Well, the people have spoken, and Americans can no longer ignore the elephant in the room.
After a long and painful presidential race, Republican nominee Donald J. Trump defeated democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The outcome was shocking to many as recent polls predicted a clear, slam-dunk win for Clinton.
The night proved to be an impressive blow to democrats with the GOP maintaining the majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Trump gave his acceptance speech at the Hilton Hotel in New York City early Wednesday morning, where he congratulated Clinton on a “very hard-fought campaign.” The speech also gave an overarching aura of unity, saying “we will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict….I promise you that I will not let you down.”
Clinton did not give her concession speech in the wee hours of the morning, but rather waited to give her speech until around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. Clinton congratulated Trump on his victory and “offered to work with him on behalf of our country.” Clinton was poised and gracious in defeat.
Clinton also encouraged those touched by this movement to not lose hope in the cause they fought for.
“This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it,” Clinton said.
Other political voices also preached a message of unity and strength in the coming days.
President Obama gave a speech at the White House, where he too reminded the American people that we are not as divided as it seems.
“Now, everybody is sad when their side loses an election, but the day after we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team,” Obama said. “This is an intramural scrimmage. We’re not Democrats first. We’re not Republicans first. We are Americans first. We’re patriots first.”
Other prominent Republican figures who have previously scorned Trump offered their congratulations and support, be it via telephone or social media.
John Kasich tweeted, “The American people have spoken and it’s time to come together. Congratulations President-elect @realDonaldTrump.”
Jeb Bush tweeted, “Congratulations on your victory @realDonaldTrump. As our President, Columba and I will pray for you in the days and months to come.”
Former president George H.W. Bush called Trump and tweeted, “Barbara and I congratulate @realDonaldTrump, wish him well as he guides America forward as our next President. His family is in our prayers.”
Prominent democratic figures such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have held silence since the news broke.
Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, however, tweeted his thanks, saying, “Hillary Clinton held fast to dreams and made history. Thank you for including my family and me on this incredible journey.”
After 18 months of a grueling campaign, a sense of closure has finally arrived. While signs get taken down in yards and ornamental buttons get stowed away, the American people have a lot to think of in the months to come. Whether pleased or dissatisfied, Americans must remain hopeful that the best will come and common ground will be reached once again.