© 2022 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Riding A Wave Of Change, Donald Trump Wins Presidential Election


This country has had 44 presidents. Every single one of them had either served in public office or in the military or both before being elected.


And that changed last night. Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States. Hillary Clinton is leading in the popular vote but lost the electoral vote, which is decisive.

INSKEEP: And she called Donald Trump early this morning. A little bit later, around 3 a.m., President-Elect Donald Trump spoke of working with his critics.


DONALD TRUMP: Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream. I've spent my entire life in business, looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world. That is now what I want to do for our country.

GREENE: OK, President-elect Donald Trump there. Let's bring in some more voices here. Joining us in the studio, we have Jonah Goldberg, senior editor at The National Review, also Republican Pollster John Feehery. Welcome to you both.

JOHN FEEHERY: Good morning.

JONAH GOLDBERG: Great to be here.

GREENE: And also on the line, NPR political reporter Scott Detrow who has been awake for something like 72 hours. Scott, good morning again to you.


GREENE: Let me just start with you, Jonah Goldberg. What happened last night?

GOLDBERG: I think what happened is, is that Donald Trump managed to change the model of what this electorate looks like. He had enthusiastic supporters in his base. His base supporters were the only people who thought he could win, and it turned out they were right. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton failed to mobilize and galvanize her own support in the electorate, and - at least as necessary to win the Electoral College.

INSKEEP: I just want to mention for people, we have something of an illustration of a divide within the Republican Party here because Jonah Goldberg is conservative but very strongly critical of Donald Trump. And John Feehery, you're a political pro, and you've been supportive of Donald Trump. Why did you think that he won?

FEEHERY: And critical at the same time. Listen, I think Trump won because he was a change agent in a change election. And Hillary Clinton was the status quo. I think that Jonah's right, that he mobilized the Republican base in ways that we never thought possible, especially after Mitt Romney won. But he did it in a way that offered economic change in a way that Democrats never really anticipated.

INSKEEP: I am reminded of something that we heard in 2012 from a Mitt Romney adviser who said, this - 2012 - is going to be the last time that anybody ever tries to win an election with a white-only coalition because the country is changing so much. Does it appear that Donald Trump has actually, four years later, done that?

FEEHERY: You know, I would say that actually Trump did better amongst Hispanics than Romney did and did better amongst African-Americans than Romney did. It wasn't really just an all-white electorate. Now, that being said, he did go for that white middle-class or white working-class in a way that Romney never could. And he excited voters that never voted before in ways that - by taking really - and taking the Democratic position on a lot of issues like trade and other economic...

INSKEEP: And we should be clear, according to exit polls, he did very badly among Latinos and African-Americans. But you're right. There've been some exit polls saying he did a tick or so better than President Obama.

GOLDBERG: I agree with that entirely. The only thing is, is that, you know, the one factor I have to leave out is that Donald - that Barack Obama was on the ticket the last two races, and he's a much more compelling person to minority voters than Hillary Clinton is.

GREENE: So is there a civil war in the Republican Party right now?

GOLDBERG: I think the civil - and I'm open to correction on this, but I planned on talking all about the Republican civil war, the conservative civil war. I was going to write about it today. I was going to talk about it today. I think it is on hold.

GREENE: On hold.

GOLDBERG: It is on hold because we're waiting to see how Donald Trump is actually going to behave as the next president of the United States. If he goes one way and fulfills the promises of his conservative supporters, then maybe there isn't. I think - on the other hand, I think that the new hot take is that the Democratic Party may be heading into a civil war.

GREENE: John Feehery, let's look at this moment and what Donald Trump is going to do or has to do. Is there a way for him to appeal to the voters who brought him into office last night but also try and mend fences with people like House Speaker Paul Ryan?

