Donald Trump named 45th U.S. president

By Audra Gamble | 11/9/16 11:30pm

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump excites the audience at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan during his late-night rally less than 12 hours before polls open to voters.

by GVL/Emily Frye / Grand Valley Lanthorn

For the fifth time in U.S. history, the presidential nominee who won the popular vote did not become the president-elect Tuesday, Nov. 8. With 47.5 percent of the popular vote and 279 Electoral College votes, businessman Donald J. Trump will be the 45th American president.

Though the predictive polls had all but called the 2016 election for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, anxious voters had to wait long into the night for a winner to be announced. Despite a strong lead in the statistical analysis site www.fivethirtyeight.com model of each candidate’s chances of winning, Clinton’s “blue wall” began to crumble as polls closed across the country.

GVL/Emily Frye

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence addresses the crowd at Donald Trump's last campaign event of the 2016 election in Grand Rapids, Michigan Monday, Nov. 7.

Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona all were in play throughout the night, and Clinton’s chances to make it to the White House fell apart as the Midwest states turned red.

Slow returns of election results and an increasingly tight race in Michigan gave the state a great deal of national attention, as the state’s 16 Electoral College votes waited to be claimed.

Both major party candidates spent portions of their last day on the campaign trail in the Mitten State Monday, Nov. 7 as they tried to invigorate Michiganders to head to the polls.

While Clinton’s lead was small, she was projected to win Michigan. An upsurge in rural voters and weaker-than-expected support for Clinton in Wayne and Oakland counties turned the state for Republicans for the first time since 1992.

“There was a huge failure at the state level to predict who would actually turn out and vote,” said Whitt Kilburn, a political science professor at Grand Valley State University who studies public opinion, elections and voting behavior. “In terms of attempting to predict what the electorate will look like, the polls just didn’t anticipate that so few voters would be turning out in Wayne County. In Michigan, this was, at least in recent memory, a not-experienced surge in rural voters.”

In addition to rural voters, Kilburn said a low response rate from Trump supporters in poll may have skewed the predictions.

“It’s possible that the constant rhetoric from Trump about not trusting the media and pollsters could have had the effect of discouraging his voters from participating in that process (Trump) said was so fundamentally broken,” Kilburn said. “When it gets to be so severe, there’s just no way to correct for that.”

Though the historically slow results from Wayne County trickled in through early morning, Trump ended with 2,279,210 votes in Michigan, slightly edging out Clinton's 2,267,373 votes by 11,837 ballots. 

For GVSU students participating in their first presidential election, some were met with long wait times at the polls.

GVSU student TJ Burnett was one of the hundreds of people still waiting in line at Allendale voting locations even after the 8 p.m. close. Burnett got in line at 6:30 p.m. at Precinct Five, along with many other first-time student voters.

“Around 7:45 p.m., a lot of the first-time voters started asking ‘Can I still vote?' because they were telling us we probably still have (another) hour or two before we can vote,” he said.

Election officials encouraged all voters in line to stay where they were, ensuring their votes were counted.

“It was mainly Grand Valley students, but it also had older adults from around Grand Valley,” Burnett said. “A lot of the older adults, even though they may or may not have supported the views that we have, were still there to really help us and help us go through the process of how to fill out a ballot (and) things you can and cannot do in line.”

Though some voters had to wait longer than expected to cast their ballots, Ottawa County reported high turnout among residents.

“Allendale Precinct Five went from just over 1,500 registered voters to over 3,100 registered voters in the weeks leading up to the registration deadline Oct. 11,” said Steven Daitch, Ottawa County elections coordinator. “We had high turnout, with 73 percent of the county casting a ballot in this election. Our local clerks and election workers did a phenomenal job throughout the day and I’m very happy with how smoothly the process ran.”

Trump will be inaugurated as president in Washington, D.C. Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. 

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