Swear words, mumbles and sobs burst from students at the Intercultural Center early Wednesday morning when the American people elected Donald Trump as their 45th president. Brandeisians overwhelmingly opposed Trump in both the Republican primaries and the general election due to his policy proposals and many derogatory statements on the campaign trail toward marginalized groups.
Trump, 70, defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton, 69, despite a complete lack of prior political experience. Prior to his election, he was a real estate mogul and reality television star. He ran on his business experience and pitched himself as an outsider shaking up Washington politics, which he considers systematically corrupt.
Trump won after claiming the crucial swing states of Ohio, North Carolina and Florida, along with surprise wins in Wisconsin and Michigan. Polling data and analysis in the days before the election almost universally put Clinton ahead, both in national polls and within Wisconsin and Michigan.
As it became clearer that Trump would win, students at the Intercultural Center’s election-watching party grew quieter and more subdued, interjecting with shouts of anger as new data came in against Clinton. The crowd of about 25 kept eyes glued to a projection of CNN's election coverage. They moaned audibly as Trump pulled ahead in the Pennsylvania count. A few students audibly cried as their friends consoled them.
Jade Eckels ’18, watching the election, said she felt “pretty speechless.” Casey Cho ’18 described feeling “deeply surprised, especially with Wisconsin and Michigan. I don’t think anyone expected this.” He reasoned that there has been “a really big shift in a lot of these Midwestern rural areas.”
Siwar Mansour ’19, an international student, said, “The fact that Trump has made it this far is very, very sad and worrisome. It says a lot about the people who are apparently being ignored.”
“This country’s fucked,” she said.
The crowd had mostly dispersed by 1:20 Wednesday morning, before the race was officially called.
Trump’s win threw the stock market into turmoil as well, with projected Dow Jones shares dropping by around 800 points in after-hours trading as the votes were being counted. This represents the biggest projected loss since trading resumed after Sept. 11.
Clinton did not give a concession speech early Wednesday morning but reportedly did call Trump to concede the race. Her campaign chair, John Podesta, told supporters, “Your voices and your enthusiasm mean so much to her and to Tim [Kaine, her running mate] and to all of us.” Trump emphasized unification in the wake of a brutal campaign, saying that Clinton “fought very hard” and that “we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.” In his victory speech at the Hilton Hotel in New York City, Trump said that the country needed to “come together as one united people” and reached out to voters who opposed him for “guidance and help” in reuniting the nation.
He went on to outline a vision of America’s future in which each citizen can “realize his or her fullest potential. The forgotten men and women will be forgotten no longer.” He thanked his campaign allies and spokespeople for their help on the campaign, joking that “this political stuff is nasty and it’s tough.”
Trump became well-known — and widely despised — for his many controversial statements and actions on the campaign trail, which observers considered derogatory toward marginalized groups. In the same speech in which he declared his candidacy, Trump proposed building a massive wall along the Mexican-American border, saying he would “make Mexico pay for it.” He also said of Mexican immigrants, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Later, after a mass shooting in San Bernadino, California, perpetrated by suspected Islamic State sympathizers, Trump called for “a complete and total shutdown on Muslims entering the United States, until such a time as our leaders can figure out what the hell is going on.” He has since adjusted this plan to state that Muslims would be subject to “extreme vetting.”
In October, the Washington Post published video and audio of Trump in 2005 saying that he could “grab women by the pussy” because he was starring on the TV show “The Apprentice.”
“When you’re a star, they let you do anything,” Trump said of women during the private conversation with Access Hollywood anchor Billy Bush.
Other Trump scandals included implying that the mother of a fallen American soldier didn’t speak on the Democratic National Convention stage because her Islamic faith prohibited it; shaking uncontrollably when imitating a physically disabled reporter; refusing to release his most recent federal tax returns and being shown to have not paid taxes for 18 years due to bankruptcies in the 1990s; allegedly scamming customers of his Trump University online for-profit school; and saying that “Second Amendment people” may react if Clinton had been elected and nominated Supreme Court justices.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Donald Trump delivered his victory speech at Trump Tower. He spoke at the Hilton Hotel.