Donald Trump Elected President -- How the Hell Did We Get Here?

At around 2:30 a.m. on the morning of November 9, the votes from Wisconsin came in and history was made: Donald Trump was elected to be the next president of the United States. It doesn't seem like history was made -- Donald Trump is, after all, just another white dude elected (albeit one of the most dangerous incarnations of a white dude we've seen) to the United States' highest office. But this is history. 

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It's history because not only was it the first election where a woman was the favorite to win at several points during the election cycle, but it was also the first where a woman who could win deserved to win. It's the first time a candidate so obviously troubling -- so outwardly racist, so clearly sexist, so undeniably cruel -- has been allowed into office. It's one of the first times we are truly terrified for our country's future and democracy after a presidential election.

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As of 8:10 this morning, it is reported that Trump finished the night with 279 electoral votes -- nine more than the 270 required -- and Hillary Clinton finished with 218. Of the 11 swing states identified for this election, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin went to Trump. Michigan, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Arizona have yet to been called and there are still votes to be counted. As of now, he's won 47.5 percent of the popular vote. Clinton's won 47.6 percent. (Yeah, we know.) Gary Johnson and Jill Stein have won 3.6 and 1.1 percent, respectively, and the rest of the vote went to write-ins.

And just like that -- after more than a year of swinging between terror at the thought of a Trump presidency and the belief that it would never happen -- Donald Trump was elected to lead the United States.

We don't know exactly why he won. We don't know if Hillary's campaign saw one scandal too many, or if this is really what the people wanted. We don't know if our nation's sexism really runs that deep. We don't know if there are really that many angry people who just want to overturn the system. We don't know if this means we'll really be dealing with Mike Pence (who will now be the president of the Republican-controlled Senate) instead of Donald Trump, which is a scarier prospect, all things considered. We don't know if exit polls, once they're released, will show some troubling trend we'll need to address in our country. We just don't know.

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What we do know is this: We know that this win was the only proof Donald Trump would have accepted in order to believe the political system is not rigged. We know we have to worry about what he'll do to our minorities and what he'll do to our international allies. We know that we, as women, have to worry about our rights and our safety, and that we, as moms, have to worry about our children's future. We have to worry about what he'll do to the very foundation of our democracy.

We know we have to figure out what went wrong. And be sure to never let it happen again.

And finally, we know we have to prepare for Inauguration Day on January 20, 2017. That's when the real work starts -- that's when we start asking our senators to vote in a way that's best for our nation, when we start teaching our children what hate looks like and how to reverse it, and when we get serious about proving that America has been great all along.

 

Image via Ricardo Arduengo/ZUMA Press/Splash News

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