By Sara Barderas
HAVANA TIMES – The United States on Tuesday made a leap into the unknown: Republican Donald Trump, a multimillionaire who mutated in politics and appeared in the presidential election promising to dynamite the establishment, was chosen to head world’s leading power for the next four years, reported dpa news.
His surprise win is similar to the upset victory of the Brexit movement to pull the UK out of Europe.
The man who was given no chance when in June of 2015 he launched his campaign for the White House, calling undocumented Mexicans rapists, won over Hillary Clinton, a woman who prepared for decades to enter the Oval Office in her own right.
The blow to the Democrat candidate was so great that she was unable to appear publicly to acknowledge defeat, although she did call Trump to congratulate him.
“Republicans, Democrats and independents, it’s time to be united,” Trump urged in New York as he celebrated victory with hundreds of supporters gathered early Wednesday to listen to the 70-year-old president-elect.
His call to unity came after a campaign in which his xenophobic pronouncements and his onslaught against Hispanics and women, among others, reopened old wounds and a deep division in the country. “The nation has to be united,” Trump insisted early Wednesday.
The Republican had positive words for Clinton, just about the first since he launched his campaign in which he called her “disgusting”, threatened to imprison her if he became president and even suggested to his followers to use violence against her.
The former first lady, former senator and former secretary of state lost at the age of 69 her second and probably last attempt to become president. She had hoped to be the first female US president eight years after the first black president, but that is now a thing of the past.
When Trump took the stage in New York accompanied by his wife, Melania, and their children, the first thing he did was to thank Hillary Clinton for her call and publicly congratulate her on the campaign: “She fought very hard,” he said.
Trump and Clinton have been the most unpopular candidates in recent American history. He for his rhetoric and manners and she, the wife of former President Bill Clinton, for the scandals surrounding her and her identification with the corporate and political establishment.
Trump repeated Wednesday some promises of the campaign. He said that he will double the country’s economic growth, promoting the construction industry that will create jobs again. “Let’s make America great again,” was the motto of his campaign. Of his plans to expel undocumented immigrants and build a wall on the Mexican border, he said nothing.
Once again, the polls and forecasts were wrong and Trump’s victory in the United States follows two other events that surprised the world in the last year: the Brexit vote and the rejection of peace accords in the Colombian referendum.
The uncertainty now is enormous. Trump proved to be unpredictable and irritable, and shortly after his celebration of victory the first words of concern began to be heard in Europe. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen spoke of “great commotion.”
Trump swept to victory by winning more “swing states” – those that swing from one party to another according to the moment. The scrutiny was slow as the race was tight in many States. At 10:30 p.m. EST, the first key state, Ohio, was awarded to Trump. Clinton won in Virginia and Colorado.
From there, large electoral battlefields began to be adjudicated to Trump, including Florida, the most important, and where a large increase in the Hispanic vote had given hope to the Democrats.
By 2:30 a.m. Wednesday EST Trump was assured victory. According to CNN, he had run up at least 289 Electoral Votes, compared to 218 in Clinton. The amount required to win is 270. Clinton was slightly ahead in the popular vote nationwide, but that is insignificant in the US voting system.
The mobilization of Hispanics did not serve as a firewall. And in addition, Trump won Wisconsin, a state that since 1984 was in the hands of the Democrats.
On December 19, the Electoral College will officially vote for the president. A month later, on January 20, Trump, an outsider who promises to “drain the swamp”, the establishment, will take over the reins of the world’s most powerful country in a ceremony at the foot of the Capitol.
So just as the US went from Carter to Reagan in 1980, Clinton to Bush Jr. in 2000, we can now add the swing of Obama to Donald Trump in 2016.