They only went and bloody voted for him, didn’t they? By now if you haven’t seen the news that Donald Trump, the Washington outsider, is the 45th President of The United States then I’m not sure if you’ve actually been conscious since Wednesday. For those of you that read the headline and started weeping before you could get past the opening paragraph, fear not as here’s a deeper look into what occurred.
What went down?
Between about midnight and 7am on Wednesday morning, as the polls closed across America and counting commenced as the results began to eventually trickle in. The way the US election works is that people can’t really be arsed waiting around until all votes have been counted. Instead a panel of experts and statisticians for each TV network sit down and analyse the cumulative vote tally as all the little voting areas send in their totals. This means that once a very strong trend is seen and the experts are sure a state is going one way or another they ‘call’ it and it’s added to the electoral college votes. This means some results came in pretty quickly after voting stopped.
No big surprises early on, the Democrat states voted for Hillary Clinton and the Republican ones went for Trump. The key to the election lied in the swing states with the large number of electoral votes (Pennsylvania, Ohio and king of them all, Florida). Trump won those as well as the Republican heartlands and so won the election. Simple.
Clinton leads the popular vote. More people voted for her but she lost. Welcome to democracy
Why were the polls wrong? Probably shy Trump voters hiding their true intentions, although currently the big forecasters are in post mortem mode. The underlying voting demographics are likely to be scrutinised for where the surges (or suppressions) that helped Trump were. The results were 228 for Clinton and 279 for Trump (9 over the magical 270 electoral votes needed). But Clinton leads the popular vote, 59,942,917 to 59,704,842. More people voted for her but she lost. Welcome to democracy.
Aside from the main prizefight there were the elections for parts of Congress. Another great night for the Republicans who came away with both the House of Representatives and Senate (the two parts of Congress) meaning that they now hold the balance of power in both legislative bodies that motions have to pass. This means that it’s easier for Trump to enact things he wants to, as long as these align with the views of the wider Republican party. If Trump strays too far right (or even left) they’ll hopefully keep him on the straight and narrow. Parts of Congress are up for grabs next year again and so control of one or both the branches could fall back into Democrat hands, keeping an even tighter leash on The Donald. Oh and by virtue of them being on a joint ticket, Mike Pence is now the Vice President. Will he accomplish anything? Will he become president when Trump gets bored and leaves? Who knows.
What’s happened since?
After Trump managed half the 538 Electoral College votes, twitter, financial markets, and quite a lot of the wider world started to freak out. The FTSE (UK), Dax (Germany), Dow Jones and Nasdaq (both US) all plummeted upon hearing the news before actually regaining to roughly where they were before. Massive currency fluctuations were seen at first and then died down but this is only early days. Gold was up in price in the immediate aftermath, great news for all you pirates out there.
He might start a few wars, he might kickstart the economy or he might do both. Only time will tell
International governments queued up to give the customary congratulations to Trump with varying degrees of sincerity. Putin was first and hopes to strengthen US-Russian relations with Trump (the two of them have praised each other in the past). Theresa May also passed on her congratulations; she doesn’t want to lose both the US and the EU as a trading partner in one year, after all. Anti-Trump riots were also a thing, with effigies of the president elect being burnt in several cities across the US as well as a protest at the US embassy in London too (see page 5).
Erm, nobody really knows. Trump will be sworn in officially on January 20th and from then his reign begins. How chaotic and apocalyptic it will be remains to be seen. He might start a few wars, he might kickstart the economy or he might do both. Only time will tell.