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Donald Trump Wins Presidency

November 9th, 2016

Republican Donald Trump has won the U.S. presidential election.

Mr. Trump is set to become the 45th president of the United States on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017.

He is the first U.S. president to not have either military or government experience.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr/CC

Republican Donald Trump has won the U.S. presidential election.

Mr. Trump is set to become the 45th president of the United States on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017.

He is the first U.S. president to not have either military or government experience.

How close was it?

Extremely close!

Hillary Clinton actually got more total votes throughout the country overall than Donald Trump did, but she still lost the election because our country uses the electoral college system , where we actually vote for our nation’s president state-by-state-by-state-by-state. Each state is worth a certain amount of votes, kind of like points, based on the population. Whichever candidate gets the most votes in a state, wins all of that state’s votes (except Nebraska and Maine).

You need 270 to win.

Mr. Trump won 290 electoral votes to Mrs. Clinton’s 228.

It is a stunning upset for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton who seemed on track to become the first female president of the United States. In many ways, the election was hers to lose between her vast experience, her many media and celebrity endorsements, how well she was doing in the polls (when people were asked who they would vote for) … and the many things Mr. Trump said that would have normally damaged other candidates.

She was gracious in her concession speech this morning adding that “to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

So what happened?

While many people were focused on important segments of the voting population like Hispanic voters and women (among others) … Mr. Trump connected strongly with “white working class” voters — a group that turned out to be way more important and powerful than most experts predicted.

It appears that many voters didn’t feel like the government and its leaders had been taking their concerns seriously enough and wanted a change more than anything else. Even if they didn’t love everything about Mr. Trump, they felt he would bring something new and different to government. Many people also underestimated Mr. Trump’s effectiveness at using TV and social media.

What now?

Us:

Presidential elections are exhausting not just for the candidates but for the country too. Often the vote is close and about half the people basically have a different vision for the country than the other half — all of us wanting the best for it in different ways.

There are many very happy people today who see Mr. Trump’s victory as a victory for real everyday people instead of politicians and polls.

But there are also a lot of people who are very upset, partly because their candidate lost but also because Mr. Trump has said some deeply troubling things about women, minorities, immigrants, people with disabilities, war veterans, other countries, and our democratic process. Additionally, many people question his temperament. He can behave like a bully, be impulsive and intolerant — personality traits that you would not normally associate with being the president … or want kids to emulate.

That has made this election one of the most unusual and divisive in history.

The president is supposed to be the president to all Americans, not just some. And Mr. Trump has his work cut out for him to make as many people feel that way as possible.

President-elect Trump said this at his acceptance speech: “I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all Americans, and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.”

President Obama put it this way today when he addressed the nation: “I think of this job as being a relay runner. You take the baton, you run your best race and hopefully by the time you hand it off, you’re a little further ahead, you’ve made a little progress. And I can say that we’ve done that and I want to make sure that handoff is well executed because ultimately we’re all on the same team.”

The System:

The Founding Fathers developed our democracy so that the president doesn’t possess all the power. There is Congress (made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives), the judicial branch (the court system), and the states themselves have a lot of say over how they are run. Yes, being the president is a big deal, but the power is more spread out than you might think.

The Long View:

Historically, power shifts. We have had a Democratic president for the past eight years and even though Mr. Obama is popular right now, people still usually want leadership to change hands after a while. So, for about half the country, it’s not their turn this time. But it will eventually swing back.

One More Thing:

Being a great country is not just about who the president is, it’s also about the people in it.

Yes, our leaders and government help us, but it is also up to us to respect our differences, to get to know each other better, figure out what’s going on in the world, figure out what’s important to us … and help each other. We need to stand up for what’s right when we see wrong.  And it is up to us to work hard at making good and kind choices every day so that the U.S. continues to be the great country that it is.

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