Update: Early Wednesday morning, Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump to concede the election. Trump will become the next president of the United States.
After a nail-biter of an election night the race has been called as, well, too close to call. We're still waiting on Wisconsin and Michigan to figure out how this thing will shake out.
Yep, that's right, we are back in the hanging-chad land of the 2000 presidential race, apparently. The electoral votes of New York, Virginia, Vermont, Connecticut, California, Colorado, Delaware, D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and others went to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, giving her 209 votes.
Meanwhile, Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wyoming brought 187 votes to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. (Although Harris County went for Clinton, Texas was a red state once again, despite all of those theories about the Lone Star State's going blue.)
The thing is, to win, either candidate needs to secure 270 or more of the 538 electoral votes. So far, that hasn't happened so the presidential election is still in play.
Florida has famously been the site of crazy election-night plot twists, but this time around the state swung back and forth between Clinton and Trump most of the night before finally being called for Trump. Instead it was the states Clinton had seemed to have in the bag, Michigan and Wisconsin, where the race was a true tossup as we rolled toward midnight waiting on the election returns.
Clinton supporters waited at Midtown's packed Republic Smokehouse Saloon, home of the official election watch party for the Clinton campaign. The diverse crowd – many members of which were decked out in stickers and signs that read “I’m With Her” and “Texas Together,” as well as shirts emblazoned with the words “Nasty Woman” or “Bad Hombre” – watched CNN and MSNBC broadcasts anxiously, waiting for their candidate to surge ahead.
When Clinton did, after the West Coast polls were called at 11 p.m., the crowd’s screams were deafening. (Followed by scattered boos when MSNBC announced that Trump had taken Idaho.) As the night went on, most people stopped frequenting the bar and just quietly waited for more state announcements to be made. Adrianna and Laura Sanchez said they had come to the watch party to support their mother, an immigrant from Belize, who was worried about the election’s outcome.
“I work in a very conservative environment, and it gives them a voice,” Adrianna said of the election. “I’ve heard some very racist things that I think otherwise would not have been said. We need to show them that it’s not okay. We are Americans…I’m not going to abandon this country.”
The Trump watch party, at Harris County Republican Party Houston headquarters, was about half-full, but the mostly white spectators were a raucous crowd, cheering as Fox News broadcasters called different states in the the race for Trump and Clinton. “I know it’s going to be close,” said Larry Capasso, who was sporting a “Make American Great Again!” hat. “I don’t trust some of the states and some of the shenanigans that have gone on in them in the past elections. Maybe [it’s] not proven, but [it’s] sure talked about it enough that it seems like it has fact.”
It's a crazy night, and now we just have to wait to see how this whole thing plays out. Nobody has conceded yet. Considering it's Clinton and Trump, don't count on either one of them walking away from this if there's even a sliver of hope that they could tip this thing into a win.
So now we have to see how the election turns out, and then prepare to get it back together as a country. "What we're seeing is a country completely divided," Jeronimo Cortina, a political science professor at University of Houston, said. "We haven't been as divided as this since right after the Civil War. It comes from a lack of equality, from the lack of having a real, good tangible path forward in terms of the American Dream. It doesn't come out of the blue. But we cannot have another division like this. We need to sit down, draw a breath and figure out how to move forward together."
However, no matter how this turns out, the Trump faction isn't going away, Jim Granato, also a UH professor of political science, cautioned. It's been a remarkably ugly campaign, he says. "You have to go back to the Founding Fathers, to the campaign with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, to find anything comparable. We've had nothing like this in modern history," Granato said. The Republican Party is still in an identity crisis, he said. "No matter what, Republicans are going to have to have a major discussion — some call it a civil war — to decide what kind of party they're going to be in the future. Whether they'll be the party of House Speaker Paul Ryan or the party of Trump."
And the same apparently goes for the Democrats, who didn't get the lockstep support from union members and other old reliables in the party that everyone had expected.
Of course, there's always the Canadian option. It looks like moving there appealed to a lot of people on Tuesday night: The country's immigration website crashed.
In short, for now, we don't know who our next president will be, though we'll update as soon as we have some concrete decision on that. The only thing we do know is that we can't keep President Barack Obama because it's constitutionally not allowed, so we're going to end up with one of these two. And for now, that remains up in the air.
Carter Sherman contributed reporting.
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