By Bonnie K. Goodman
As the Republican nominee Donald Trump always said that the election was about his supporters the voters and making America great again, not celebrity surrogates or even party establishment support and he was right. On Tuesday evening election night, Nov. 8, 2016, Trump shocked the nation and world by winning the election against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and becoming the nation’s 45th president. Trump started off the night with a bang; he led and never looked back by the 2:30 a.m. the Associated Press called the election for Trump shocking pundits and pollsters and shaking the financial markets in what is being called the biggest upset in American history.
Trump began his improbable campaign on June 16, 2015, with many jeers but he soon took off in the polls as the Republican candidate to beat, but none in a field of 16 could surpass him. The Clinton campaign wanted Trump as their opponent, the Clinton machine saw the freewheeling businessman as the perfect contrast to the controlled former Secretary of State, while the polls kept repeating Clinton would win if Trump were the nominee. Clinton underestimated, she was dealing not just a man or another opponent but a force of nature larger than life to be reckoned with as the campaign descended into one of the nastiness and uncivilized in American history or at least modern history.
The polls who were Trump’s friend in the primary became his enemy in the general election as every move, word or missteps gained points for as he called it the media’s “angel” Clinton. Throughout the intense fall campaign period, Clinton was pundits, pollsters and predictors favorite to win the presidency. When Trump fell, with the discovery of a 2005, lewd “lockerroom” talk tape, Clinton soared, her numbers skyrocketed to the double digits the question became how big her margin of victory would be. Even an October Surprise in the form a resurrected FBI investigation into Clinton’s private email server could not stop Clinton, as she could do no wrong and Trump no right.
Trump defied the odds and changed the whole presidential campaign game, he propelled himself to the Republican nomination, with his own funding and used the news media as his personal ad campaign ad, while the public flocked to his populist message and simple philosophy of making America great again. In the general election, the media turned on him, as did the polls, but he blended 19th-century campaign methods with 21st-century technology to create a winning formula, mixing raucous mass rallies and stump speeches with social media and Twitter outreach.
Trump was the consummate political outsider, whose campaign resembled 1896 Democrat William Jennings Bryan’s Cross of Gold, mixed with the public fear of his temperament like 1900 vice presidential candidate turned President Republican Theodore Roosevelt that madman with only one life between White House and again as renegade Bull Moose of 1912. In the end, however, Trump was Harry Truman in 1948, the enemy of the establishment and press set to lose so much so that newspapers printed, “Dewey Defeats Truman” when Truman in the end was the victor, not his Republican opponent Thomas E. Dewey.
Trump was a one-man band that did alone and never relented when the Republican Party insiders abandoned ship refusing or going back on their endorsement just because he was not one of them. The GOP nominee fought back and remained unfazed as he words were twisted, overanalyzed, and he was portrayed as a sexist, racist and the end of the country as we know it. Republicans, Democrats, his opponent and the news media demonized him as he shocked them with resoluteness proclaiming that in the end he and his campaign’s movement of supporters Clinton called “deplorable” would be triumphant on Election Day.
On Tuesday evening, Trump proved them all wrong he not only reinvented the campaigning game, but the electoral map is flipping key battleground state after state red from blue. Before the Republicans had the Sunbelt and then the bible belt, now they have the rust belt. Trump won Democratic bastions of Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania, even turning Michigan red. The blue-collar working class revolted from the Democrats who abandoned them in droves for their savior the populist Republican promising to make right the wounded economy that never actually recovered.
Trump broke through Clinton’s firewall, proving there was a hidden Trump vote and he became almost the one correctly predicting, he would become the next president. Trump shocked almost every pollsters, pundit, reporter, analyst and academic that predicted and analyzed the campaign and election. They all wanted a Clinton victory so much their judgment clouded, and almost everyone was left with embarrassing egg on their faces from the excessive praise and confidence in Clinton, proving the adage one should never presume.
Trump showed the world presumption is a folly and in a democracy, the will of the people matters the most and the vote is the most powerful force. The candidate they most feared spent his first moments in the spotlight as president-elect with gracious words for his opponent, and overtures that he wants to be the nation’s uniter-in-chief rather the divider his opponents feared he would be.
President-elect Trump declared in his victory speech, “Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division, have to get together, to all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.” The president-elect is doing his part now the country has to come forward to meet him halfway. Instead of being, poor losers American citizens have to heal their partisan wounds and come together as the divided nation has done before in history to truly restore, reach its potential and make the country great again.