Trump has lead, but no call made

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Busi­ness­man Don­ald Trump was poised for an up­set early Wed­nes­day to be­come the 45th US pres­i­dent af­ter en­gag­ing his Demo­cratic ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton in a fierce and what many de­scribed as an ugly cam­paign.

Trump had won 244 Elec­toral Col­lege votes com­pared with Clin­ton’s 215 by 1:30 am Wed­nes­day morn­ing while Clin­ton had a slight lead in the pop­u­lar vote.

Penn­syl­va­nia, with 20 elec­toral votes, and Michi­gan, with 16, were still too close to call, but Trump was lead­ing in both states. A can­di­date needs 270 Elec­toral Col­lege votes to be­come a pres­i­dent.

Trump won Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Ge­or­gia, Idaho, In­di­ana, Iowa, Kansas, Ken­tucky, Louisiana, Mis­sis­sippi, Mis­souri, Mon­tana, Ne­braska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Ok­la­homa, South Carolina, South Dakota, Ten­nessee, Texas, Utah, West Vir­ginia and Wy­oming, ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­ated Press and Fox News.

Clin­ton won Cal­i­for­nia, Colorado, Con­necti­cut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illi­nois, Mary­land, Mas­sachusetts, Ne­vada, New Jersey, New Mex­ico, New York, Ore­gon, Rhode Is­land, Ver­mont, Vir­ginia and Wash­ing­ton.

If elected, Trump would be in­au­gu­rated on Jan 20 to suc­ceed Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, a Demo­crat and the na­tion’s first African-Amer­i­can pres­i­dent.

The win would come as a big sur­prise as many had ex­pected an easy win for Clin­ton. But the mood in the Clin­ton head­quar­ters was de­scribed as somber when Trump took the key states of Florida and Ohio.

Trump of­fi­cially de­clared his can­di­dacy for Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion on June 16, 2015 with a slo­gan to Make Amer­ica Great Again. He ac­cepted the nom­i­na­tion on July 21 this year by de­feat­ing 16 Repub­li­can ri­vals.

The real es­tate ty­coon has run a cam­paign against the Wash­ing­ton es­tab­lish­ment and po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness and tapped into peo­ple’s anger with the way the coun­try has been go­ing, on is­sues such as wage stag­na­tion, health care and im­mi­gra­tion.

About 46 mil­lion out of more than 200 mil­lion reg­is­tered vot­ers had cast their bal­lots in early vot­ing, which was of­fered in 34 out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Ear­lier this week, AFP re­ported that a Chi­nese mon­key de­scribed as the “king of prophets” tipped Trump for the US pres­i­dency. The 5-yearold mon­key in Hu­nan prov­ince re­port­edly also cor­rectly pre­dicted Por­tu­gal would win the 2016 Euro­pean foot­ball cham­pi­onship in July.

Be­fore Elec­tion Day on Nov 8, about 46 mil­lion out of more than 200 mil­lion reg­is­tered vot­ers had al­ready cast their bal­lots in early vot­ing.

Trump, who turned 70 on June 14, cast his vote at a school near his Man­hat­tan res­i­dence on Tues­day morn­ing, while Clin­ton started her day by cast­ing her bal­lot in Chap­paqua, New York, where she and her hus­band, for­mer pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, have lived since 2001.

In the Tues­day elec­tion, Repub­li­cans also kept their ma­jor­ity in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

The 2016 cam­paign has been mired in sev­eral ma­jor scan­dals. On July 23, Wik­iLeaks leaked 20,000 emails from the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee, show­ing a sys­temic bias against Clin­ton’s ma­jor ri­val Bernie San­ders by the Demo­cratic Party lead­er­ship. The rev­e­la­tion led to the res­ig­na­tion of DNC chair­woman Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz.

Wik­iLeaks later re­leased more emails hacked from the Clin­ton cam­paign, rev­e­la­tions that trig­gered great con­cern among Amer­i­can pub­lic.

On Oct 7, tapes were leaked from Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood show­ing Trump brag­ging about sex­ual ad­vances in 2005, caus­ing a heavy blow to Trump in na­tional polls com­pared to Clin­ton.

