Written by Hannah Dunleavy

In The News

What the fuck just happened? US Presidential election 2016

Worst night ever, says Hannah Dunleavy.

trump-clinton cropped

Illustration by Louise Boulter.


So, I’m starting to wish I’d had a little nap. I’ve got a headache and a sort of butterfly tummy. I’m not ready for this.

All sorts of last-minute excitement, including claims that people have been intimidated while voting and that voting machines have broken. Trump got booed as he went to cast his vote, then checked who Melania had voted for.

Later, one of the younger male Trumps (Uday, I think) voted, then checked who his wife had voted for and then tweeted his ballot. Which is a big no-no. And by that, I mean illegal.

So far today, the scene at Susan B Anthony’s grave has been lovely.

And this has been a reality check for anyone who’s ever believed they weren’t a parent’s favourite child: Trump talking about how he respects his kids. And, to a lesser extent, Tiffany. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.


I usually watch the US election on PBS (because that’s how I roll) but I can’t watch on the internet and type at the same time, so I’m going to flit about the other channels. I’m starting with BBC News 24. Although they seem to imbuing this with all the atmosphere of a hospital waiting room. OK, they’re talking about Trump’s racism and Hillary’s “robotic nature”. Because they are obviously equally awful things. Don’t make me go to Fox.


I went to Fox. In not-entirely-unrelated news, I’m going to have a shower.


OK, I’m back and Fox are talking about amateur dick photographer Anthony Weiner, who is in rehab. He’s apparently been photographed riding a horse. Which looked fine, according to the anchor. As if the drivel and the right-wingery aren’t enough, Fox is showing some footage of some truly terrible music in what would be the ad breaks. I’m going to Sky.


We need some results to save us from this waffle, but the first ballots don’t close for about 50 minutes. Exit polls seem to be asking a variety of weird questions, the big reveal being that about a quarter of all the people who voted for Clinton and about a quarter of the people who voted for Trump did so because they didn’t want to vote for the other candidate.

That’s pretty damming. You know, like saying, “I suppose I’ll have the cheesecake” when there isn’t crumble. Sorry, did I say cheesecake? I meant shit stew.

Photo by Elvert Barnes from Baltimore, Maryland, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Photo by Elvert Barnes from Baltimore, Maryland, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0).


Ron Paul’s on Sky ruing the day he didn’t decide to run this year. Take it up with your son, mate. Paul the elder is standing in front of his own Primary posters from 2012. Who made that little shrine do you think? Paul? Or Paul? Either way, it’s creepy.


I’m back at Fox. Megyn Kelly’s hair is immense. You could weaponise that. Jesus, they are warning of cyber Armageddon if Clinton wins.

No music in the ad break this time, just three graphics that are so unsophisticated it makes me nostalgic for Ceefax. Where’s the dude with the elaborate swing-o-meter? Pull yourselves together Fox.

Karl Rove.

Karl Rove.


Holy crap they’ve pulled out Karl Rove. It’s not even past midnight. Fox mean business tonight. They’ll be summoning Satan before the West Coast polling stations close. Rove is talking about 2000 in Florida. Mercy. The good old days.

I’m thinking I can’t stay with Fox all night, because otherwise I’ll find myself still watching at 10am to turn over and discover Clinton won five hours ago. PLEASE GOD LET THIS BE TRUE.


Oh dear God, you can tweet Fox and tell them who you voted for. That’s a moron’s charter, surely? SURELY? Also Fox, expect a dick pic from Weiner in five, four…


RESULTS: Fox is projecting that Clinton wins Vermont and Trump wins Kentucky and Indiana. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who was in the Republican primary, has retained his Senate seat. Too early to call Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia, which means they are close.

Fox is so low-key in the tech department, Rove is using a handheld whiteboard while aboard the erroneously named Data Deck. And now they are taking to someone with the WORST goatee ever. And I say that as someone who remembers the early 90s.

That’s it, I’m going to the BBC. They’re bound to have some insane graphics.


