Grabbing America By The Ballots

Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential Election.
Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential Election.

Though the popular vote seemed to point in a different direction, the Electoral College provided a path to the White House for President-elect Donald Trump on Election Day.

According to the Associated Press, Trump defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by the final electoral count of 290 to 228 but, as of presstime, former Secretary of State Clinton won the popular vote 60,981,118 to real-
estate mogul Trump’s tally of 60,350,241, a healthy margin of more than 630,000 votes. And that margin could grow, as California still has more than 4 million votes pending while Washington is waiting on another 700,000.

The election’s culmination has not cooled the nation’s divide, as massive protests against the President-elect have manifested on the streets of numerous American cities, while reports of targeted hate crimes have spiked across the county—hate crimes that Trump denounced in a 60 Minutes interview on Sunday.

As for Long Island, preliminary results had Trump besting Clinton by close to 20,000 votes. In Nassau County, Clinton topped Trump with 307,326 votes to 275,479, or 50.8 percent to 45.6 percent. However, Suffolk County proved a bastion of Trump voters, delivering a 52.1 percent edge to Clinton’s 43.9 percent, or 328,403 to 276,953.

Reaction from voters and elected officials across Long Island was mixed—some heralded Trump as the remedy to an ailing Washington, DC, while others feared his often unhinged campaign rhetoric would spill into his Oval Office policies. Most shared the same anxious shock as the numbers piled up on election night. And, public reaction manifested in numerous ways, from gleeful Trump supporters topped with their signature red hats to shocked and horrified Clinton voters terrified at the prospect of a certain faction of voters winning the day.

“I’m a Republican, but there is a racist, sexist and downright dangerous element who voted for Trump,” said Cathy Iaccono of Wantagh. “I voted for Clinton. And I would vote for her again. I just hope that all of the bluster from Trump was only to rile up a base of supporters. If not, I’m worried.”

Supporters of Trump believe the President-elect will dismantle what they perceive as a pervasive stream of political corruption.

“I voted for Trump because we need to shake things up, we need to try a new system, we need to get out of our comfort zone, we need to try harder to make things better,” said Andrea Bergin of Carle Place. “We’ve tried the ‘establishment’ candidates, slick politicians, the charismatic ‘say the right thing’ candidates and what has it gotten us?”

But contrary to Trump’s insistence that he will “drain the swamp,” his actual and rumored political appointees have ranged from well-established Republicans to fringe alt-right extremists. On Sunday, Trump named two top advisors to his administration, tapping Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus for chief of staff and Steve Bannon, Trump campaign CEO and executive chairman of the incendiary Breitbart News, as chief strategist and senior counselor.

Meanwhile, rumors have swirled that Trump plans to appoint Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and Ben Carson to various cabinet positions.

In the run up to his election on Nov. 8, Trump’s boasts ranged from building a wall on the Mexican border and banning Muslims from the U.S. (bluster that has since disappeared from his website). While such bombast elicited cheers from his most ardent followers, many elected officials took a measured approach when asked how they would work with a President Donald J. Trump.

Tom Suozzi, who was elected to the Third Congressional District last week, said that he will support the President and is anxious to hear his agenda. “I will be open minded and I will work with him because it’s what this country needs,” he said. “However, I won’t tolerate any discriminatory shenanigans that would result in injustices. I’m hoping he’ll work to bring Americans back together.”

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