in the land will go down in history as one of the most bitter campaigns in history. This week, both on campus and on social media, Sacred Heart students and faculty were buzzing about the outcome and what it could mean for the future.
“Never did I believe America would agree with a man who thinks that degrading women, calling them pigs, categorizing them by their looks…is OK,” said senior Jill Christian in her status on Facebook on Wednesday, Nov. 9. “Many of us did not see this coming… did not believe that the American people would elect a leader who has so viciously attacked women in the past and who will continue to degrade women in the future.”
Other students were excited by the results and hopeful for the change they might see in America.
“I am excited to see what President Trump will do with the next four years,” said senior Geno Gonnello. “His first task will definitely be involving damage control, but I am hopeful that he will be able to unify Americans and make this country great again.”
Though he earned 290 electoral votes, exceeding the required 270 to win a seat in the oval office, Trump fell behind Clinton in the national popular vote, not even earning a plurality. Many political analysts are speculating that a lack of turnout among some voting groups contributed to the Democratic Party’s across-the-board defeat.
“Hillary underperformed among racial minorities compared to Obama’s two campaigns which also affected the outcome of some swing states,” said Rose.
This was confirmed by data released by the Pew Research Center just days after the election. According to the research, Clinton only held an 80-point advantage among blacks (88% to 8%) compared with Obama’s 87-point edge four years ago (93% to 6%).
Additionally, while black voters accounted for 25% of all early ballots cast in Florida in 2012, that number dropped to just 16% in this election.
“Clinton’s loss revealed the profound failure of the Democratic Party,” said Dr. Steven Michels, Professor in the Government, Politics, and Global Studies Department. “For whatever reason, it thought it was wise to collude with the Clinton campaign to hand the nomination to a well-known but highly unpopular candidate. We don’t know if Bernie Sanders would have won the presidency, but polls at the time showed him doing better in head-to-head matches with the Republican contenders.”
Following Trump’s victory, he gave his acceptance address before millions of his supporters early Wednesday morning.
“American will no longer settle for anything less than the best,” said Trump in his speech. “We must reclaim our country’s destiny-and dream big and bold and daring. While the campaign is over, our work and this movement is now just beginning.”
At the conclusion of such an unpredictable race, one thing is certain. Change is coming.
“Trump will benefit from a Republican controlled Congress and a Supreme Court which he will shape,” said Rose. “Watch for changes in health care, corporate tax rates and immigration. I suspect his first 100 days will be historic.”