Donald Trump Makes Election History

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

President-Elect Donald Trump has clinched the presidency with 279 electoral votes and 47 percent of the popular vote as Republicans retain House and Senate. Trump remade the political map—turning historically blue states a new shade of red. 

Critical swing states such as Florida and Ohio that won President Barack  Obama the presidency in 2012 flipped in Trump’s favor in the later hours of last night. 

“I pledge that I will be a president for all Americans, this is so important to me,” Trump said in his victory speech. “If you chose not to support me, which many people did, I am reaching out to you for guidance and help to work together to unify our great country.”

Voters disappointed with the results have taken to social media to express their outrage and frustration, urging those who feel threatened by a Trump presidency to “stay strong” and articulate their emotions. 

It is the sentiment of Trump’s opponent Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Obama to reassure those distressed voters that America must give Trump a chance to unify the country as he claims he will do.

“I hope that he will be a successful president,” Clinton said in her concession speech. “I’m sorry that we did not win this election for the values we share and visions for our country. Our campaign was never about one person or election. It was about the country we love.”

Emotional and teary eyed, Clinton advised America that “we owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

Today Obama came out into the White House Rose Garden to address America and the press to say that he could not be prouder of Clinton and reminding the nation that “she has lived an extraordinary life of public service.”

Obama cordially explained that he called Trump at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday to congratulate him and to invite him to the White House on Thursday to discuss a smooth and successful transition. 

“Trump and I have obvious significant differences,” Obama said. “But remember that President Bush and I had significant differences, but he and his team were professional and gracious for a smooth transition between our presidencies.” 

Obama benevolently encouraged America to accept and support the man who questioned his legal eligibility to hold office and who Obama once called “uniquely unqualified for presidency.” 

“The presidency and vice presidency is bigger than all of us,” Obama said. “We are rooting for Trump’s success in uniting and leading country.” 

New Paltz Town Supervisor Neil Bettez said that although he is extremely disappointed with the results, he grew up in a working class family and watched Democrats abandon the people that Trump found his support and endorsement in. 

“This is where people who are upset with the way things are find solace,” Bettez said. “The Democrats will need to reassess where our priorities are going forward as a lesson of this race.”

Bettez discussed his concerns of the Republican party holding the future of affordable health care in their hands in regards to those who have felt vilified and fearful by a Trump presidency. 

“Yet, New Paltz will be fine through all of this,” Bettez said. “We are in control of what happens at the local level and what is decided. We don’t get a ton of federal aid anyway, no one has been plowing money into any possible decaying infrastructure that we may have.” 

New Paltz Village Mayor Tim Rogers was at Zephyr Teachout’s election watch event in Rhinebeck when he and others from New Paltz quickly realized “things were not headed in the right direction, and that all the ‘too early to call’ announcements were bad.”

“We turned to each other and said, ‘If this is going to be disappointing we would rather be in New Paltz with people we know,’” Rogers said. 

Rogers explained his feeling that he initially felt Trump didn’t want to be president, that he seemed to simply just enjoy the spectacle, enjoy the attention and remain preoccupied with his brand and being an affluent celebrity.

“I have thought about it and I felt like there’s no way he’s as racist as he is behaving or is true to all his pandering to the all right,” Rogers said. “It was pandering— he identified a way to get support and he built it for all its worth. You can say that it is somewhat reassuring that he’s not that racist or bigoted or sexist, but from that vantage point he is now this bizarre, amoral person who would do that type of pandering for votes. So, really which is worse?”

Rogers said that in response to someone who may feeling completely politically discouraged by the results, choosing to either take a step back and say political activism isn’t for me or to roll up one’s sleeves and get even more involved is a choice to be slept on. 

“We know Bernie resonated with millions of people who seek change and Trump resonated with lots of people for similar reasons. I have faith in humanity and most of my neighbors and believe they voted for him out of hope – even if it was misguided – and not out of bigotry.”

Rogers said that in response to anyone feeling discouraged by the results, whether choosing to either give up on political activism completely or dive in head first to start the revolution, we have at least a couple days to let the results absord. 

Former New Paltz Town Supervisor and current Bio Executive Director of Hunger Action of New York State Susan Zimet said that she felt very excited on Election Day to exercise her right to vote as a woman.

“I was giddy, dressed in white and wearing a yellow rose to represent the women who fought for my right to vote less than 100 years ago,”  Zimet said. “I was elated to vote not just for a very capable and confident woman, but one of the best candidates prime to step into this position, who happen to be a woman.”

Zimet said that as a woman who has worked in politics since the 90s, she has experienced the misogyny that exists within politics first-hand. Zimet was the first woman to take office as town supervisor in New Paltz in 1999. 

“I’m telling my daughter and other women that although this was a big loss, women are capable of everything and anything as long as we remain confident in our cause,” Zimet said.

Marine Corporal and former SUNY New Paltz student David White offered his unique view that without Hillary as president, the country will be less likely to engage in conflict with Russia. 

“I write so much about how we shouldn’t be provoking Russian aggression, I believe that she would have provoked it with her hawkish nature,” White said. “Hillary was the center-piece of larger organization of people who were extremely self-interested.”

Born in Ireland, White only recently received his United States citizenship. White assured that despite the discourse caused by this election season, he remains happy with his choice to be in America and serve for the people who make America “still a good place to be.” 

“It was the Democratic Party’s fault for propping Clinton up,” White said. “She would have balked on all these promises, people knew that and I believe Bernie would have won the election if he were the candidate.” 

Twenty-year-old journalism student Liesanne de Haan from Groningen, Netherlands weighed in her opinion from an outside perspective:

“Everybody over here is shocked how this could happen,” she said. “Most of the people here saw him only as one big joke. And I’m really, really shocked and worried about the fact that such a hateful stupid man will be the most powerful person on Earth.”

It is clear that the entire world is stunned at the results of this historic election, a close eye will be set to the Trump presidency, with hopes of unification that he has shown intent to achieve.