Publisher's note: The author of this post is Kari Travis, who is an associate editor for the Carolina Journal, John Hood Publisher.
Analysts note that Trump not only needs to reach out to Clinton supporters but also must mollify critics within GOP circles
The 2016 presidential campaign is over, but President-elect Donald Trump now must work to unify the nation, and members of his own party, election analysts told Carolina Journal.
Trump's sweep of 274 electoral votes over Hillary Clinton's 218 - propelled by wins in key swing states including North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania - shows that most Americans want different policies and new government in Washington, though it is impossible to know if or how soon Trump will connect with his critics, said David McLennan, visiting professor of political science at Meredith College.
"Trump's election confirms a deep cultural divide in this country between white working class Americans and many other groups in the country,"
McLennan said. "His large rural turnout also demonstrates that the growing divide between urban and rural Americans, as well as the policies and vision for the country, is significant and will be difficult to bridge."
McLennan said the ideological divide separating the Clinton and Trump camps may make it difficult to bring people together. "Trump supporters have signaled a desire to have a more closed society with more authoritarian leadership and Clinton supporters want a more open society with collaborative leadership,"
"Perhaps the best we can hope for in the short run is that Trump will transform from candidate to president and moderate the tone of this statements. This moderation may cause a decrease in the fear and emotional responses made by his critics,"
The president-elect began efforts to reach out during his victory speech early Wednesday. "Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her services to our country,"
he told supporters in New York. "To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it's time for us to come together as one united people."
Clinton followed suit during her Wednesday afternoon concession speech, asking her backers to keep an open mind about America's future under a Trump administration.
"We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought,"
she said, reiterating a belief in the American people and asking her followers to join her in accepting the outcome of the election. "Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power."
President Obama also showed support for an orderly transition on Wednesday by inviting Trump to the White House. "The presidency and the vice presidency is bigger than any of us. So I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush set eight years ago and work as hard as we can to ensure that this is a successful transition for the president-elect, because we are all now rooting for his success,"
Attempts to unify the country are critical not only to make inroads with Democrats, but also to connect with Republicans who led anti-Trump efforts within the GOP coalition, said Andy Taylor, professor of political science at N.C. State University.
"I think the next move is Trump's,"
Taylor said. "Is he going to govern like he campaigned, in this aggressive, independent style? Is he going to go through with all of these policy changes that Republicans are a little wary about - particularly trade and immigration? Or is he going to have a more constrained outlook with more incremental policy changes, working with congressional majorities, listening to them, allowing himself to be led by them on occasions?"
"These are really important and open questions, but he has the first move. And those in the party who didn't support Trump are going to be waiting for him and saying, 'you go first, and let's see what happens,'"
While Trump's win holds no specific policy implications for North Carolina, the Tar Heel State's swing to the right is politically significant, he said.
"This victory does demonstrate that, at the presidential level, Republicans should more often than not expect to win North Carolina. It probably will continue to be a purple and contested state in future presidential races,"