Hillary Clinton made history on Tuesday but mostly the unwelcome kind, suffering a shocking defeat to Donald Trump after she entered Election Day riding an edge:
- In the early vote;
- Lead in the polls;
- Wave of confidence.
Her rejection, in spite of immensely outspending Trump on the airwaves and out-investing him in organizational muscle in the battleground states, underscored an undercurrent of astonishing anger and frustration coursing through the American electorate. Trump weathered:
- Late accusations of sexual assault;
- Tape of him bragging about groping women by the genitals;
- Admissions that he spent years not paying taxes;
— all in October.
He won in spite of never truly bringing together the Republican party behind his candidacy, as he crisscrossed the country with a very small coterie of advisers and surrogates in the final days. Clinton drew upon all the united firepower of the modern Democratic Party.
But in the end, it was not enough to elect the first woman president. Trump proved an appealing and proudly politically incorrect vessel for an American public fed up far beyond the understanding of the traditional political class.
“Every election is a choice between continuity and change,” said long-time Democratic pollster Peter Hart. And, for all flaws Trump, he was the candidate of change. Why did he win? The answer is that the dynamics were always in that one direction — the mood of America.”
Clinton was a former secretary of state, senator, and first lady, running for the third consecutive term of Democratic rule in the White House — something which hasn’t happened since before World War II.
She also suffered for nearly her entire candidacy from a self-inflicted wound of maintaining her own private email server while secretary of state, which provoked an FBI investigation and weakened her trustworthiness in the public eye.
In November she entered as the second most disliked presidential candidate in modern American history — only behind Trump himself.
Trump was a political novice who outdid her with his simplistic call for the restoration of an era that is gone but one of great American power. He rallied thousands to his campaign events and tens of millions to the polls with a tagline that became immediately recognizable by friends and foes alike: “Make America Great Again.”
Trump’s “This is a moment of crisis for our nation…” – finished ahead of Clinton’s “Do not let anyone tell you that our country is weak…” and won across every critical swing demographic, including 49 percent to 21 percent among independents and 54 percent to 40 percent among white women.
Clinton’s defeat means the White House will go from Democratic to Republican control, threatening many of the policies put into place by President Barack Obama in the last eight years, none more so than his signature healthcare law, which Trump has vowed to repeal.
And that “glass ceiling”— the one which she famously said had “18 million” cracks in it after her 2008 run — remains in place. Indeed, in a perhaps a sign of the overconfidence with which she and her campaign entered Election Day, Clinton’s “victory party” on Tuesday was scheduled at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. It is unknown where and when she will give her concession speech.