It’s Clinton 3 Trump 19. That’s some clear graphics. Thanks BBC. It’s Katty Kay, with some solid – in every sense of the word – hair of her own. Oh and Andrew Neil. And his hair is appropriately inexplicable considering where we find ourselves tonight.

Oh yeah, Jeremy Vine is in a virtual reality Oval Office with so many facts I think I just heard Michael Gove explode.


Strap yourselves in, Emily Maitlis is here showing us how Trump could win. Why are you doing this to me Emily? She says it’s going to be tough for him. Don’t tempt fate, eh?


Trump has won West Virginia. Florida has counted three million votes and it is 49 per cent Clinton and 48 per cent Trump. It’s a bit nuts that they do a running total, but whatever, EXCITING.


The Beeb’s got a Trump supporter who wants “America back where it was before”. I’m guessing he doesn’t mean before his ancestors arrived. He says Trump is “a brilliant man.” I feel a bit sorry for him; he obviously needs more brilliant men in his life.

Donald Trump illustration by Louise Boulter.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.


Someone’s on the box defending Trump’s seeming chumminess with Putin. I’m not going to bother learning who it is. Clinton is pulling ahead in Florida. That’s good.

Now we’re talking about the Latino vote, which is apparently huge. Obama did well thanks to “the sleeping giant” in 2008, so this sounds positive. I learned that on PBS. I kind of miss them. Their graphics tonight are probably groups of cub scouts with drawings of states pinned to them.


RESULTS: The whole East Coast seems to have gone blue. The current score is Clinton 68 Trump 37. Maitlis is fretting about Virginia. She thinks Trump’s going to nick it. Election expert Norman Ornstein jumps in to contradict her. I’ve no idea how expert he is, but you know, I want to believe him. I think Norman and I are going to be friends tonight.

‘Little’ Marco Rubio has retained his senate seat. I can’t imagine who the hell he was running against if people keep voting for him. No really, who was it? Robert Durst? A chimp in a suit (no actually, I might vote for that)?


Oh, we’re going to Vegas. This guy looks like he’s in the hotel bar. With three other people. Neil’s quoting Twain. Still it’s better than Karl Rove, who’s probably controlling people with his mind over at Fox.

New score: Clinton 68 Trump 57. South Carolina and Tennessee have gone to Trump. Which is no great surprise. Apparently. I can see Rudy Giuliani laughing on a screen behind Katty Kay, I don’t like it. I’m going somewhere else.


Well, look at that, ITV has coverage. OK, the reporter is talking, there’s a PA system announcement and tweets are going across the bottom the screen. It’s a bit much. But thanks for having me.


At Fox, Bill O’Reilly appears to be interviewing someone who is either a recently reanimated corpse or Steve Carrell in disguise. Whoever he is, he’s making the words “forty-nine per cent” sound genuinely sinister. Megyn Kelly is calling Alabama for Trump and Arkansas too close to call. Or, as Fox are saying, “a super tight race”. Yeah, I can’t bear it here.


Ah, back with Katty Kay. I’ve just noticed she’s wearing white. Lots of women wearing white today when they voted. They are talking about the senate race, which is obviously important but I can’t think about that as well. Trump is leading Florida and ahead in Virginia. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Photo by US Embassy Phnom Penh, via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Photo by US Embassy Phnom Penh, via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).


The BBC is interviewing Carl Paladino from Camp Trump. I’m a bit scared of him. And now Nigel Farage is sweating on my screen. Oh do fuck off, you black-souled cretin. Farage says when it comes to Putin, “jaw-jaw is better than war-war,” and now everyone’s having a good laugh with him. What the hell is happening in the world?


Steve Rosenberg’s in a British pub in Moscow with Trump supporters. Apparently they’ve just brought in a bad portrait of Putin, Trump and Marie Le Pen. Nuff said.


RESULTS: Trump goes into the lead for the first time. Clinton 97, Trump 123. OK, people are using the words “nervous” “anxious” and “nail-biting”. I’m going to make a cup of tea.


Oh shit, I’m starting to get a bellyache. Clinton 104, Trump 129; he’s ahead in Ohio, Florida and Virginia. I’ve got exactly the same desire to repeatedly tweet the picture from Toy Story 3 when they’re all holding hands and sliding into the incinerator…

Hold hands everyone, we're not getting our happy ending. Image: Disney.

