Today we wake up to Donald Trump, president-elect in what many media pundits described as the “most astonishing upset in American political history,” or some facsimile thereof.
It was noted repeatedly in the wee hours of the morning that Hillary Clinton had the highest unfavorability ratings of any candidate headed into a presidential election. In fact, both candidates were highly unpopular. Many in the media called Trump “unfit” to be president.
Astonished pundits chattered about the “blue wall” that collapsed, one state tumbling after another like dominoes. Trump defied the predictions of pundits and pollsters. The polling was off in just about every state by at least five or more points, according to Frank Luntz, the political consultant and pollster, speaking on CBS News’ "Early Show" this morning. “It’s a good day for democracy and a bad day for pollsters,” Luntz opined.
Now the media is second-guessing and wondering how they got it so wrong. The day-after analysis suggests that Clinton, the Washington establishment, and the media didn’t spend enough time trying to understand the voters and deconstruct their anger. They didn’t hone in on the severe lack of trust and the desire for change, and a visceral desire to dismantle the establishment quid pro quo.
Many who voted for Clinton are fearful. They fear a Trump presidency which could very well dismantle well, everything. The uncertainty breeds fear. Trump is “the biggest wildcard of all time,” Mark Halperin, managing editor, Bloomberg News, said today on CNN.
To say last night into the early morning was a nail-biter, is an understatement. RTBlog stayed with the race until 3:30 a.m. to document some of the biggest moments in real time.
Here they are:
12:20 a.m.: ABC’s George Stephanopoulos begins by saying, “This might be the most stunning upset in American political history.”
12:25 a.m.: Pundits on several channels noted that Trump might well be the most unqualified person in American political history to have a path to the presidency.
12:30 a.m.: NBC's Chuck Todd calls out Democrats for underestimating the “white” (male and rural) vote and the taint of the email scandal. Todd noted depressed turnout in the non-white vote—numbers that were lower than President Obama’s in the 2012 race.
1 a.m.: Media pundits are now waxing prophetically about how they (the media) missed the signals and wonder who the leader of the Democratic party is now. Bernie Sanders? Elizabeth Warren? And, how does a man who's never served in an elected public office or the military become president?
Reports about the Dow Jones industrial average plunging more than 700 points in volatile futures trading begin surfacing.
1:15 p.m.: There’s a distinct pall over the Jacob Javits Center in New York City where thousands of Clinton supporters gathered for what they hoped would be a victory celebration. Some people were crying.
2:05 a.m.: John Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign, is onstage at the Javits Center to tell everyone to go home and get some sleep. “They’re still counting the votes… every vote deserves to be counted.” Podesta tells the crowd there will no concession or acceptance speech from Hillary Clinton.
2:06 a.m.: The pundits start asking one another: What does the Clinton campaign do next?
2:09 a.m.: The Associated Press calls Pennsylvania for Trump. Fox callsWisconsin for Trump, but not Pa. Confusion. “This is a stinging rebuke for Barack Obama,” noted Mark Shields of "PBS NewsHour."
2:23 a.m.: CNN reports 125 million votes have been cast, 115 million have been counted.
2:37 a.m.: Giddy Trump supporters wait for him to appear at the Hilton Hotel.
2:39 a.m.: CNN reports that Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump to concede the race.
2:42 a.m.: Jubilant Trump supporters wait for the candidate.
2:44 a.m.: Vice President-Elect Mike Pence and his wife walk onstage. Pence speaks. CNN pundits seem to suggest that the Trump camp is shocked he won. “This is an upset election unlike anything we have seen in our lifetime,” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer intones. “History is being made.”
2:47 a.m.: Trump walks onstage. “This is a moment few anticipated,” Blitzer intones again.
“Hillary has worked very hard and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country,” Trump says. “It is time for us to come together as one united people. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans. And this is so important to me.”
“Ours was not a campaign, but rather an incredible and great movement made up millions of hard-working men and women who want a better, brighter future for their families. …It’s made up of all races and religions.”
2:55 a.m.: It occurs to RTBlog that Barron Trump is the most beautiful thing on the stage: a young boy squinting and blinking, struggling to stay awake.
Trump speaks about uniting people and finding common ground. He also concedes, “This political stuff is nasty and tough.” (Ya think?)
3:04 a.m.: “To be really historic, we have to do a really great job. … While the campaign is over, our work on this movement is really just beginning. We’re going to get to work right away for the American people. … And I love this country.”
3:30 am.: RTBlog slogs off to sleep, sort of.