On Oct 28, FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey an­nounced that the FBI would be res­tart­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Clin­ton’s emails, slow­ing Clin­ton’s mo­men­tum. But Comey told Congress on Nov 6 that there was no ev­i­dence in the emails that Clin­ton should face charges over her han­dling of clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.

A New York Times/CBS News poll last Fri­day showed that 78 per­cent of Amer­i­cans were dis­gusted with the 2016 cam­paign.

A Gallup poll re­leased on Tues­day showed that Trump and Clin­ton headed into Elec­tion Day with the worst fa­vor­a­bil­ity rat­ings in his­tory. The poll found that Trump’s 61 per­cent un­fa­vor­able score was the worst in pres­i­den­tial polling since 1956, while Clin­ton’s 52 per­cent un­fa­vor­able score was sec­ond-worst.

Al­lan Rivlin, CEO of Zen Po­lit­i­cal Re­search Cen­ter, dis­missed the no­tion that a Pres­i­dent-elect Trump would be au­thor­i­tar­ian say­ing he would face re­sis­tance from his own party and com­plete re­sis­tance from the Democrats.

“Com­plete re­sis­tance from one party right now is enough to block some­thing,” he told a brief­ing at the Wash­ing­ton For­eign Press Cen­ter on Tues­day.

He also pointed out that the courts in the US are strong and de­signed to stop ex­actly such a move.

Un­like in pre­vi­ous pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, there has been a lack of se­ri­ous dis­cus­sion and de­bate of USChina re­la­tions on the cam­paign trail.

Trump has promised to im­pose puni­tive tar­iffs on Chi­nese im­ports, a claim re­garded as un­re­al­is­tic given its se­ri­ous vi­o­la­tions of World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion rules, the op­po­si­tion by US Congress and busi­ness com­mu­nity.

A re­port by the Coun­cil on For­eign Re­la­tions said that Trump wants to in­crease US mil­i­tary pres­ence in and around the South China Sea; in­ves­ti­gate and pun­ish China for un­fair trade prac­tices; des­ig­nate China a cur­rency ma­nip­u­la­tor; and ratchet up the US de­ter­rent against Chi­nese cy­ber­at­tacks.

While Trump’s for­eign pol­icy is largely un­clear, he has ex­pressed his will­ing­ness to meet North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, im­prove re­la­tions with Rus­sia and be less in­ter­ven­tion­ist, a con­trast to his ri­val Clin­ton, whom many Chi­nese re­gard as hawk­ish and in­ter­ven­tion­ist.

Jon Tay­lor, pro­fes­sor and chair of the depart­ment of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence at the Univer­sity of St Thomas in Houston, said Trump has been up­front re­gard­ing his neg­a­tive eco­nomic and mil­i­tary views to­ward China.

“I think that we will see him push­ing the en­ve­lope of com­fort re­gard­ing Sino-US re­la­tions,” Tay­lor said. “His in­ex­pe­ri­ence will likely mean that he will be very ag­gres­sive on trade is­sues and will chal­lenge (China) in ways that will both re­as­sure US al­lies and anger China re­gard­ing the US pres­ence in the Pa­cific.”

Dou­glas Spel­man, se­nior ad­viser of the Kissinger In­sti­tute on China and the United States at the Wil­son Cen­ter, said Trump’s lack of for­eign pol­icy ex­pe­ri­ence, in gen­eral and with China specif­i­cally, will ham­string his ap­proach to US-China re­la­tions.

“He will likely ag­gres­sively crit­i­cize, in rhetoric and ac­tion, China’s trade poli­cies and its ‘steal­ing’ US jobs,” Spel­man said, cit­ing Trump’s ear­lier rhetoric of im­pos­ing 45 per­cent puni­tive tar­iffs on Chi­nese im­ports.

Zhiqun Zhu, pro­fes­sor of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence and in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions at Buck­nell Univer­sity in Penn­syl­va­nia, said Pres­i­dent Obama has been luke­warm to­ward Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s propo­si­tion of a new model of great power re­la­tions.

“The new pres­i­dent should be more straight­for­ward. If you like it, em­brace it and work with China to build such a con­struc­tive re­la­tion­ship,” he said.

I think that we will see him (Trump) push­ing the en­ve­lope of com­fort re­gard­ing Sino-US re­la­tions.” Jon Tay­lor, po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor at Univer­sity of St. Thomas, Houston

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