WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump’s come-from-behind victory over Hillary Clinton signals that the state of the U.S. auto industry was clearly on the mind of the American voter.
Not the industry that is reporting record profits and sales after a near-death experience, but the one that shed dozens of plants and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs in the years leading to the 2008-09 crisis, leaving just a shell of itself in once-thriving manufacturing communities across America.
And if the president-elect follows through on his campaign pledges to renegotiate NAFTA, tax cars imported from Mexico and put a stop to new regulation, he would deliver a jolt to an industry that has been betting billions of dollars on globalized production and higher fuel efficiency.
In his victory speech from Trump Tower in Manhattan, Trump said he congratulated Clinton and her family on a “very, very hard fought campaign” and praised her service to the nation, saying “we owe her a major debt of gratitude.”
Trump captured 279 electoral votes, according to the Associated Press, landing a wave of victories in key swing states such as Ohio, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Republicans retained control of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Trump also struck a conciliatory tone after a long, divisive campaign.
“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division. Have to get together," Trump said. "To all Republicans, and Democrats and Independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.”