In stunning upset, Trump clinches presidency
- Published: November 17, 2016
It wasn’t supposed to be a long night. But for Democrats in particular, Tuesday was a really, really long night.
In a stunning upset, Donald Trump clinched the presidency at 2:31 a.m. on Wednesday, winning nearly all of the Midwest and West, with predictable Democratic strongholds in California, the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast going to Hillary Clinton. With four states still being counted as of press time, Clinton accrued a narrow lead in the popluar vote, but Trump had already won the presidency with 279 electoral votes, a result that doubly defied the predictions of most pollsters going into the election.
Key battleground states, including Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, fell to Trump on Tuesday. On election return maps, Ohio flickered from pale blue to pink and back again several times as votes were counted through the evening, finally settling at red.
Ohio was expected to be a tight race with a slight advantage for Trump, but the Republican took the state 52.1 percent to Clinton’s 43.5 percent. Third-party candidates drew just over 4 percent of Ohioans’ votes, not enough to be a factor in Trump’s victory in the state.
“I thought it was going to be a close race,” villager Steve Conn, professor of history at Miami University, said on Wednesday, reflecting prevailing views.
Ohio was one of five states that flipped Republican in this election, having given Barack Obama a 3 percent win in 2012.
“Ohio has become a more and more dependably Republican state overall,” Conn observed. “In our region especially, we are increasingly a Southern state.”
For Democrats watching from Ohio, headlines through the night grew steadily more ominous. In the New York Times online, initial reports that “late deciders” across the nation were leaning toward Clinton gave way to Trump’s “razor-thin margins” in key states, then his “unexpected strength” in the Rust Belt and finally, at around 10:30 p.m., the clincher: “Trump takes Ohio, building nationwide momentum.”
Trump’s win forestalled an historic first that resonated with many voters in Yellow Springs and elsewhere, especially female voters: the chance to elect the nation’s first female president.
But a woman at the top of the ballot may have been precisely what propelled some voters toward Trump, according to Conn.
“If I had one catch-all explanation [for the election results], it’s that misogyny has always been the deepest, strongest undercurrent in political life,” he said. “Significant numbers of men — and women as well — couldn’t abide a woman as president.”
Precinct-level results were not available by press time Wednesday. However, Yellow Springs’ historic true-blue streak suggests that villagers are likely to be widely out of step with fellow Buckeyes again this year. In 2012, Yellow Springs voters supported Barack Obama 10 to one.
Asked about the impact of this election on ever more isolated Democratic village voters, Conn said he expected some villagers would feel “increasingly under seige” in a community that is often referred to, with pride, as a “bubble.”
And indeed, outside of Yellow Springs, Trump triumphed in reliably conservative Greene County, winning 59.7 percent to Clinton’s 35.2, according to unofficial results Wednesday. Turnout was strong in the county, with 71 percent of registered voters casting a ballot.
“Maybe we shoul build a wall around the village,” Conn said.