Hold hands everyone, we’re not getting our happy ending. Image: Disney.


Andrew Neil is reporting that the markets just got IBS at the thought of a Trump presidency. Maitlis now reporting that things might not be as bad as they look. I have election whiplash.


Norman Ornstein’s back. Come on then, give us something positive. Oh Jesus, women are voting for Trump in larger numbers than previously thought. Norman I feel betrayed. And not just by you. What the fuck?

Ivanka Trump shares this picture of the Trumps watching the results. (Fans of Stranger Things may notice it looks like a game of Where’s Eleven?)


Urgh. Paul Ryan’s on stage somewhere. With his whole family as a human shield. He looks like every over-promoted middle manager I’ve ever worked with. He’s talking about America and God, which passes as a speech of real substance given the last few months. He says this might be a good night for America but he didn’t mention Trump at all.


I’ve just realised that at some point I’m going to have to review what I’ve written. I can’t bear the idea of doing that if Trump wins. MORE TEA.


Oh shit, Trump Takes Ohio. It’s like The Muppets Take Manhattan. But not funny. This is not good for Clinton. And by Clinton, I mean the most of us. It’s Clinton 109, Trump 168. And the crowd goes wild. At least it does at Trump HQ.


The BBC’s called Virginia for Trump, then Clinton. Pull yourselves together liberal media. Clinton 122, Trump 168. The Beeb’s at Times Square BTW. It has a drone up. I’d imagine what it catches when the result is announced will look like footage from the start of a post-apocalyptic film.


Colorado’s gone to Clinton. Jeremy’s back in his virtual reality. I’ve started to picture the finale, when a hologram Trump appears and smacks Vine around the face with his cock.


Oh, we’re talking about who Jesus is telling people to vote for. Apparently it’s Trump. Anyone but the woman, basically. Another Republican just said he voted Clinton because if Trump wins he couldn’t live with himself “for having a hand in it.” He’s so going to hell now. Or maybe hell is coming to him.

Javits Center photo by Flickr user AG (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Javits Center photo by Flickr user AG (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).


Jon Sopel’s at Clinton HQ. He says people are leaving before the party’s even started. They probably want to get home before the witchhunts start. Clinton takes California and Hawaii, which makes it Clinton 190, Trump 172. But that’s not especially great news, given where else he is ahead.


Katty Kay’s just blamed this on Clinton’s unlikability and people wanting to kick against the establishment. Nothing at all about misogyny. Sorry Katty, you’ve been good tonight, but ain’t completely right here.


Norman Ornstein thinks we should worry about the Italian election. The first place to elect a septuagenarian sex pest. Norman, do better at reassuring me.


Just caught sight of Sarah Palin. As dangerously close to real power as she’s ever been. *claws at own face* And some Trump rep just said the media twisted his words on Mexicans being rapists. Holy fuck, they believe these things they are saying. It’s like a cult.


Canada’s immigration website has crashed. It’s Brexit II: I Know What You Guys Did In The Summer And I Want A Piece of the Idiocy 3D.

Trump’s won Florida. This is appalling, really, really appalling news. Clinton 209, Trump 222. America is about to elect a spray-tanned man baby. What good could ever come of this?


Everything looks bleak at Clinton HQ. There’s some crying. I’m usually a bit judgey about this sort of behaviour but I feel their pain. Cry, my good people, cry. Clinton 209, Trump 244.

“They say a country gets the President it deserves; well, it certainly just got the presidential acceptance speech it deserved.”


I’m going to pretend I fell asleep and this is all a dream, A horrible, horrible dream. Il Douche is dangerously close to power. I’m so tired, but if I go to bed know I won’t have a “where I was when Trump got elected” story to tell to the other bums around the campfire when the world is a broken wasteland.


There’s a ‘millennial’ – a young woman – on TV saying, “People say Trump wasn’t the right choice, but it’s hard to know what the right choice is.” I literally despair.


