|Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states/districts won by Clinton/Kaine. Red denotes those won by Trump/Christie. Numbers indicate electoral votes allotted to the winner of each state.|
The United States presidential election of 2016 was the 58th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 7, 2016. The contest was between Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former Secretary of State under then President Barack Obama and wife of former president Bill Clinton and her running mate, senator Elizabeth Warren; Republican candidate Donald Trump, a businessman from New York and his running mate, New Jersey governor Chris Christie; and various third-party candidates.
The election of 2016 has been historically noted as among the most controversial, historic, and important in the history of the United States. The election has been held responsible by many historians as a catalyst for the ultimate decline of the Republican party, leading towards its splintering in the 2020s. The election was also notable for including the first female major party nominee, being among the only elections in American history where both major party candidates share a home state, and the election of the first female president in United States history.
The 2016 election experienced high voter turnout thanks to, mostly, the highly controversial and publicized candidacy of Donald Trump and infamous GOP convention; a strong female turnout in support of Hillary Clinton and against the various media-dubbed misogynistic statements made by Trump; increased minority turnout over Trump's stance on immigration; and the continued involvement of anti-Trump Republicans into the general election campaign. The presidential election of 2016 experienced the highest voter turnout since 1968. Both the early primary campaign and general election campaign focused heavily on immigration, counter-terrorism, the defeat of ISIS, and civil rights specifically in terms of gender equality. The 2016 election is also notable for being among the most violent in modern history, experiencing mass protests across the country, and, as was seen as the Republican national convention, dangerous rioting. Based on electoral votes alone, the election was the largest landslide since 1988, and the worst result for a Republican candidate since 1964. Utah went to democrats for the first time since 1964, Georgia for the first time since 1992, and Arizona for the first time since 1996. Despite her high disapproval rating throughout the election season, Clinton as well won the highest popular vote percentage of any candidate since Ronald Reagan, also becoming the first presidential candidate to win over 70 million votes. Notably, the 2016 election also saw the Libertarian party garner over 2% of the national vote under the leadership of Gary Johnson, the largest percentage in the party's existence. The election would later be famously dubbed by President Clinton as "our year of chaos".
In 2012, President Barack Obama won reelection, defeating the Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Obama's approval ratings during his second term coasted between 40 and 50% until 2016 when his approval ratings began to rise. With the Republican Party facing national scrutiny unlike any that had been seen in recent times, Obama's approval ratings reached 54% by the time of Hillary Clinton's presumptive nomination in June, and, with a positive economic outlook and decreasing unemployment, it continued to rise. By November 2016, Obama's approval rating was at or above 55%, and in the November United States Congressional elections 2016, Democrats gained the majority in both houses. Barack Obama exited the presidency with an approval rating of 54%.
Many political analysts blame the controversial and abnormal Republican nominating process to changes in primary rules. With the majority of states voting first being deeply conservative as well as statistically uneducated, businessman Donald Trump was able to accumulate a substantial delegate lead ahead of Ted Cruz thanks to these consistent voter demographics. This, mixed with lack of party unity and a refusal to rally behind Trump as a frontrunner led to a long and competitive primary race. The Republican's unprecedented field of presidential candidates, the largest in American history, also led to the party's growing disunity.
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