FEEHERY: Yeah, I think there is a way, and it's through effective action. I think it's also through hiring good people. I mean, I think the biggest concern a lot of people have in this election about Donald Trump was the fact that he has no idea what he's doing. And so if he can hire some good people, start listening to people in ways that, you know, are compelling and actually start governing in a way that actually can show that he knows how to govern, which we don't know yet, I think that's the way he can get everything together.

INSKEEP: We had our congressional correspondent Ailsa Chang on earlier this morning, and she began ticking off policy differences between Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, and Donald Trump. You could start with trade. You could go on to immigration. You could go on to his Muslim ban or whatever it's become. And she went on for quite some time. Are they at all on the same page?

GOLDBERG: Yeah. Look, there is - as a - let me put my conservative media critic hat on. The Republicans just won this historic election.


GOLDBERG: They now basically run the whole country, state, local races all over the country. The the coverage is going to be, as it always is with these things, how this is a problem for Republicans, right? Meanwhile, the Democrats - the Democratic establishment...

INSKEEP: Total disaster.

GOLDBERG: ...Has been decimated. I said the Republican civil war is on hold. I didn't say it's not coming, right?

GREENE: You should be - you're being very careful there.

GOLDBERG: Yeah. I think it all depends on how Donald Trump behaves and whether or not he picks fights with his own side, as we know he has the capacity to do, or whether or not he actually tries to galvanize the GOP now that he actually won.

GREENE: Scott Detrow, let me bring you into this conversation. You've spent a lot of time talking to voters. I mean, last night Donald Trump, before his supporters in that hotel, saying he wants to be a president for all Americans. Do his supporters, do the people who supported him so fervently want him to reach out and unify? That didn't seem to be the message that really resonated with them.

DETROW: No, I think that's a great question. And I think that there was a lot of grievance in the coalition that Donald Trump put together. And I think that's something he talked about day-in, day-out. He painted a very dark picture of the country. He said some parts may be doing great, but the part where my supporters are isn't. It's been left behind. And I want to fix that. That's the message that resonated, and it clearly worked in places like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. And he's ahead in Michigan, though we haven't called it yet. Those are places where typically Democrats run up big, big margins in the cities and suburbs. And that is more than the rural vote. But the rural vote was energized in these states and carried him to victory in a way that Democrats haven't done in decades in those states.

INSKEEP: Very briefly, John Feehery, do you see a way that the Republicans, having won everything, as we said, can work with Democrats, who still have the power in the Senate, especially to stop things?

FEEHERY: Well, they have to. And the good news for Republicans is Harry Reid left, and Chuck Schumer is in as minority leader. I think Schumer and McConnell are going to be able to get stuff done on immigration and the economy.

INSKEEP: He's a hard-core partisan, but you're saying he's also a practical guy.

FEEHERY: He's practical, and he can cut deals. And we need to cut deals to move the country forward.

INSKEEP: John Feehery and Jonah Goldberg, thanks to both of you. We really appreciate it.

GOLDBERG: Thanks for having me.

INSKEEP: And let's now go to NPR's John Ydstie who's been following the economic fallout from this. You may have heard last night that as word spread that Donald Trump was leading and heading toward a victory, stock futures plunged. What's happening this morning, John?

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Well, as you said, stocks fell overnight - in Japan, dramatically down five and a half percent. Europe's now down about three quarters to one and a half percent on their indexes. U.S. futures have our market opening a little more down - a little more than 2 percent. And the reason is markets don't like surprises, and they got a big one overnight. And the other reason is uncertainty about Donald Trump's economic policies. Will he tear up trade deals and hurt a lot of companies? Will he put on tariffs and start a trade war?

INSKEEP: Stocks plunged when the Brexit vote happened in Britain over the summer.

YDSTIE: They did.

INSKEEP: Did they recover after a while?

YDSTIE: They did recover, yeah. And I - you know, I think as the uncertainty goes away, we could have a recovery. There are economic policies that Donald Trump has that could lead to growth.

INSKEEP: We'll see what happens. NPR's John Ydstie, thanks very much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.