Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Trump: The rogue candidate's shock victory

It was 1.50am. The AP had tweeted Trump was the next president. One of the most divisive presidential campaign cycles in history was over.

Trump: The rogue candidate's shock victory
Published 9 Nov 2016   Follow @EmmaMConnors

‘Call it, call it, call it,’ rang the cry at the Republican Party in Cuyahoga County in Cleveland Ohio.

It was 1.50am. The AP had tweeted Trump was the next president. One of the most divisive presidential campaign cycles in history was over.

Everyone was on their feet. And then the chair of the Clinton Campaign John Podesta came on to tell us all to go home. ‘We are so proud of you and so proud of her’. This was greeted by few boos but mostly stony silence in Cleveland City. Odd, that all the fretting over what sort of concession speech Trump would make had suddenly become the speech Hillary Clinton never made.

Almost an hour later, at 2.42am, CNN reported Hillary Clinton had called Donald Trump to concede the election.

At 2.52am President-elect Donald Trump announced he had received a call from Hillary Clinton. Suddenly it was Secretary Clinton, not crooked Hillary, who had done great service to the nation.

President elect Trump went on: ‘To all Democrats and Republicans across this nation, it is time for us to come together as one united people. I pledge I will be president for all Americans.’

‘We will double our growth and get along with all nations as long as they want to get along with us. America will no longer settle for anything other than the best.’

‘We will always put America’s interests first but we will deal fairly with everybody...We will begin urgent task of uniting our nation and renewing the American dream’.

He said the movement’s work was just beginning. He hinted he could be in for eight years. Counting will continue but it seems Trump could win the same sort of thumping victory that took Barack Obama to the presidency in 2008.

In a historic victory, the Republican party will not only have its nominee in the White House. It will also control both the Senate and the House of Representatives in a stunning victory that defied just about everything political scientists thought they knew.

Trump faces the huge task of unifying a country that will struggle to see anything beyond its own wrenching division for some time to come.

‘He went rogue and it worked,’ said Queens University of Charlotte associate professor of political science, Brian Smentkowski.

‘The assumption was Hillary Clinton’s ground game would be so superior that it would turn out the vote in her favour. In contrast, Donald Trump just assumed everybody would go out and vote for him. And they did. He was his own ground game.’

Outside of the wildly exuberant Republican parties, the rest of the country is in shock at the win that defied most polls, book-makers, and even the financial markets, with stock futures plunging as early voting showed the swing to Trump.

Nina Turner, a member of the Ohio Senate for six years till Dec 2014, who endorsed Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination and campaigned for him, said during the last days of the campaign that ‘we can’t deny that America is starting to endure something it has not endured before’.

‘The two most unfavourable candidates made it to the final, to the world series. If it had been Sanders and Kasich would it have been as toxic? I would argue it would have been more issue driven and less personality driven.’

Ms Turner cited a poll by the American Psychological Society that showed a majority of Americans were stressed out by this election and Pew Research that suggested Americans have been disgusted by this campaign.

‘So how did we go from hope to change in 2008 to the gutter in 2016? That’s something for the media and social scientists to research and study’, Ms Turner said.

Photo: Getty/Chip Somodevilla.

You may also be interested in