Caribbean-Americans shocked, disappointed over Hillary Clinton’s defeat
Garth A. Rose
In what South Florida’s Caribbean American community describe as a “shocking” and devastating upset, Republican Donald Trump convincingly won the US presidency in general elections held on Tuesday November 8.
In preliminary results, as of Wednesday morning, Trump needing 270 electoral votes to be elected, had won 289, including Florida’s 29, and Democrat Hillary Clinton 218, with the race in Michigan, Minnesota and New Hampshire too close to call, but would not change Trump’s election if the final tally even went for Clinton.
Clinton who was the overwhelming favorite of South Florida’s Caribbean American community by over 80 percent, conceded defeat to Trump in a congratulatory telephone call at approximately 2.30 on Wednesday morning, but she did not make a concession speech to her supporters. This was done later on Wednesday. In her speech, she thanked her supporters, and urged the nation to try and come together after the often bitter and divisive election campaign.
President Obama who campaigned aggressively for Clinton also called Trump to congratulate him. Trump is expected to visit Obama later this week at the White House to begin discussions and make plans for the transition of presidents. Trump will be inaugurated as the nation’s 45th president on January 20, 2017.
On Tuesday evening, several Clinton supporters and campaign volunteers gathered at an election watch party at a West Kendall restaurant. The mood was initially buoyant and optimistic as the group gathered around 8:00 pm but slowly turned glum as the votes for Florida came in and showed that Trump was leading by a large margin and eventually won the state. The mood worsened when the national results showed Trump winning Ohio and North Carolina, states the Democrats needed to win.
Granville Simmons, Caribbean American supporter of Clinton who had confidently projected her winning Florida, and the presidency by 303 electoral votes, said Clinton’s loss was “A devastating ad shocking defeat. It makes one numb with shock like hearing of the sudden death of a very dear, loved one.” Simmons response was similar with Caribbean-Americans across South Florida.
Commenting on the election results, a Clinton campaign coordinator in South Florida, Gabbie Marsh said, “What makes the loss the more devastating is that the campaign succeeded in turning out the Caribbean and African American votes. Some 80 percent of Caribbean Americans voted and 75 percent of African-Americans. South Florida voted for Hillary some 64 percent to 36 percent for Trump, but it still was not enough to win the state. It’s devastating.”
Although the results showed the coalition of Hispanics, Caribbean Americans, African Americans, women, and millennial voters voting in favor of Clinton, exit polls indicated 34 percent of Hispanics still voted for Trump. The black vote was down some 5 percent compared to the 2012 presidential elections and the vote by millennials was down by some 10 percent.
Marsh speculated. “Perhaps Hillary would have won if more Hispanics had voted for her, and more young people turned out to vote. However, even then those votes may not have been enough to overcome the surge of votes Trump received in the western and northern counties of the state from the coalition of white voters.”