After one of the most contentious and controversial presidential elections in the history of the United States, the votes have been cast and the results are in. And the winner is (drumroll please)…….
Not only was Trump elected as the 45th President on the United States on Tuesday, Nov. 8, he has also cemented his name in the history books as one of the most controversial and unorthodox candidates in the history of American politics. Trump will succeed President Barack Obama, who himself made history in 2008 by becoming the 44th President, and the first African American to hold the top spot in the Oval Office.
Going into Election Day, Trump found himself significantly behind in the polls, so a win came as a huge surprise and shock to many political pundits and journalists who have been covering this contentious race. Trump only needed 270 electoral votes to win the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, and was able to do so over his Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.
This victory is a head-scratcher for many, after witnessing Trump make countless incendiary statements and have to deal with countless scandals that many believed had sunk the braggadocious billionaire businessman.
Prior to the election, Trump had only received eight total endorsements, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which was the only major newspaper in the country to come out for him. His Democratic opponent had received 215 endorsements from daily newspapers in the U.S., including traditional Republican-leaning outlets such as the Arizona Republic and the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Since the 1970s, every major political party nominee had released their tax returns, but Trump refused to do so, claiming he was under audit by the IRS. Not one living former president endorsed Trump, including George W. Bush and his father George H.W. Bush, who stated that he would be voting for Clinton. Other staunch Republicans, such as Senator John McCain, Colin Powell and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney withdrew their support for Trump.
The Republican National Committee even stopped funding the Trump campaign. Trump only had the money he was able to raise, along with the practically “free” advertising he received whenever he appeared on various mainstream media outlets, which subsequently helped him connect with the necessary voters he needed to elect him to office.
Following the release of the Access Hollywood tape, where Trump can be heard bragging about sexually assaulting women and grabbing them by their vagina, he offered a lukewarm apology and carried on with business as usual.
Trump continued to insult women, the disabled, African Americans, Muslims, Mexicans, Latinos and many more, and even called Clinton a “nasty woman” because of the way she pushed back and responded to his heightened attacks and criticism of her.
This was not your typical presidential election, and now we await the results of what a Trump presidency will look like. There were other recurring issues that impacted races across the country also, which should not be ignored.
In typical fashion, many key battleground states like North Carolina, had many voters that were faced with oppressive and deceptive suppression tactics that many activists and community leaders argued were put in place to disenfranchise select voting blocs. Many of these tactics were instituted, but in the end none of them were able to sway the results of the presidential election, but could have easily shaped the outcomes of many of the other state races, local races and down-ballot races instead.
In spite of the suppression tactics and controversies surrounding both candidates, turnout for this unprecedented election was tremendous, especially in places like Harris County, Texas, where the total number of early voters for the election, including mail ballots received, exceeded the one million mark by the end of the early voting period alone.
Many of these voters were first-time voters who clearly made the difference in this election, and many of these voters were attracted to a lot of the incendiary rhetoric that Trump spewed on the campaign trail leading up to Election Day, such as White supremacists.
Several months prior to the election on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper, Trump was asked whether or not he would denounce the support he had gotten from well-known White supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan (KKK) grand wizard David Duke, as well as other White supremacist groups. Trump sidestepped the issue and pretended not to know who Duke or the KKK was. Trump has also been adamant about building a wall to keep Mexican nationals out of the U.S.; something that has resonated with many people. Trump has also still gotten tremendous traction for supporters of the “birther” movement.
In the end, Trump has been elected the nation’s president after an extremely nasty, hard-fought and grueling campaign. He will succeed President Obama, whose last day as president will be January 20, 2017, and he will be sworn into office at noon on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2017, as set by the 20th Amendment to the Constitution. Trump will take the torch that will be passed on to him by a term-limited President Obama. It will be interesting to see if Trump will face the same level of obstructionism by Republicans that President Obama received during his two terms in office, especially when it comes to appointing Supreme Court justices and pushing through other legislative issues that he has proposed on the campaign trail.
As was the hope during President Obama’s two terms, it is going to be extremely important for both major political parties to come together and work together for the sake of the American people, including African Americans.
Whether it is helping deal with the wealth gap between Blacks and Whites, dealing with any future global crisis, addressing immigration, continuing to grow the economy and create new jobs, Trump has been given at least four years by the American people to make a difference. The question is, will he? Only time and actions will tell.
We at the Forward Times remain cautiously optimistic that President-elect Donald J. Trump will hold true to the same expressed commitment he made on the campaign trail, to intently focus on the many issues that are extremely important to the African American community in this country. We will all be watching and waiting.