2016 United States presidential election
58th quadrennial U.S. presidential election / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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The 2016 United States presidential election was the 58th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. The Republican ticket of businessman Donald Trump and Indiana governor Mike Pence defeated the Democratic ticket of former secretary of state and First Lady of the United States Hillary Clinton and the United States senator from Virginia Tim Kaine, in what was considered a large upset. Trump took office as the 45th president, and Pence as the 48th vice president, on January 20, 2017. It was the fifth and most recent presidential election in which the winning candidate lost the popular vote. It was also the sixth presidential election, and the first since 1944, in which both major party candidates were registered in the same home state.
538 members of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
|Turnout||55.7% 2.9 pp|
Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Trump/Pence (R) and blue denotes those won by Clinton/Kaine (D). Numbers indicate electoral votes cast by each state and the District of Columbia. On election night, Trump won 306 electors and Clinton 232. However, because of seven faithless electors (five Democratic and two Republican), Trump received just 304 votes to Clinton's 227.
Per the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, then-incumbent president Barack Obama was ineligible to seek a third term. Clinton secured the nomination over Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and became the first female presidential nominee of a major American political party. Trump emerged as his party's front-runner amidst a wide field of candidates in the Republican primary, defeating Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio, and Ohio Governor John Kasich, among other candidates. The Libertarian Party nominated former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, and the Green Party nominated Jill Stein. Trump's right-wing populist nationalist campaign, which promised to "Make America Great Again" and opposed political correctness, illegal immigration, and many United States free-trade agreements garnered extensive free media coverage due to Trump's inflammatory comments. Clinton emphasized her extensive political experience, denounced Trump and many of his supporters as a "basket of deplorables", bigots and extremists, and advocated the expansion of President Obama's policies; racial, LGBT, and women's rights; and inclusive capitalism.
The tone of the general election campaign was widely characterized as divisive, negative, and troubling. Trump faced controversy over his views on race and immigration, incidents of violence against protestors at his rallies, and numerous sexual misconduct allegations including the Access Hollywood tape. Clinton's popularity and public image were tarnished by concerns about her ethics and trustworthiness, and a controversy and subsequent FBI investigation regarding her improper use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state, which received more media coverage than any other topic during the campaign. Clinton led in almost every nationwide and swing-state poll, with some predictive models giving Clinton over a 90 percent chance of winning.
On Election Day, Trump over-performed his polls, winning several key swing states, while losing the popular vote by 2.87 million votes. Trump received the majority in the Electoral College and won upset victories in the Rust Belt region, becoming the first and only Republican nominee since 1988 to win Michigan and Pennsylvania, and the first and only since 1984 to win Wisconsin. The pivotal victory in the Rust Belt- which Trump won by less than 80,000 votes in the three states- was considered the catalyst that won him the electoral college vote. Trump's surprise victories were perceived to have been assisted by Clinton's lack of campaigning in the region, and the influence of Sanders-Trump voters who refused to back her after Bernie Sanders dropped out. This election also marked the first time since 1988 that the Republican candidate won Maine's second congressional district. He additionally flipped Ohio, Florida, and Iowa. Ultimately, Trump received 304 electoral votes and Clinton 227, as two faithless electors defected from Trump and five from Clinton. Trump was the first president with neither prior public service nor military experience. Trump became the only Republican to earn more than 300 electoral votes since the 1988 election and the only Republican to win a Northeastern state since George W. Bush won New Hampshire in 2000.
This was the first time since 1976 where a Republican presidential candidate lost a pledged vote via a faithless elector and additionally, this was the first time since 1972 that the winning presidential candidate lost an electoral vote. With ballot access to the entire national electorate, Johnson received nearly 4.5 million votes (3.27%), the highest nationwide vote share for a third-party candidate since Ross Perot in 1996, while Stein received almost 1.45 million votes (1.06%), the most for a Green nominee since Ralph Nader in 2000. Independent candidate Evan McMullin, who appeared on the ballot in 11 states, received over 732,000 votes (0.53%). He won 21.4% of the vote in his home state of Utah, the highest share of the vote for a third-party candidate in any state since 1992. At 70, Trump was the oldest non-incumbent to win a presidential election, besting Ronald Reagan (age 69 in 1980). This record was broken by Joe Biden, who was elected at age 77 in 2020.
On January 6, 2017, the United States Intelligence Community concluded that the Russian government had interfered in the 2016 elections in order to "undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency." A Special Counsel investigation of alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign began in May 2017 and ended in March 2019. The investigation concluded that Russian interference to favor Trump's candidacy occurred "in sweeping and systematic fashion", but it "did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government." This is the most recent election where both candidates were private citizens.