Voters Tell Trump: You're Hired
n one of the most stunning political upsets in the nation's history, Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States. CNN's Anderson Cooper called it a "revolution in American politics," and he was not understating it.
Media outlets started calling the race at about 2:45 a.m., when he topped the magic 270-electoral vote total.
President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence appeared at the Trump campaign headquarters at about 2:15 a.m. to speak to his supporters.
Related: Networks Track Trump's Pursuit of Historic Win
At about 2 a.m., Hillary Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta appeared at Clinton's campaign event to say that she was "not done yet," suggesting that his candidate could "still bring this thing home," but advising supporters who had shown up for a victory party to go home and get some sleep. But at about 2:40 a.m. CNN reported that Clinton had called Trump to concede the race, though the networks had yet to call it for Trump.
Some of the biggest losers in the election were the pollsters and the media pundits who had predicted a convincing Clinton win. Even Republicans were not expecting victory, with one insider reportedly telling CNN early in the night they did not think Trump had a path to victory.
Trump has been a media-bashing former reality TV figure and real estate mogul who is the first President who has never held public office or served in the military (though he did attend a military academy as a boy). But he clearly tapped into anger at a dysfunctional Washington and blue collar workers in the Rust Belt who have seen jobs flee the country or disappear altogether.
Related: Dispatches From the Clinton-Trump Front Lines
Analyst Van Jones said Trump had skillfully used his reality TV background and social media to play the villain, and in doing so had gained, not lost, followers.
Media outlets started the night talking about where the Republican party would go from here, given the phalanx of polls giving Clinton leads in key states and nationally--Democrats had even talked about gaining both the White House and regaining the Senate. The answer the voters gave: To the White House and in control of both the House and Senate.
The House will remain in Republican hands, and the Senate looked to be staying Republican as well--the Dems may pick up a seat or two, but needed five--which should make it easier for a President Trump to get his cabinet and agency appointments through.
A Trump presidency could mean Republican Ajit Pai would become the FCC chairman. The deregulatory Pai is well-liked by many industry players, though he and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler have butted heads over FCC process issues as well as policy. "In a Trump Administration, Ajit Pai should be hands down favorite for chairman,"s aid Adonis Hoffman, former chief of staff to Democratic commissioner Mignon Clyburn.
Republicans have voted against efforts to revamp set-top boxes, create tough new broadband privacy rules, business data rule revises, and more.
That Republican trifecta of White House and both Houses of Congress also removes a veto threat from potential Congressional efforts to undo some of the Wheeler agenda.
But Trump is no traditional deregulatory Republican. He ran on a "drain the Washington swamp" agenda and has said he would block an AT&T/Time Warner Cable deal and even maybe try to unwind Comcast/NBCU.
He is expected to be generally pro-business and anti-regulation, but Trump has made a habit of defying expectations. Clearly the financial markets were not sure what to think, with major drops in international exchanges and DOW futures.
Trump has threatened to sue news outlets that ran unflattering stories about him, excluded some outlets from campaign events when he didn't like coverage, threaten to toughen libel laws, and was branded a threat to the First Amendment by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Trump and VP candidate Mike Pence are the most media-experienced duo ever to hold the top two offices. Trump had a long run on NBC's Apprentice and Pence is a former conservative talk radio host.
One potential takeaway from the election was that Trump's earned media trumped the Clinton campaign's massive ad spend.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.