Stunned markets, stunned voters: Trump in America’s ‘Brexit’ moment
Perhaps activist and filmmaker Michael Moore was the one who best anticipated America’s Brexit moment, with his strong and profanity-laden warning that political elites didn’t even see it coming.
But as Tuesday night became the wee hours of Wednesday in the United States, that moment had arrived as Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump – a lightning rod of controversy and as unlikely a statesman as the U.S. has known in its modern history – was declared winner of the presidential election.
The Associated Press called the race at 2:31 a.m. Eastern time.
More than 59 million Trump supporters voted in the high-turnout election and began celebrations as Trump and his conservative vice presidential running mate, former Indiana governor Mike Pence, took an early lead without ever looking back.
Stunned supporters of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, the former senator and U.S. Secretary of State, watched as state after state defied the pundits and predictions and went into the Trump win column.
The women who dressed in white pantsuits in honor of the sure-bet Clinton landslide, and the all-day crowds in long lines that snaked past the grave of Susan B. Anthony – a champion of women’s right to vote and engage in American political life – found themselves trapped in a premature celebration of their first female president.
“Many of you are, like me, in a state of shock,” said popular activist and artist George Takei. “This does not feel like the America you love and honor. We are in unchartered waters.”
As the dominoes fell, so did global markets, well before all the American states were called and the total votes necessary for Trump to secure the victory had been confirmed. By the time it was 1 a.m. in New York City, the Nikkei was down 4.9 percent, the Hang Seng was off 3 percent and Dow futures had at one point plunged 800 points.
Yet the real fall was for Clinton supporters, a final twist in a divisive and destructive campaign season that saw the nation at odds over immigration, jobs, national security and social issues.
Trump held late leads in the remaining battleground states – including the Midwestern “Brexit” state of Michigan – and won Pennsylvania, a state Clinton was expected to win with ease, followed by Wisconsin to reach the necessary total. Clinton still held the slimmest lead in New Hampshire, but with no meaningful path to victory.
American news outlets are reporting that Clinton has called to concede the election to Trump. In an acceptance speech, Trump called on the American people to express gratitude for her years of service and promised to lead all Americans.
Image: Donald Trump campaign