Clinton wins Nevada. Ornstein’s saying things like “Newt Gingrich, Secretary of State”. Longest sigh ever.


Still sighing. And fear crying a little bit.


They are talking about a theoretical tie. Which happened in Veep. Which is fiction, although I kind of wish it were true and this was fiction.

In other news, California voted to legalise cannabis. Which might be some consolation to the solidly Democrat state.


The CAC is falling in France apparently. Which might be code for ‘the shit just hit the fan.’ Clinton 215 Trump 244. John McCain has kept his seat. That in, out, hokey-cokey he did over Trump paid off. *slow hand clap*


It’s 6am. A new dawn. I feel like reading a poem to it before they start burning the books. That’s it, I feel like I’ve tipped over into something else now. I’ve scared myself a little bit.

Jeremy Vine’s shirt makes it look like he’s been attacked by a werewolf. Maybe I am asleep. Please let me be asleep.


They keep laughing on the BBC. It’s the presenting equivalent of writing “Never heard of them?” in the comments under a story about a celebrity death. Stock markets are going bonkers. See, it’s hilarious. Try it. Gay marriage might be overturned. Hahahahaha.


I’m going to Fox to see how Megyn’s hair is holding up. By rights she should look like Doc Brown. It’s reporting another 10 for Trump but I can’t work out where it’s come from.


Everyone’s arguing on Fox about Wikileaks. Kelly’s blaming Obama for Trump running, after Obama mocked him at the White House Correspondents dinner. Jesus, even I’m making more sense than this. I AM SO VERY TIRED.


Back at the Beeb, they are not reporting that extra 10 points. I DON’T KNOW.


Le Pen officially congratulates Trump.


Clinton has called to concede. I’m just going to scream into a pillow.


Still screaming. Pence is about to speak. I might just scream on through that.


Pence says: “The American people have elected their new champion.” Trump’s been using this GoT language for a while. To be clear, when the Viper was Tyrion’s champion IT DIDN’T END WELL.

Election breakfast at the US embassy, The Hague, via Flickr.

Election breakfast at the US embassy, The Hague, via Flickr.


Here comes Trump. I don’t want to watch this. It’s like having your legs waxed: I can see the benefits of doing it, I just don’t want to go through it.

OK, he’s talking about binding the divisions in the US. The irony is too painful. His little son is next to him on stage and looks really uncomfortable. And probably tired. I feel a bit sorry for him.

Trump’s just saying things like, “the forgotten men and women will be forgotten no longer”. The forgotten men and who, sorry? Now he’s talking about how “it’s going to be a beautiful thing.”

Now he’s going to thank some people. Family all get namechecked – even poor Tiffany, who’s out of the cellar this evening – then Giuliani, who is “unbelievable”. Surprisingly enough, that’s a word I’d use too.

Now he’s thanking scandal-hit Chris Christie, who is also “unbelievable”. Again I concur. But not in a good way. He’s asking where Ben Carson is. My guess is Carson doesn’t know either. And now he’s name-checking Mike Huckabee. This sounds like the worst verse of Vogue. And all these names sound suspiciously establishment given America’s just voted “against the establishment.”


Trump just said, “Hopefully, you’ll be so proud of your president. You’ll be so proud.” They say a country gets the President it deserves; well, it certainly just got the presidential acceptance speech it deserved.


I don’t know what to say. Or do for that matter. The pundits are all talking about what we can learn from this and it seems to be that polls don’t mean shit. I think I’ve learned something else.

That you can lie. And cheat. And be racist. And sexist. And homophobic. That you can threaten to restrict the rights of women. And Muslims. And journalists. That you can be a demonstrably bad businessman and husband. That you can fail to release your tax returns and file a medical report that contains no medical information. That you can be accused of fraud and sexual abuse. That you can use a woman’s husband’s sins against her, whip up hatred and misinformation.

And after all that, at the end of the day, if you’ve got two balls and a semblance of success, you can still win.

Oh no wait, I already knew that.

Good luck America, the hellmouth is open. Dunleavy out.

While Hannah staggers off to a darkened room for the rest of 2016, catch up with the rest of What the Fuck Just Happened? here.



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Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.