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2016 United States presidential election


The 2016 United States presidential election was the 58th quadrennial American 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 Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator from Virginia Tim Kaine, despite losing the popular vote. Trump took office as the 45th president, and Pence as the 48th vice president, on January 20, 2017.

The United States government's intelligence agencies concluded on January 6, 2017, that the Russian government had interfered in the elections in order to "undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency". President Trump repeatedly criticized these conclusions, calling the issue a "hoax" and "fake news". Trump has also criticized accusations of collusion between Russia and his campaign, citing a lack of evidence. Investigations regarding such collusion were started by the FBI, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the House Intelligence Committee. The Special Counsel investigation began in May 2017 and concluded in March 2019 that "the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities" though it did find 10 “episodes” of potential obstruction.

Speculation about the 2016 campaign began almost immediately following the 2012 campaign, with New York magazine declaring the race had begun in an article published on November 8, two days after the 2012 election. On the same day, Politico released an article predicting the 2016 general election would be between Clinton and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, while a New York Times article named New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey as potential candidates.

In April 2016, the Clinton campaign began to compile a list of 15 to 20 individuals to vet for the position of running mate, even though Sanders continued to challenge Clinton in the Democratic primaries. In mid-June, The Wall Street Journal reported that Clinton's shortlist included Representative Xavier Becerra from California, Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey, Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro from Texas, Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti from California, Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia, Labor Secretary Tom Perez from Maryland, Representative Tim Ryan from Ohio, and Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts. Subsequent reports stated that Clinton was also considering Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, retired Admiral James Stavridis, and Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado. In discussing her potential vice presidential choice, Clinton stated that the most important attribute she looked for was the ability and experience to immediately step into the role of president.

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a non-profit organization, hosted debates between qualifying presidential and vice-presidential candidates. According to the commission's website, to be eligible to opt to participate in the anticipated debates, "in addition to being Constitutionally eligible, candidates must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning a majority vote in the Electoral College, and have a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations' most recently publicly-reported results at the time of the determination.

According to the authors of Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign, by late Tuesday night the White House had concluded that Trump would win the election. Obama aide David Simas called Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook to persuade Clinton to concede the election, with no success. Obama then called Clinton directly, citing the importance of continuity of government, to ask her to publicly acknowledge that Trump had won. Believing that Clinton was still unwilling to concede, the president then called her campaign chair John Podesta, but the call to Clinton had likely already persuaded her.

A total of 29 third party and independent presidential candidates appeared on the ballot in at least one state. Former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson and physician Jill Stein repeated their 2012 roles as the nominees for the Libertarian Party and the Green Party, respectively. 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.

High school and college students walked out of classes to protest. The protests were peaceful for the most part. At some protests fires were lit, flags and other items were burned and people yelled derogatory remarks about Trump. Rioters also broke glass at certain locations. Celebrities such as Madonna, Cher, and Lady Gaga took part in New York. Some protesters took to blocking freeways in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Portland, Oregon, and were dispersed by police in the early hours of the morning. In a number of cities, protesters were dispersed with rubber bullets, pepper spray and bean-bags fired by police. In New York City, calls were made to continue the protests over the coming days after the election. Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani called protesters "a bunch of spoiled cry-babies". Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti expressed understanding of the protests and praised those who peacefully wanted to make their voices heard.

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith ordered a halt to the recount in Michigan on December 7, dissolving a previous temporary restraining order against the Michigan Board of Elections that allowed the recount to continue, stating in his order: "Plaintiffs have not presented evidence of tampering or mistake. Instead, they present speculative claims going to the vulnerability of the voting machinery – but not actual injury." On December 12, U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond rejected an appeal by the Green Party and Jill Stein to force a recount in Pennsylvania, stating that suspicion of a hacked Pennsylvania election "borders on the irrational" and that granting the Green Party's recount bid could "ensure that no Pennsylvania vote counts" given the December 13, 2016, federal deadline to certify the vote for the Electoral College. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin recount was allowed to continue as it was nearing completion and had uncovered no significant irregularities.