How Toronto's Papers Covered Donald Trump's Terrifying, Shocking Election Win
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How Toronto’s Papers Covered Donald Trump’s Terrifying, Shocking Election Win

What just happened?

In Front Page Challenge, Torontoist analyzes the best and worst of Toronto’s major dailies.

In a stunning development that few predicted, yesterday Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States. The one-time steak salesman rode a populist wave to defeat expected winner Hillary Clinton, who maintained a lead (however slight) in the polls for months. Torontonians are waking up to a sense of shock and also a certain feeling of déjà vu. But as the world starts to process this news, which of our city’s papers best captures this huge historical moment, and which papers are working overtime to interpret the meaning (or even the possible silver lining) of this result?

globe nov 9
The Globe and Mail

The Globe makes the Rob Ford parallel explicit in their front page headline “Trump Nation” accompanied by a stern portrait of the new president-elect. The Globe has extensive coverage of the election this morning, identifying Trump’s success in the Rust Belt states as the key to his victory. Columnist John Ibbitson tries to put as brave a face as possible on the results, choosing to believe Trump won’t do everything he says he will do and that he’ll be kept in check by the plucky American people who have placed their trust in him: “But fears of an America in decline would be misplaced, even under a Trump presidency. Nothing can break the American spirit, which has prevailed against all comers.” Ibbitson also points out “America’s cultural dominance surges from strength to strength: Netflix. HBO. Facebook. YouTube. The world is more American than ever before,” although Ibbitson’s mash note does acknowledge that Canadians “should rightly fear his erratic disposition, the racism and misogyny he stokes, the trade wars he threatens.” The Globe‘s main editorial admits president-elect Trump is “not the ideal candidate for the job” but salutes him for being “a marketing genius” who has at the very least shaken up the establishment. The Globe also offers readers a “What Happens Next?” primer that is quite extensive.

post nov 9
National Post

The Post went to print before it was confirmed that Trump had won the election, although their front page coverage indicates his victory looked likely, with their headline “America Divided.” In general, the Post seems to have been caught off guard by the result and work to strike a balance between covering the victory of a conservative President with the chaos this win could create, at least in the short-term, on world financial markets. Columnist John Ivison looks at the result from the angle it has on Canada-U.S. relations, with president Trump looking to rip up NAFTA, tighten borders, and roll back climate change agreements just as the Trudeau Liberals have committed themselves to a carbon tax and welcoming Syrian refugees. Ivison encourages Trudeau, and by extension Canadians, to just accept the election result, “to have what Abraham Lincoln called ‘the patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people.'” A column in the financial section from Kevin Libin is headlined “Cheer up, Canada — President Donald Trump just might be good for you,” arguing president Clinton’s economic plans would have dragged down the Canadian economy and that Trump, despite his rhetoric, would never really sever relations with America’s main economic partner.

star nov 9
Toronto Star

The Star is gobsmacked by the election of Trump to the presidency. “America On The Edge” sets the tone for the general position of the paper that there is no major upside to Trump’s victory, even though the results weren’t completely confirmed when the paper went to print. The front page features two photos that were tweeted from the respective nominees’ camps as the results came in: a stoic Clinton and a stunned Trump team. “President Donald Trump. Believe it.” is the opening grabber to Daniel Dale’s piece about Trump’s “astonishing rise from political laughingstock to leader of the free world.” Rosie DiManno, who in yesterday’s paper was pretty sure (as were many) that Trump could never be elected, has a piece today headlined “Oh America, what have you done? A once-great nation no longer exists” that holds out no hope that Trump, with a Republican controlled House and Senate behind him, can be stopped from carrying out his scorched-earth threats.

metro nov 9
Metro Toronto

Metro, which featured Clinton on yesterday’s cover presuming she would win, seems to have taken this result particularly hard, with a minimalist cover of Trump’s Churchillian face framed in a blonde pompadour and the sombre headline “Trump Takes America,” noting “Markets plummet” as one of their bullet points. New columnist Vicky Mochama doesn’t mince words or try to look for a silver lining: “The racist, hate-filled angry mewling underbelly of American politics has been given voice. And now, it has been given a home in the Oval Office.” Metro‘s front page attempt to cheer up some of their readers, with a little squiggly cartoon character saying “Make America A Happy Place,” may seem a bit too Pollyannaish for some people this morning.

Toronto Sun

Sun Nov 9

The conservative-friendly Sun pulls off a slight surprise this morning by framing the result on page one as a divisive shocker and not as a gloating victory against “political correctness” or “the establishment,” although such opinions can be found in the coverage within. “Trump wiped the smirk off their faces,” says Anthony Furey’s column, which celebrates Trump’s victory over the naysayers and the media elites who called him and his supporters racist. “Trump support was under-represented in the polls because of how uncomfortable the media made it for people to openly voice their support. Trump’s supporters were called every name in the book. And they didn’t like it one bit. But on election day, once they were left alone with their secret ballot, the people finally spoke. And in their support they rejected the establishment consensus that had tried to shut them out.” The paper’s editorial “Trump has the last laugh” explains that “what happened was a massive underestimation by most of America’s pollsters, pundits and chattering classes — including mainstream Democrats and Republicans — of the anger of ordinary Americans.” Though they do admit that “Trump faces the enormous task of bringing Americans together, who, coming out of this election, are deeply divided along lines of race, class and gender.”

This week’s winner: the most iconic cover, the one that you would expect to see in a collage of what international front pages looked like on the day Donald Trump won the presidency, is the one produced by the Globe and Mail this morning. They are the paper that also provides the most comprehensive coverage of what is, for many, incomprehensible.


Newspaper Number of Wins
Toronto Sun 14
Metro 14
Toronto Star 10
Globe and Mail 10
National Post 7

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