Thursday 27 July 2017

It will be a tall order to heal wounds and unify the nation after such a debased election campaign

Bernie Sanders (left) and Hillary Clinton during the Democratic presidential candidates’ debate at the University of New Hampshire in February. Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters
Bernie Sanders (left) and Hillary Clinton during the Democratic presidential candidates’ debate at the University of New Hampshire in February. Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters
Liz O'Donnell

Liz O'Donnell

When the first votes came in, I was glued to CNN, having followed the heady coverage all day. Whatever the outcome, it would be historic; the first woman president of the United States or victory to the ultimate outsider. It would be a close contest, but most people felt Mrs Clinton would shade it. Yet as those early results came in from Kentucky and Indiana marked red on the map of the United States, my heart sank.

It was the percentage difference in the votes for Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton which set alarm bells ringing, reminding me of Brexit and the first 'Leave' majority (61pc) that came in from Sunderland and a 49.3pc 'Leave' vote from Newcastle. In the end, almost all north-east areas voted Brexit and the rest is history.

The unusually high turnout in the US election was indicative of something, but what and in whose favour? Some people stayed up all night, others went to bed fearful of waking up to the reality of a Trump victory. And so it turned out.

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