A disaster on many fronts.
That’s how Election Night 2016 is no doubt being seen by millions upon millions of people around the world.
Including three of us — all editors — in the newsroom last night. It was probably the last U.S. election I will be covering as a journalist in my career at my paper, though I would dearly love to cover the next one to see last night’s results reversed.
But, objectively speaking, what was particularly frustrating about covering the news story last night was the U.S. networks’ refusal to state the obvious earlier in the evening: Donald Trump would be the winner.
I had a CNN page up on my computer screen that showed the status of vote counting in every state and in every county if you clicked in further. By about 10 p.m., I sensed Trump was going to win. And then it was pretty clear to me by about 11 p.m. that he had it, and by midnight I was positive. But the U.S. networks held out hope that Hillary Clinton could still pull out states like Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin.
The vote counting seemed to be stalled in some places with, say, 98 percent of districts having reported and Trump holding a substantial lead — but still the American networks didn’t want to make the calls that would state the obvious.
Yes, I was shocked by the results. The polls were wrong. And it was a major lesson in democracy, for better and for worse. Every vote counts, and you know there were people who didn’t bother to vote yesterday who are probably regretting that decision today and will regret it for years to come.
We called it quits at 2:10 a.m., after a Clinton spokesperson announced she would not concede until morning because there were still some tight races, and that she would not address her supporters. At that point, according to the American networks, Trump stood at 244 electoral votes. I posted a headline saying Trump was poised to win the U.S. presidency, and added the fact to the story that the Associated Press had finally announced he was the winner in Florida, thus leaving him just six votes shy of victory.
As I drove home (a 75-minute drive), I heard on the radio that Clinton did, indeed, call Trump and concede, but the U.S. networks still stubbornly refused to call the election. It was only during his victory speech sometime between 2:45 and 3 a.m. that they finally stated what had been so obvious to me from 11 p.m. on.
I logged in to the paper’s website around 3:30 a.m. to update the story, but one of my colleagues — who lives closer to the office — had already made the changes.
I’m not sure what to make of the results today. I mean, the people have spoken. Markets will tumble today, stocks will fall — including my marijuana stocks, even though California approved the recreational use of pot in yesterday’s ballot vote.
Donald Trump’s victory will have an instant negative effect on the world, and it’s up to him now to reassure everyone that he can do a good job as U.S. president.
I know so many of my American readers are suffering an election hangover today, and perhaps looking north of your border at Canada as a haven. Apparently, the Canadian immigration website crashed last night during the election, as so many Americans knew what I knew earlier in the evening: Trump was going to win.
Canada is a great country, and we have lots of space — with a population of only 35 million. If you come, make sure you have some warm clothes . . . You would be welcome.
So, what do you have to say about the election results? Please have your say in the comments section here.
Photo credit: Donald Trump on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, February 2016, from Marc Nozell/Wikimedia Commons)