By Rebecca Belbin
Staying up until five a.m. staring at screens with squinted eyes sums up the many millions of us who decided to forego sleep in favour of following the 2016 US Election. And what a night it was.
US and UK news outlets – as always - dramatised the occasion to the absolute maximum. CNN’s John King a particular standout to watch, with his relentless analysis throughout the night on his touchscreen voting map, dubbed the ‘magic wall’.
In the UK, the BBC News app kept everyone awake through tense hourly updates and The Guardian’s timeline kept us well-informed on the latest voting scandals as well as providing a breakdown analysis of how America voted.
It was perhaps social media that provided us with the most interactive entertainment on the night. For the first time in a high-profile election, Twitter became a catalyst for debate and discussion; many voicing their concerns – or elation - as Trump won votes and surged ahead of Clinton in the polls. Both candidates stayed quiet on Twitter throughout the evening, with Trump soon changing his bio and header after the win to ‘President-elect of the United States’.
It was certainly a surprise victory for Donald Trump as Clinton was ahead in the polls at the beginning of the evening. But, in a turnout that shocked pollsters the 45th US President won his crucial swing states of Florida, Ohio and North Carolina while a Pennsylvania win secured his place in the White House. Trump’s win, further marks the first time there has been a Republican presidency since 2009. On his landmark win, Trump gave a speech first congratulating Clinton later saying – “now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division […] I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans […] and this is so important to me.”
Yet many worry that Trump’s win has negative effects for groups in society that the new President has offended with controversial comments; such as the LGBT+ community, women, Muslims, ethnic minorities and foreign workers. There is a fear among the tens of millions of people who voted for Hillary Clinton that rather than bring American citizens together, as Trump now pledges, he will further divide and segregate those most vulnerable in society.
As the new 45th American President was called, the Internet went into overdrive with reactions. Twitter and Facebook were both bursting at the seams with reactions, while the Canadian immigration website -canada.ca – crashed the day after the election due to the sheer amount of people fleeing the country after Trump’s win.
The 2016 Democrat candidate later congratulated Trump in a speech, saying on her Twitter – “I hope he will be a successful president for all Americans […] we owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.” Before ending with the poignant message – “To all the little girls watching… never doubt that you are valuable and powerful & deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.”
In the UK, UKIP leader and long-time advocate and friend of Donald Trump Nigel Farage showed his support for his win saying “I thought Brexit was big… this is bigger […] we now have a President who likes our country and understands our post-Brexit values”.
Prime Minister Theresa May also congratulated Mr Trump – “I would like to congratulate Donald Trump on being elected the next President of the United States, following a hard-fought campaign.
“We are, and will remain, strong and close partners on trade, security and defence.”
Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn was less enthusiastic about Trump’s future presidency saying – “He has fought a nasty and divisive campaign […] his solutions [to healing divisions in the country] are not a solution to them but the message is a strong one. It is a rejection of establishment”.
Only time will tell as to whether Donald Trump will have a successful presidency but his shocking win will surely go down in history and be remembered for years to come.