Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump won the 2016 election on Tuesday night, beating out Democrat Hillary Clinton in a narrow and largely unexpected victory.
Of the 11 battleground states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — nine went to Trump.
There was a tense flip-flop between Trump and Clinton up until the last electoral votes came in. Bob Shrum, a political science professor at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and longtime political consultant, explained his concerns when Donald Trump gripped 244 electoral votes.
“At the beginning of the day, they said it would take a miracle for Donald Trump to win,” Shrum said. “At this point it would take a miracle for Hillary Clinton to win. She is losing states Democrats almost always carry.”
It was a miracle that never came.
Near 11:30 p.m. PST, Trump was able to win the state of Wisconsin and garner 276 total electoral votes, six votes more than the necessary number to be president. Shortly afterward, Clinton called Trump to concede the election.
The results garnered mixed feelings in students watching the votes come in.
Doctoral student Erica Silva met the results with uneasiness, especially in contrast to the optimism expressed in the 2008 and 2012 elections.
“My freshman year, we watched Obama win the election, and the mood on campus was one of joy and hope,” Silva said. “Right now I think that the mood here is one of despair, one of shock, one of disbelief. We’re not really sure what’s going on.”
Conservative voices were also present. Diego Hernandez, a sophomore majoring in physics, said that he was overjoyed and relieved by the prospect of a Trump presidency.
“I think it [is] a very trying time for Americans, so in a sense I’m a relieved that Hillary didn’t win, mainly because of Supreme Court nominations,” Hernandez said. “We need to keep a conservative majority on the court. I’m hoping [Trump] will be able to get the recipe of success right, but I think no matter what he does he will always be a step above Clinton.”
Over the past several weeks, most major polls had predicted a Clinton victory. As of Tuesday morning, The New York Times gave Clinton an 84 percent chance of winning, though the Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Daybreak Poll stood out for its prediction of a Trump win.
Students largely reflected this divide between the polling predictions and the actual results, expressing surprise and shock.
“I did not expect this at all. I thought it would be a very easy win for Hillary,” said Thomas Demoner, a junior majoring in business administration with a concentration in cinematic arts. “I never really took Trump seriously. I’m a little embarrassed, [because] he’s definitely going to decay the country’s image.”
Sophie Greensite, a junior majoring in economics, mirrored Demoner’s statements, especially in regard to the numerous swing states that Trump won.
“I’m worried for our country,” Greensite said. “Trump just instills such a divisive rhetoric in people, and I don’t stand for anything that he says. I think that he’s only going to serve to further separate our nation.”
Ted Steinberg, a junior majoring in policy, planning and development, said that he accepts the results of the election despite being taken aback by them.
“I am shocked but also somewhat ashamed that I’m shocked,” Steinberg said. “We always hear that the polls aren’t 100 percent, and here we are trusting the polls a little too much, in part out of a cautious optimism that I guess came around and bit us.”
Senate results were announced on Tuesday night as well, with Republicans winning 51 seats and Democrats winning 47, leaving a Republican majority. The House of Representatives also maintained its Republican majority, with 235 seats announced to the Democrats’ 185.
Nitika Johri, a senior majoring in cognitive science, said that the advent of a Republican president coupled with a Republican majority in Congress was extremely concerning.
“I’m feeling pretty disheartened and a little bit scared,” Johri said. “A Trump presidency is scary enough, but what’s scary to me is also having Republicans hold the House and the Senate and what is going to happen with the Supreme Court justices. I feel scared not only for myself as a colored female, but I feel scared for a lot of the people who have expressed interest in being Democrats or being progressive.”